Open water swimming questions to ask before competing

Completing an open water swim is a fantastic achievement. But before you dive in there are a few open water swimming questions you need to ask yourself.

It’s easy to forget something as you take the plunge for the first time. Think of these open water swimming questions as a preparation checklist.

If you can’t answer yes to all of them think twice about taking part. After all, it’s about having fun but keeping safe. So, here’s our top nine questions

  1. Do you know who you are swimming with? It can be dangerous to swim open water on your own. Always swim with someone and know who they are. It’s a good idea to get into open water with a friend.
  2. Do you know the weather conditions? Weather can play a huge part in the difficulty of open water swimming conditions. If you feel unsafe, don’t get in.
  3. Do you know the route you are taking? Seems like a fairly simple one but you MUST plan your route carefully and make sure someone else knows where you are going.
  4. Do you know where you will get in and out of the water? Again, this may not be your biggest worry but you should plan where you are entering and exiting the water.
  5. Have you practised swimming in your wetsuit? Wearing a wetsuit changes your swimming stroke slightly so it’s best to practice in a pool beforehand.
  6. Do you know the temperature of the water? Swimsuits keep you warm but the water will still be very cold. Get used to it slowly. If you feel your body getting too cold, get out.
  7. Do you know what you will eat before and after your swim? Exercise and cold water will sap your energy. Time your food for energy boosts.
  8. Do you have goggles and lubricant? Swimming in lakes, rivers and seas there is poor water visibility. Wear goggles. If you’re swimming in a group, tuck your goggle strap into your swim hat so they aren’t knocked out of position by accident. Lubricant isn’t essential but it’s a very useful for putting around the neck to avoid chaffing from your wetsuit.
  9. If you are swimming a loch, have you asked about weirs? Tide times are crucial to know when learning about the best times to swim in a loch. Be aware of rip currents and what to do if you become caught in one.