How To Prepare For Open Water Swims?

Updated: May 23

Open water swimming is a skill most triathletes need to master and get comfortable with.


Hosting beginner-friendly sprint triathlons, we frequently encounter athletes who have never swum in open water before. Our primary goal for our members and for the events we arrange is to see them cross the finish line with a grin on their face.


We've compiled two expert tips for increasing your open water swim success to help you get the most out of your open water swimming training sessions and give you a leg up on the competition.


Mastering these strategies can assist you in settling into your race, remaining calmer, and crossing the finish line of your next triathlon in a new personal best time.


Female Triathletes Open Water Swimming with buoy
Swimming in open water is a skill that nearly all triathletes must acquire and become proficient in order to compete.

Get Yourself Ready Before You Get In The Water


As soon as you have mastered the art doing long sets in swimming pool, it's time to venture out into open water. However, it is critical that you become acquainted with the path that you will be taking before you go.


Pool vs. open water: What's the biggest difference? Sighting your next buoy frequently causes your breathing pattern to be disturbed, as well as causing a shift in stroke rhythm.


In the end, you'll find yourself taking half-breaths, holding your breath, and even swallowing lake water as your competition swims away at a steady pace behind you.


The ancient adage goes, "failing to plan is planning to fail." This is certainly true.


Best Things To Do Before You Get Into Open Water 🏊‍♀️


Get Oriented Before You Start Swimming


So, whether you're preparing for a competition or simply getting ready for a training session, you must take the time to carefully consider your course of action before diving into the water.


Locate the buoys and take note of notable points on the land or coastline that you can use to orient yourself in the water once you get into the ocean.


It will be easier to stay on course if you memorize important reference points and visualize your route before you begin. This will eliminate the need to frantically lift your head every five strokes to see where you're going.


As a result, you will be rewarded. Breathing that is more constant and rhythmic results in a more enjoyable swim, as well as less time spent swimming off course.


Prepare Yourself for Cold Water


If you're new to open water swimming or a first-time triathlete, the temperature of the water can be enough to take the wind out of your sails.


So, what is the solution to get better at dealing with the initial shock of cold water? All you have to do is swim in cold water more often.


Swimming in cold open water often allows your body, to develop the ability to adapt to big changes when it comes to surface temperatures and water temps. The more you are exposed to cold, the more tolerant you will become of it.


Many members of our team swim in Barton Springs Pool, a brisk and year-round chilly natural spring pool. They agreed that gradually increasing one's exposure is the key to eventually becoming polar bear-like. They recommend starting with five to ten minutes of cold water swimming to get used to it. Then multiply it by 15, 20, and so on.

Make sure you have warm clothes to change into after your swim. 

Tips for Improving Your Open Water Swimming

Hope that these open water swimming training tips will help you to make improvements in your triathlon swim time as a result of this #swimbikerunfun article. Lastly, never swim alone or without a safety swim buoy (as pictured above).


Training Guide: How Should Triathletes Adjust Their Swims To Improve?