Are you preparing for your first ever triathlon? Are you interested in cross-training? If so, you should know how to swim! Open-water swimming (OWS) is an excellent skill to master, not only because it is a perfect way to give your body good exercise, but it can even save your life in some situations! While we hope the latter will never be necessary, you must consider many things before hitting the water.
In this article, we are going to talk about the things you need to know as a beginner learning how to swim open-water:
Wear a wetsuit.
While many centres will require you to wear wetsuits should the water temperature drop below 16°C, we recommend wearing them regardless of the temperature. Wetsuits can help you glide through the water much more easily, not to mention add some buoyancy to keep you afloat, especially when you are tired.
You can either purchase wetsuits for yourself or rent them from swimming centres. If you plan to do this long-term, buying one is much more cost-effective. Otherwise, renting them will be fine for the occasional swimmer.
Practice your technique.
In many things, proper technique is the key to maximising performance, especially in swimming. With the right technique, you can maximise your swimming speed while minimising energy waste.
Specifically for open-water swimming, you will want to master the front crawl. It is the most energy-efficient technique and also provides plenty of speed. If you are not worried about swimming fast, then you can simply pick a stroke that you find comfortable. Just be sure to keep your head still and make sure your arm moves in a straight path.
If there is any technique to avoid, it is the backstroke. You will not be able to see where you are going when performing this technique. Plus, in OWS, laying on your back is a signal that you are in trouble.
Swim at a supervised swimming centre.
Swimming alone can be scary, especially if you are a beginner. However, that fear is not misplaced. Swimming alone can be quite dangerous because it might take a while for help to find you if you get into trouble.
To ensure you practice as safely as possible, we highly recommend swimming with a partner or in a group. That way, if you need help, someone can quickly reach you. If you do not have friends to bring with you, we recommend swimming at a supervised swimming centre. Not only will there be people to keep an eye on you, but they can even teach you the basics of open-water swimming to improve your skills.
Apart from the tips above, there are more things to consider. For instance, purchasing and using goggles and bright swimming caps can improve your training. Goggles can help you keep your eyes open underwater, and a bright cap will help you become much more visible.
That said, if you still have any questions or concerns about open-water swimming, do not be afraid to reach out to coaches and other experts for help. They can train you to be a great open-water swimmer, allowing you to achieve your goals in this activity.
Swim Secure offers swimming products to help open-water swimmers stay visible and keep their belongings safe. If you are looking for hi-vis swimwear and more in Australia, check out our products!