Whether you have a lot of experience as an open-water swimmer or this is your first time, we have compiled a list of tips to help make your experience as smooth as possible. Open-water swimming can be a great way to challenge yourself and improve your fitness, but it can also be daunting if you are not prepared. Follow these tips, and you will be ready to take on the open water!
What is Open Water Swimming?
Open water swimming is any swimming in natural bodies of water such as lakes, rivers, and oceans. This can be contrasted with pool swimming, which takes place in man-made pools. Swimming in open water presents unique challenges, as you cannot see the pool’s bottom or sides, and you may have to contend with waves and currents.
Open Water Swimming vs. Triathlon
While open-water and triathlon swimming may seem similar, they are quite different. Triathlon swimming occurs in a mass start with dozens or even hundreds of other swimmers. In contrast, open-water swimming typically has a smaller number of swimmers and a more relaxed atmosphere. Open-water swims are often shorter than triathlon swims, as well.
How to Prepare Yourself for Open Water Swimming
Let’s take a few tips on how you can survive and feel comfortable on your first water swimming trip.
1. Build Endurance
One of the most important things you can do to prepare for open-water swimming is to build your endurance. This means swimming for longer distances and durations than you are used to. If you can swim for an hour in a pool, aim to swim for 90 minutes in open water. This will help your body get used to being in the water for extended periods and make the swim seem less daunting.
2. Wear a Wetsuit
If you are swimming in colder waters, it is important to wear a wetsuit. A wetsuit will keep you warm and assist you with staying on top, which can be very helpful if you get tired during your swim. Wetsuits can be rented or purchased from most sporting goods stores.
3. Bring a Friend
One of the best things you can do when swimming in open water is to bring a friend. Not only will they be able to help you if you get into trouble, but they can also act as a motivation to keep going. If you don’t have a friend to swim with, consider joining a local open-water swimming group.
4. Be aware of Your Surroundings
When swimming in open water, it is important to be aware of your surroundings. This means being aware of the other swimmers around you and any obstacles in the water. If swimming in a river or lake, be aware of the current and potential hazards.
5. Know Your Limits
It is important to know your limits when swimming in open water. If you are not a strong swimmer, consider swimming in a lifeguard-protected area. If you are swimming in cold water, make sure you are wearing a wetsuit. And always make sure you have someone with you who knows your limits and can help if you get into trouble.
6. Start Slow
If you are new to open-water swimming, it is important to start slow. This means swimming shorter distances and taking breaks as needed. As you become more comfortable with open-water swimming, you can gradually increase the distance and duration of your swims.
7. Be Prepared for Anything
One of the most important things to remember when swimming in open water is that anything can happen. This means being prepared for anything from bad weather to currents. Always check the forecast before you swim and be aware of potential hazards. If you are ever in doubt, it is always best to err on the side of caution and not swim.
8. Listen to Your Body
It is important to listen to your body when swimming in open water. If you start to feel tired, take a break. And if you ever feel over your head, get out of the water and rest. Open-water swimming can be a great way to challenge yourself and improve your fitness. But it is important to be prepared before you take the plunge.
9. Alternate Breathing
Alternating breathing is one of the best things you can do when swimming in open water. This means breathing to one side for a few strokes and then to the other. This will help you stay more focused and prevent you from swallowing water.
10. Have Fun!
Last but not least, remember to have fun! Open-water swimming can be a great way to challenge yourself and improve your fitness. But it is also important to enjoy the experience. So take your time, relax, and enjoy being in the open water!
Why is Warm Up Important?
Warm-up is important because it helps your body get ready for the swim. It increases your heart rate and gets your muscles loose and ready to work. A good warm-up will make your swim more enjoyable and help you avoid injury.
What are the Different Types of Strokes?
Four main strokes are used in open-water swimming: freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke, and butterfly. Freestyle is the most common stroke used in open-water swimming. Breaststroke, backstroke, and butterfly are also used, but not as often.
How Do I Breathe While Swimming?
One of the most important things to remember when swimming in open water is to breathe regularly. This means taking a breath every few strokes and not holding your breath. If you feel out of breath, slow down and take more breaks.
What Should I Eat Before Swimming?
It is important to eat a light meal before swimming. This will help you stay energized and prevent you from getting cramps. A good meal before swimming is oatmeal with fruit or toast with peanut butter.
What Should I Drink Before Swimming?
It is important to drink plenty of fluids before swimming. This will help you stay hydrated and prevent you from getting cramps. A good rule of thumb is to drink 8 ounces of fluids every 20 minutes of swimming.
Open-water swimming can be a great way to challenge yourself and improve your fitness. But it is important to be prepared before you take the plunge. Follow these tips, and you will be ready to take on the open water!