Dipping your toes into open water swimming

If you have worked your way through the more challenging Just Swim App goals, then you may be interested in mixing it up a little with trying open water swimming.

Open water swimmers scoff at lane ropes and pool walls. They favour the lakes, lynns and lochs of the UK. If you feel the pull of adventure then there are a few things you need to know before taking the plunge.

Top tips for getting into open water swimming

  1. You need to be a competent swimmer. Become a strong pool swimmer first then it’s a fairly simple transition into open water.
  2. If you are competent, then practise for open water swimming in the pool. Check out our top tips for preparing in the pool for open water here.
  3. Be honest with yourself about how fond you are of fish, slimy vegetation, and insects. Yes, you could see and feel them all. This is not a chlorine controlled pool environment.
  4. Get into open water swimming with a friend. Swimming alone in open water is not recommended. The temperature and choppiness of the water can make things difficult.
  5. Open water is cold, buy a wetsuit. They help insulate against the cold and keep you buoyant in open water. They are also great fun to wear.
  6. If you have got the level where you are considering open water swimming you may want to think about joining a Masters Swimming Club. They are a great way to find fellow open water wannabies. They will also help you develop your swimming in a supportive environment.

Finding the right event for you

Open water races can take place in any large outdoor body of water. They are usually 5km, 10km, or 25km, but can be from 1km to 80km

And they are not just about the swimming. They often have a great social life around them making them a great day or weekend out. Have a look at them and choose one that suits you.

We have listed two below that are good for beginners.

Great Swim

  1. There are a five Great Swims: Ipswich, Lake District, London, Manchester and Strathclyde in Scotland.
  2. Distances start at half a mile (806m) and go up to 2miles (3,219m).

Human Race Open Water Swims

  1. There are six Human Race Open Water Swims: Poole, Marlow, Hampton Court, Windsor, and Eton
  2. Distances start at around half an mile (750m) and go up to 6.3miles (10km)
  3. There is also a women’s only race held at Eton.