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Open Water: Tips for Safe and Enjoyable Experience

Updated: Dec 16, 2023

Introduction to Open Water Swimming

Open water offers a unique and exhilarating experience, allowing swimmers to connect with nature and explore aquatic environments beyond the confines of a pool. However, it's crucial to approach open water swimming with caution and prioritize safety. This article will examine the essentials of open water swimming and provide valuable tips to ensure your swims are safe and enjoyable.

Girl in a wetsuit

Choose the Right Location

When selecting a location for open-water swimming, consider factors such as water quality, visibility, winds, and tides. Research local beaches, lakes, or designated swimming areas, and ensure they meet your safety requirements. Avoid areas with strong currents, like rivers, unpredictable weather conditions, or hazards like submerged rocks or debris. The best to start with are natural swimming pools and lakes with beaches maintained for people to be safe, usually for a small entry fee.


Be Aware of Weather Conditions

Check for signs of dangerous weather, such as lightning storms or strong winds. Additionally, be mindful of water temperature, as cold water can significantly impact your swimming ability and increase the risk of hypothermia. Wear a wetsuit or other appropriate swim gear to protect yourself from cold temperatures. Temperatures of water below 20 degrees are very difficult to sustain for non experienced swimmer and it's highly recommended to use wetsuit and adapt swimming time according to it.


Check the Depth of the Water

Always! Whether you enter by foot or want to jump in, know exactly how deep and steep the shore is. Enter slowly and walk as far as depth allows. Move carefully to avoid stepping or kicking into stones or other obstacles that nature may place in the way. If you see that the water is dirty and the surroundings are as well, consider not swimming.


Swim with a Buddy or Join a Group

Swimming with a buddy is crucial for open water safety. Having someone by your side enhances the overall experience and provides an extra layer of security. Join us for an open water class with support from the coach. If it's your first time, don't overestimate yourself. Stay calm, breathe properly, and keep swimming. Keep an eye on the distance you swim so you always have enough energy to swim back to shore.


Get Used to it Gradually

Open water swimming can be physically demanding, even for experienced pool swimmers. Acclimate gradually by starting with shorter distances and progressively increasing the duration and length of your swims. This approach allows your body to adapt to the specific challenges of open water, such as waves, currents, and varying water temperatures.


Choose Your Strongest Style

If you are comfortable with breaststroke, use them. If it's Freestyle, swim with it. For starters, swimming breaststroke is better because it helps you navigate easier. Freestyle swimming requires specific movements and head lifting to check the direction and thus needs to be practised and trained well before. Ensure you work on your water treading and floating on the back, as it's essential for open water swims, as there are no bottom or pool edges.


Tips when Swimming Alone

Swim alone only if you are an experienced swimmer who knows what you are doing. When swimming alone, the safest is to swim along the shore so you are always close to the ground. If you swim across the lake or river, have high visibility swim cap and float buoy, which you attach and drag behind you.


It serves as storage for drinking water, snacks, phone, clothing and valuables, and a resting aid when you need a break in during the way. This inflatable support buoy/bag is handy if you have a cramp during your swim; it can save your life. Watch for boats and ships. High visibility is essential so others can see you from a distance and you avoid potential accidents.


Practice Navigation

Unlike pool swimming, open-water swimming requires navigation skills. Before entering the water, familiarize yourself with landmarks and reference points that will help you stay on course. Practice sighting techniques, such as lifting your head slightly to look forward and adjust your direction. This skill is essential for staying on track and avoiding unnecessary detours, especially if you swim Freestyle.


Know Your Limits

Be honest with yourself about your swimming abilities and limits. Stay within your current skill level and attempt swims within your current skill level. Refrain from trying to prove yourself something, and avoid getting into extreme situations. If you're new to open-water swimming, consider taking lessons or seeking guidance from experienced swimmers. It will help you build confidence and improve your technique in a safe and controlled manner.


Respect the Environment

Open water ecosystems are home to a diverse array of aquatic life. Respect these environments by avoiding contact with plants, animals, and delicate coral reefs if you are at sea. Be aware of local regulations regarding protected areas and wildlife habitats, and follow any guidelines or restrictions that are in place.


Conclusion

Open-water swimming can be an incredible experience, providing freedom and connection with nature. By following these essential tips for safe open-water swimming, you can enjoy the sport while minimizing potential risks. Remember, safety should always be your top priority. So, go ahead, dive in, and explore the wonders of open-water swimming!

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Aigera Karimova
Aigera Karimova
Jun 06, 2023

🏊‍♀️🏊‍♀️🏊‍♀️🏊‍♀️🏊‍♀️

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