Training For Open Water
Open water swimming can be a bit of a shock to the system if you’re not fully ready, whatever your swimming ability. But we’ve got ways to help you prepare.
You don't have to be in the open water to train for open water. There are lots of ways to prepare for open water swimming using your local pool.
Improve your stroke technique
When swimming a long distance you need to be comfortable with your stroke. The majority of open water competitors swim front crawl so make sure yours is in good shape.
- Our British Gas Swimfit zone can help you improve your front crawl. Check it out here.
- Try counting the number of strokes it takes to complete a length in the pool then reduce your stroke count while maintaining a similar speed.
- Have a ‘back up’ stroke, such as breaststroke to swim slowly with if you need to recover.
Get used to the distance
Most mass participation events are at least 1km - that's 40 lengths of a 25m pool - so you need to be confident you can go the distance.
- Ensure you can comfortably swim further than your open water distance in the pool - without putting your feet down!
- Take distance challenges in our British Gas Swimfit zone. Build up to your distance
Practice open water techniques
With your front crawl up to speed and your endurance rising, try perfecting open water swimming tricks to really give you the edge in the open water. Head to British Gas Swimfit zone's Open Water section for tips on:
- Sighting - there are no lane lines and ropes in open water. Practice swimming in a line using a distant marker.
- Deep water starts - there's no wall to hold on to or kick off in open water so get used to starting from treading water.
- Turning - Very few open water swims are a completely straight line from start to finish.
- Breathing both ways - Breathing on alternative sides is recommended for pool swimming anyway, but in open water events it may become a necessity.
- Group swimming - open water swims are pack events. Get used to swimming with friends.
Swimfit Open Water Training Plan
Looking for more structure? Then use British Gas Swimfit's Open Water training plan for beginners. There're plans for strength, endurance, speed, recovery and technique.
Also, look up your local pool on our Pool Finder and search for pools offering Swimfit. They should be able to offer you lessons to help you prepare for taking the plunge.