Open Water & Pool Coaching Videos

Top Tips for Open Water Swimming

Top Tips for Open Water Swimming

Acclimatise to the cold water.  Do this over time, take colder showers, introduce yourself slowly to the cold, build up your time in the water slowly. You may wish to wait until temperatures rise rather than starting in the ‘cold season’.

Wear what YOU need.  Don’t be put off if you need to wear a wetsuit rather than swimming ‘skins’ it really doesn’t matter!  If wearing a wetsuit make sure it is on correctly (Some Tips here) and is a good fit – you may need lubricant to prevent rub (we like coconut oil for this purpose). You may like to consider a neoprene cap,  rash vest, ear plugs or wear two caps. Neoprene gloves and socks are also great for keep your extremities warm.  Shoes are good for safety underfoot. You don't know what hazards are underneath the water. We are all different wear what is right for you.

Know the risks. Know the risks of cold water swimming in terms of hypothermia and cold water shock.  If you have any medical conditions check with your doctor before starting a new cold water hobby. Have some knowledge about where you are swimming such as safe entry and exit points, submerged obstacles, water craft, tides and currents etc

Don’t swim alone.  Even experienced swimmers can get into trouble if you can’t pair up with a swim buddy have someone spot from the shore. Look out for each other

If there is a problem. Know how and where to seek help before you have a problem!  Have a means of raising the alarm if needed in an emergency.  Mobile phone, any local shops/cafes? Any community defib machines near by, know where you are consider what three words app.

Be prepared.  Before entering the water lay out your clothes in order if possible and ready to put on so you can get dry and dressed quickly. Layering up is a good idea and you may even wish to leave your clothes or towel wrapped with a hotwater bottle at the centre.

Get in slowly. Find a routine that works for you, this will reduce risk of cold water shock.  Splash your face with cold water, put cold water at the back of your neck, if wearing a wetsuit let some cold water into the suit,  you can leave the water and do some warm up exercises on land before entering to waist height and submerge the rest of your body. Before setting off, take a breath and blow some bubbles. It may take a while to get your head in and you can get brain freeze so you may wish to keep your face out of the water or dip it in increasingly until you feel comfortable to swim your usual stroke

Keep Calm. Breathe as naturally as possible this will help you get used to the water  and reduce anxiety and panicky feelings. If you are worried at all stay within your depth or leave the water. Remember you can always roll on your back to float and gather yourself  before heading to shore.

Don’t stay in too long. Don’t force yourself to stay in to keep up with others.  It’s a good idea to keep an eye on the time.

Exit the water safely. Use a safe exit point to exit the water slowly.  Changing from a horizontal position to vertical abruptly can cause unsteadiness on the feet and dizziness.

Warm up slowly. Dry off, dress, pop on a hat, dry robe or coat and have a flask with a hot drink to hand.  Don’t go straight home to a steaming shower or blast the heater in the car.

Return home. However you travel ensure you are safe to start your journey home, you can feel a little disorientated after cold swims which is why the reheating process is so important.  When you get home take care to continue to heat up slowly , have something to eat, sugar will help raise your temperature and be aware of after drop, your temperature will continue to drop. Rinse out your wetsuit ready for the next time 😊

©Solent Swim School 2021