Swimming is challenging and open water swimming is even more challenging because of several reasons. The most obvious reason is that swimmers usually get trained in the enclosed swimming pools under the expert guidance of trainers. Unlike these swimming pools, open waters do not have walls, lane ropes or lifeguards. Even if lifeguards are present, they appear as a blurry red dot in the midst of the open waters which is, at least, fifteen feet in depth. Also, open waters have chances of getting rough depending on weather conditions making it difficult for the swimmers to get a grip and hold on to their balance. Although lakes are calmer, they are also no easy ground for a swimmer who has just set about practicing open water swimming. Having said that, challenges will come and go and your ability to overcome these challenges is what is important at the end of the day. So, here is a list of tips on mastering the art of open water swimming and becoming successful in achieving an altogether different swim goal.
Follow Safety First – Now, however good a swimmer you are, remember that open water swimming is an altogether different genre. So, for the initial days, when you practice, make sure that you are not alone in the waters but that there are other swimmers too. While swimming in the lakes, stay close to the shorelines. Swimming in a designated area will ensure that you are not floating about in the middle of the lake, also known as the “motorboat territory”. An added advantage of swimming along the shoreline is that you can have an idea of the depth of the waters and choose the most comfortable depth for you to swim with ease.
Test the Waters – Getting a feel of the waters before diving into it is essential. When you are being supervised by your expert from Katy swim club, chances are that the safety standards have already been confirmed. However, when you are practicing without guidance, make sure checking the water temperature first. If the water temperature is above 80 degrees, you should not be wearing a wetsuit. On the other hand, if the water is too cold to your skin, a wetsuit can be worn as an effective way of staying warm. The best thing to do is to purchase an underwater thermometer available in pool supply stores out there. Hold the thermometer in the waters for few minutes and know the exact temperature before you start.
Work on Your Sighting – Open water sighting is undoubtedly the most difficult part of swimming in the open waters. Unlike swimming pools, you don’t have black lines to help you float in the right direction. The only way of sighting in the open waters is lifting your head, looking out for certain land markers and following the same to stay on track. Instead of fixing this land marker from inside the waters, it is advisable that you check these markers right at the time of warming up before starting off with the swim.
Practice Breathing on Both Sides – If you plan to swim in the open waters, you need to practice bilateral breathing. Breathing on both sides helps you balance your strokes better and swim straighter for more strokes. While being trained, breathe every three alternate strokes. For the beginners, this might be a little difficult. So, start off by using a fin or a pull buoy and develop a feel for this. Once you get comfortable, practice without fins and master the technique gradually till you reach perfection.
Practice, Practice and Practice – As with every other sport and every other style of swimming, practice is the last word. However challenging open water swimming might seem, there is nothing as great that consistent and dedicated practice cannot overcome. At the same time, constantly seek the advice of your trainer and try to analyze as to where you might be going wrong throughout a particular session. Understanding your weak areas is an essential way of learning things fast while also getting acquainted with the most desired process of performing a particular swim style.
Follow these tips and take a step ahead towards becoming the swimmer you dream to be.