If you’re used to swimming in a pool, you may be curious about outdoor swimming. Wild swimming can be an exciting and challenging experience, but it requires some preparation and knowledge before diving in. In this blog post, we’ll go over some tips and tricks to help you transition from pool swimming to open water swimming.
If you’re new to outdoor swimming, start by swimming shorter distances and gradually build up to longer distances. Outdoors swimming can be very different from swimming in a pool, with unpredictable conditions like currents, waves, and temperature changes. Starting gradually can help you get used to these conditions and build up your stamina and confidence.
Unlike pool swimming, open water swimming requires you to navigate without the aid of lane markers. To stay on course, you’ll need to practice sighting. Sighting involves lifting your head out of the water every few strokes and looking for a fixed point on the horizon to help you swim in a straight line. Practice this technique in a pool first, and then apply it to open water swimming.
Learn How to Deal with the Conditions
Outdoor swimming can involve tides, rip currents, waves, and other unpredictable conditions that you won’t experience in a pool. To swim outdoors successfully, you’ll need to adjust your planning, stroke and breathing to accommodate these conditions. A qualified open water coach will be able to help you with this.
Wear the Right Gear
A wetsuit and accessories can be pretty expensive but they are crucial to successful transition into outdoor swimming. Sea temperatures in the UK vary between 5-8 degrees C in the winter to 15-19 degrees C in the summer – all of which is cold enough to bring on hypothermia if you’re not careful. Many events will insist on you wearing a wetsuit to take part and whilst many people will happily swim in ‘skins’ outdoors, it will take you a little time to acclimatise to water far colder than your local pool. The right gear can also protect you from the sun, jellyfish stings, and other hazards. Research the right gear before you buy. Spending £££ on a slick but potentially fragile competition wetsuit might not be the best use of your money if you’re looking to be using it three times a week over the season – get a training suit if thats what you’ll be doing. Be sure to invest in high-quality gear that fits properly and is appropriate for the conditions you’ll be swimming in and no matter how good the suit – you’ll likely get some chaffing so buy some good lube to keep the worst of that at bay!
Swim with a Buddy
Swimming alone outdoors can be dangerous, so it’s a good idea to swim with a buddy or join a group that swims together. Swimming with a buddy can provide safety, motivation, and companionship during your open water swims.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings and Swim Safe
Open water swimming can put you in close proximity to wildlife, boats, and other hazards. To stay safe, be aware of your surroundings and take precautions, such as wearing a brightly coloured swim cap, using a good quality tow float, swimming with a buddy, letting people know when and where you’re swimming and avoiding areas with heavy boat traffic.
Transitioning from pool swimming to open water swimming can be a challenging but rewarding experience. By following these tips and tricks, you can make a smooth transition and enjoy all the benefits that open water swimming has to offer. Happy swimming!