Our top tips for getting started ocean swimming

1.Make sure you're a confident swimmer

Before getting started in ocean swimming make sure you are comfortable in the water and pool. If you have not swum in a while we recommend starting at your local pool and building up your endurance before entering the water. A good rule of thumb is to be able to swim at least two to three times the distance non stop in a pool that you want to swim in open water. Once you are confident in your swimming abilities it is time to find a place to swim!

2. Know where to swim

There are many beaches all around the country which have organised sessions and have suitable safety in place. We recommend you swim in one these locations and as there will be other like-minded swimmers there who you can buddy up with and swim in pairs or a small group. In addition you can also make new friends as open water is a very social sport. Not only is it another good safety measure, it makes training easier supporting each other.

3. Swim with a friend 

Swimming with a friend is essential to both water confidence and safety (it also makes it more fun). if you dont know anyone who swims in open water we recommend joining open water swimming groups or open water swimming classes. if you are not sure what is in your area searching Facebook for some open water groups near you might be a good place to start.

4. Get acclimatised

Due to the climate, open water in lakes, rivers and the ocean is likely to be a cooler water temperature than the 29 degrees of an indoor leisure centre pool. With this drop in temperature, initially it can take some getting used to. By doing small frequent dips you will soon find how much easier and longer you can comfortably swim each time. It will also increase your confidence.

On entering the water, we recommend wetting the face and back of the neck, which will prime the body for entry as these are sensitive parts of the body. As you immerse yourself up to your shoulders, we suggest exhaling on entry as the ribcage contracts it will make it easier to get a second breath without gasping, particularly if it is very cold.

5. Have a plan

Swimming in open water you have boundless space to swim! which is great but it menas that you have to go in with a plan, the same way when you go for a pool swim session you would have a plan for how many laps and what strokes you are going to swim. Open water swimming is no different, focus your plan around one of the three measaurables below. 

Time - Pick a certain amount of time you want to be out in the water and plan your swimming route based on what you can acheive in the allocated time 

Distance - This is great if you are wanting to prepare for an open water swim or race to help you focus on speed. 

6. Have the right equipment

A thick swim hat is necessary to keep you warm, neoprene is the warmest however you can also get a silicon and latex. It can be as much as 80% of heat is potentially lost through your head.

Ear plugs not only stop water getting in your ear, it also keeps your inner ear warm.

Other necessary equipment include a good pair of goggles that fit your face well, keep water out of your eyes and of course a comfortable costume. Our Predator goggles are perfect for open water swims with soft seal gasket and 2 sizes for the perfect fit. 

For added safety you can purchase inflatable tow floats which attach around your waist and make you visible to ongoing boats or other swimmers.

7. Remember to stay relaxed

Staying relaxed in the open water is important as when you panic your breath becomes short and your muscles cease up. its easy to get stressed when the waters get rough or if something touches your hand or foot when youre swimming. if you feel yourself start to get stressed in the water remember to slow your stroke and focus on your out breath and don't gasp your in breath. people often find it helps to count their breaths or recite a song to help regulate their breaths. 

8. Have Fun and go at your own pace

Open water swimming is all about having fun and exploring the water with friends. its not about how far or fast you go so go have a go and you never know you might meet some great new people and have fun in the water!