10 Top Tips for Open Water Swimming

Check out our top tips below1.PRACTICE SIGHTING. There is no lane rope to follow, and sometimes a rough sea or foggy goggles can hamper your sighting ability. Try raising your head up and eyes forward while stroking. Getting your landmark or buoy in sight is the first step, and then you need to keep checking this every 10 strokes or so to maintain a direct line.2.Most swimmers have a preferred breathing side but wind, waves, swell, and current can make breathing difficult in open water so BILATERAL BREATHING is an essential skill. Something to practice in the pool.3.Get the right GOGGLES for open water swimming which are generally larger than pool goggles to allow to better sighting. They are also available in polarized lenses to assist with bright light, and have larger silicone gussets for more comfort than a pool goggle. Ideally you will have a pair of goggles for the pool, and a separate pair for your open water expeditions.


4.Build your efforts and your open water endurance by swimming smaller loops in the ocean as opposed to a longer point to point route. This will give you the opportunity to reset your gear if needed, or even feed if required. Remember that even if you are a great pool swimmer, the ocean will take a little bit of getting used to.5.Find training partners that have similar abilities and try not to swim alone if at all possible. Look for swimming groups in your area including via


6.GET A SAFETY TOW FLOAT to increase your visibility in the water. They are not designed to be lifesaving aids, but can support your weight if you need to stop for a rest on your swim - they are now compulsory in Wellington Harbour and we highly recommend them. These floats ensure you are visible to boats and Jet Skies traveling at speed, as well as to an observer on the beach who may be looking out for you.

7.LEARN THE SURF CONDITIONS for where you are swimming and keep an eye on the weather - if no one else is swimming at an open water location it's probably for good reason.8.Consider EARPLUGS to avoid getting water in your ears and to avoid sea sickness, we carry ocean ears which still let noise in which is essential. Ear plugs also seem to help deal with cold water a little better for some weird reason. Remember to wear a bright cap too, which will help keep the ear plugs in place.9.LET OTHERS KNOW when you are heading out, where you plan to go, when you plan to return and let them know when you get back.10.Casual or racing, there are so many EVENTS to compete in to meet other vitamin sea lovers! Open Water Swimming is a growing sport that not only offers great completion for the super fast guys, but it also offers a great alternative to ex competitive pool swimmers or injured athletes from other disciplines. Swimming in open water is an adventure, and every swim is different. If you look after yourself, and train consistently and responsibly, there is no reason why you can’t still be swimming in New Zealand’s amazing Bays well into your twilight years. See you in the water.

1 comment

  • Alun Dodd

    Enjoyed reading this column, lucky enough to be Living in Rarotonga, so opportunity to swim in open water everyday, these tips will be of great assistance. Thanks

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