Annie Bean

Tips from Annie Bean

Cold Water Swim Safety - Be safe out there”


Is there anything more incredible than that post-swim glow feeling you get after you’ve been open water swimming? Nothing quite beats it! Open water swimming is such a glorious activity providing you not only with great exercise but that exhilarating feeling of freedom. There really isn’t any else like it.


Swimmingly safely outdoors should always be a swimmers priority especially when it gets chilly. When those temperatures drop, not only do you need to make sure you’re safe and seen by other water users, you also need to keep yourself warm. 


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Be seen, swim safe


You will always need a tow float when swimming in open water, whether that is at a swim venue or wild swimming, a tow float means you will be seen by other water users. A great additional bit of safety can be to attach a whistle to your tow float to attract attention if you get into difficulties, but also adding a flashing light inside the tow float too. Sometimes during chilly months it can be overcast and quite dark, so you’re just adding another way to be safe by being seen.


Easy does it


If you’ve not been regularly swimming already in open water, as the temperatures will be dropping, please be careful to ensure you become acclimatised properly. That means no jumping or running into water. Ease yourself into the water! Even if for the first few times you do a 'dip' for 10 seconds or you might be able to go for a little bit longer and then get back out, slowly building up to being able to swim.


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Swim at a venue


Swimming at a dedicated swimming venue is a great way to swim safely. You’ll have the added comfort of safety measures set in place, and assistance can be found with staff ready on paddle boards or kayaks, so if it suddenly gets too much, you can get help. Often swim venues will have specific cold water swimming coaching too, so you’re just adding another way to be safe in the water.


Post swim glow


If you’ve ever been in cold water, got swimming, then got out, you’ll know about that incredible post swim glow. It’s such an incredible feeling and one that can often distract us from the next most important part of cold water swimming, getting warm! Yes, the next job is to quickly get those wet clothes off before the cold hits us and we catch a chill.


Prior to entering the water my top advice is to lay your clothes out ready. I take big ski socks, slip on cosy boots, joggers, a big jumper, a dry robe, towel, a bobble hat and most important of all, a flask of tea! Anything easy to get into, so no lycra or awkward garments, as that will take too much time. Another great tip to keep those clothes you lay out nice and toasty, is to tuck a hot water bottle in, then afterwards you can give that hot water bottle a big hug and continue to keep warm as you sip that delicious tea!


Open water swimming benefits


Getting out in the open water? There is nothing quite like it, as it benefits us both physically and mentally. Even though it can seem rather daunting to begin, once you’re comfortable to swim, it’s one of the most exhilarating feelings. Once you start cold water swimming with the initial uncomfortable ‘eek, this is really cold’ feeling, that is soon a distant feeling by how amazing it actually feels once you get going. The main thing in open water swimming, cold water or not, over anything else, is being safe, being seen and being warm, so if you’ve done all that, then you’re good to go!


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