Open Water Swimming

by Alison McIrvin
Open Water Swimming

Triathlons and mini tri’s have been growing in popularity for quite a few years, now. This means more and more people are turning to open water swimming in the warmer months, some die-hards even keep it up year round in some climates. You don’t have to train for a tri to like open water swimming, in fact many of the dedicated swimmers you will encounter are in it just for the swim!

What do you need to consider before starting? Here are the basics on the gear:

  • A well fitted wet suit. Many people prefer a “shortie”, but it is all about personal preference and where you live. If you are in more northern climates and hope to swim as far as possible into the fall, then a full wet suit is likely a better choice for you
  • Invest in a good pair (or two) and although it may seem obvious, but they shouldn’t leak. Buy an extra strap to keep in your workout bag for that guaranteed day when your strap breaks as you are all suited up and ready to hit the waves.
  • Consider wearing two swim caps if you tend to lose your heat through your head and also if you live in northern climates.

Things to keep in mind for your first open water swim race:

  • It will feel a bit scary. All those people certainly LOOK more confident than you feel and they will all be racing against YOU! And they are also feeling a bit scared just like you so dive in and go for it!
  • That said…stay calm. Panicking while surrounded by tons of arms and legs thrashing for the same finish line is not in your best interests. Take some deep breaths (duhhh) and do some self-talking to keep yourself focused.
  • If you feel really anxious consider starting at the back of the pack and get a feel for it.
  • Know your course and stay aware of where you are so that you only need to look up to verify your location as often as really needed.

Most of all, have fun and give yourself some well-deserved pats on the back for stepping up to the challenge and conquering those waves!

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