Preparing for Open Water Swimming

Open water swimmingAs the PM has announced a relaxation in the rules in England for exercising, advanced swimmers are now able to take to the open waters as part of their daily exercise.  This is fine for triathletes and other open water swimmers who are used to the challenges of swimming in the sea or a lake.  But for swimmers who normally train and swim in a pool who are ‘itching’ to get back in the water, there are measures you need to take before taking the plunge.

Social Distancing and Keeping Safe

Despite the slight relaxation in rules, social distancing rules should still be followed when swimming in open waters.  However, it is also very important that you don’t attempt to go open water swimming alone.

Open Water SwimmingEven if you are a strong swimmer in the pool, the currents, tides and waves in open waters offer a completely different experience and it will take some practice to get used to these changes.  We recommend that those who are not used to cold water swimming, may wish to partner up with someone and use a swim run cord, like the Orca bungee cord, which comes with two detachable  belts and stretches to 3 metres (so in line with social distances).

It’s also highly recommended to use an open water swimming buoy.  These normally come in bright colours to make you easily visible to everyone.  For example, the C-Skin Swim buoy and dry bag is bright orange and so easily spotted. 

When swimming in rivers, lakes, pools or ponds, always make sure you've identified where you can climb out before you leap in, avoiding seaweed-slicked or steep-sided rocks.

What to wear for An Open Water Swim

We may have been enjoying temperatures above average for the time of year, but the water still remains cold at this time of year.  And the air temperature by the coast can also tend to be cooler than inland.

Open water swimmingA wetsuit is recommended for open water swimming, particularly if you are not used to the cold UK waters.   It will not only make you feel more confident but offers additional buoyancy in the water too.   But a wetsuit isn’t enough at this time of year. 

To help you to acclimatise to cold water swimming, you should also invest in essential swim accessories such as  gloves, boots and a skull cap (or a swim cap if you prefer).   These key items will keep the extremities of your body protected from the elements, making your swim more enjoyable and comfortable.

Open Water SwimmingFinally, as the sun continues to shine on us, it is advisable to also invest in a pair of polarised swim goggles. These will help to reduce the glare reflected off  the shiny surface of the water, enabling you to swim more confidently in your open water surroundings

Getting out of the water

Open Water SwimmingThe rush of adrenaline will make you feel warm for a few minutes when you’ve finished your open water swim, but you should immediately strip off, rub yourself down and get as dry as you can before you start shivering. Dry robes are great for outdoor swimmers as they slip easily over the costume and enable you to take off wet swimwear without exposing too much flesh to the cold air. A swimzi is also a good investment as they are full length and will keep you warm and snug once your swim is over.

Importantly, investment in a dry robe or a Swimzi, means you won’t be hanging around outdoor areas or car parks after your swim, enabling you to pop into the car and return home quickly and safely.

Sharks Swim & Triathlon

All of the products we recommend for open water swimming (plus many more) are available to order from our online shop.  We deliver to all over the UK and if you’re investing in a wetsuit for the first time, we would encourage you to call us on the number below or email us at with your contact details so we can discuss your requirements and sizes before recommending the best suit for you:

Open Water Swimming





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