When I first started open water swimming, I didn’t have a clue where to start.
As the sport wasn’t as big as it is now, I had very little guidance on what equipment to buy, tips of how to put things on correctly and reasons why. I thought it would be useful to give you my three top open water swim hacks based on my 16 years' experience open water swimming.
1. Recovery when leaving the water.
There is a lot of heat stored in your head up to 80%. It is important your hat stays on even when leaving the water. Once you finish your swim and pull the hat off straight away you will get cooler fast and therefore the warming up process can take longer particularly in the winter months. I recommend drying off your swim hat and keeping it on, put a wholly hat over the swim hat. Keep the wholly hat over the swim hat until you have full warmed properly and not shivering any more. You can them put on a waterproof warm swim robe on straight after you leave the water which will also help to keep you warm before getting changed into your normal clothes. Make sure you wear loose clothes so they are easy to put on as your hands might not work very well particularly if it’s the winter months. Wear lots of layers, thick socks and gloves also helps your recovery faster.
I recommend you put the line of your swim hat down the middle of your head as I find the hat stays on easier. When holding the outside of the hat watch you don’t use your finger nails as the hat could tear. Put the swim hat on the middle of your forehead, lift and pull and your swim hat over your head pushing any excess hair in the swim hat. When you’re putting on the swim hat make sure you don’t pull it on too close to your eyes particularly when you’re wearing googles. If the goggles overlap on the hat they can leak, so make sure there is a gap between hat and googles.
3. How to put on a wetsuit – A great tip I learnt was the ‘Plastic bag trick!!’
Put your arm and hand into a plastic bag, wearing a bag on your arm makes it easy to push hand through the arms of a wetsuit. Your arm slides smoothly through the arm easily and you can take it off the other side once it’s pushed through. It also protects the wetsuit from any tears from finger nails catching as you don’t have to grab it with the other arm and force it through. You can also do the same by putting a bag on your leg and it will be push through a lot easier to get on with the same result. I suggest you sit down when putting your leg through with the plastic bag it’s much easier to put your leg through. Any plastic bag will do the trick