When most people think of swimming, at least of a competitive nature, they consider swimming in a pool, either indoors or outdoors. However, some competitive swimmers participate in open water swimming. This means different challenges. If you are just getting started in this growing area, there are certain tips you should follow.
Choose a Wetsuit
Instead of traditional competitive swimwear, those who swim in open waters must wear a wetsuit. This will protect against the cold waters and provide better coverage. Make sure you look for one that is specifically designed for open water swimmers.
The Right Goggles
The right goggles are also essential when you are swimming in open waters. Because you will be swimming outside, make sure you choose goggles that have reflective coating to cut back on the glare you experience.
Cold Water Conditioning
It is essential for individuals to condition their bodies for swimming in the cold open waters. When you are properly acclimated to the cold water, you reduce the risks of panic and hyperventilation when you swim.
Bright Swim Caps
When you are swimming in open water, visibility is of utmost importance. One of the best ways to make sure you are as visible as possible in the water is to wear a bright swim cap. Talk to your coach about the colors that are more likely to be seen.
Wear Two Caps
A large amount of body heat is lost through the head. Most people are aware of this in the winter months, but don’t realize it also happens in open water swimming situations. You can help retain your body heat by wearing two swimming caps at the same time.
Swim with a Buddy
Swimming in open water, especially during training, can be more dangerous than swimming in a pool. This is why it is so important to swim with a buddy at all times. In many cases, this will be your coach. However, if you practice at other times, make sure you bring someone with you.
Proper Body Maintenance
Open water swimming is a little different than pool swimming in the body maintenance you must perform. You should avoid shaving right before a race because salt water can irritate razor burn. You should also keep your fingernails short to avoid ripping your wetsuit or someone else’s as you swim.
Open water swimming is quite different than swimming in a pool. When you are first starting out, it is important to learn these tips and work with an experienced coach for the best results.