Last-Minute Tips For Open Water First-Timers

Open-water swimming has experienced something of a renaissance in recent years, particularly as people sought ways to get fit while gyms and public pools were closed during the lockdown.

If you’re interested in taking the plunge, then there are numerous open water venues and events all around the UK. For first-time open water swimmers, especially as the weather gets colder, we have some advice before you take a dip.

Keep your cool at the start

Joining a mass open-water swimming event is a great way to get started, but as you all gather before leaping into the water, it’s a good idea to keep yourself calm. Your adrenaline will be pumping, and once you get in the water and barely swam 400 metres, you’ll be shattered, because you haven’t been breathing properly.

Stay relaxed in the water, remember it need not be a race, and first sort your breathing, breathing out when your head is under the water and a clear breath in when your head is above the surface.

Take a rest if you need to

Remember you can always stop and tread water to have a little rest. If you’re wearing a wetsuit, you will have a little buoyancy to help make things easier, or a tug float can allow you to hold onto it for support.

Take a wide line around the buoys

As with a swimming pool, there is likely to be fast and slow swimmers. If you’re simply there to enjoy yourself, not looking to race anyone, then as you approach buoys, you might want to take them wide, allowing the faster swimmers to get the tight turn, and you can all keep out of each others' way.

Familiarise yourself with the course

Unlike a pool, there is little by way of markings to help you find your way, and when your head is in the water, it is not too easy to see buoys that mark the course. Before you leap in, take notice of any landmarks - such as a big building or a bridge - that you can spot easily from the water and find your way.

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