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Improve your open water swimming efficiency

Swim England qualified coach Lucy Lloyd-Roach latest blog continues on June’s outdoor swimming theme, with a workout session for all levels of outdoor swimming experience. The workout session will help you to improve your open water swimming efficiency.

Level 2 Swimming Coach Lucy Lloyd-RoachWith the distinctively un-British weather we’ve had so far in 2018, the lure of the open water is strong with seasoned and inquisitive first timers.  I know that each time I step onto poolside at the moment that I’d love it to be in the open air!

In my June blog, we discussed how an open water swim can give a new focus to even experienced pool swimmers. I know it certainly did for me.

What I like about the open water

The variety – even the same stretch of water can be different each time you visit, which changes how you interact with the environment and challenges your skills, e.g. the weather might change how the water looks meaning that you can see more or less, or the wind may mean that you get a bit more chop (think of it as resistance training).

The freedom from expectation – this is due to the changing environmental conditions meaning that it’s harder to compare times from one session to the next. This allows me to enjoy the act of swimming for itself rather than being worried about times.

An easier to way to build aerobic fitness – it is a good way to swim longer aerobic sets without realising that you’re swimming as far! Psychologically, 1 x 800 metre loop is easier than 32 lengths in the pool. Unexpectedly, over the last couple of seasons I’ve discovered that the fitness I’ve gained from the open water season ties in nicely for Swim England Nationals in October!

Improve your open water swimming efficiency

This month’s session for you to try is one for the open water.  It is designed to help improve your open water swimming efficiency, which quite often will help you swim faster! There’s a variation for swimmers new to outdoor swimming, as well as for the more experienced of you.

Two key skills to focus on when in open water

  1. Sighting – This is a key skill and one from a coaching point of view that people often seem to overlook. It can make the biggest difference to your swimming. If you’re sighting correctly then you’ll be swimming in a straighter line and therefore you won’t swim as far. Less distance = faster recorded time. Why swim further than you have to?
  2. Pace awareness – This is something that a lot of swimmers need work on. If you have a strong pool swimming background you might find it trickier initially to judge your pace without a clock. With those newer to swimming in open water, we often see them setting off too quickly. It is more efficient to hold a faster average time overall than to set off quickly and feel the pain as the body fatigues because you’ve mis-paced it.

Now that you are sold on outdoor swimming, why not give it a try at local NOWCA accredited venue? You can try it for free as part of the NOWCA Swim initiative?