OW Swimming Help

Had my first experience of OW swimming this week at Boundary Park in Cheshire and it was bloody brilliant. To my suprise I found the transition from pool to lake quite easy but for 2 things that I am hoping my fellow Forum Members can help with. 1) How the bloody hell do you sight? My direction was nothing short of Red Arrow-esq, weaving left and right. I'd never done sighting before and it completely threw my stroke off so I had to take 10 strokes then switch to breast stroke to check my direction. 2) Goggles that had been brilliant in the pool, Aqua Sphere Kayenne, were poor and letting in plenty of water. Does the cold water shrink my head or is there some other reason for this? I have my first oen water triathlon in Llandudno in 6 weeks so any help would be appreciated.


  • Hi Stanners

    I also had my first go at OW swimming yesterday & was also the same at direction....... I found it soooooo hard trying to look foward with front crawl image


    I think I swallowd a little too my lake water lol image

  • Dorney Lake has lines on the bottom believe it or not. Apart from that, it's just practice, use side sighting eg waters edge on a straight course, also learn to use the breathing stroke and kind of move your head back to the front before you go back in. You don't need to sight every stroke.

    Even better, if you can find someone a fraction faster than you and going in a straight line, drop in behind and draft. It's amazing how much more efficient that can be and it's legal.

    Re the goggles, if you were using a silly rubber hat,it may have pulled your skin around a bit to break the seal but FWIW, I found an Aquasphere pair that seemed fine until I hit OW, then they leaked like a sieve. Never used them again. 

  • IronshasIronshas ✭✭✭

    In terms of staying straight, make sure you keep your head still and look down when you are not breathing; whether you look straight down or a few metres ahead is an individual thing & will depend on what impact it has on your body position - something to have a play with.  Also try closing your eyes in the pool instead of just looking at the black line to get used to swimming straight. And as dustboy said with regards to sighting in open water; practice, practice & practice.  Start at every 4 strokes and then push it out to 6 or 8 when you're more used to it & agree with using the bank (as long as you've had a look beforehand & know it's fairly straight that is!).  You can also practice sighting in the pool to get used to technique etc

  • IronshasIronshas ✭✭✭

    Oh and give zoggs goggles a go, those little suckers stick to your face like no others will!

  • HappychapHappychap ✭✭✭

    Zoggs Predator Flex.  image Awesome.

  • + 1 for Zoggs Predators ..

    With ref swimming off course .. are you bilateral breathing ?  if not that may be a factor .. i swim in circles unless i bilat breathe

    For sighting.. try to find something bigger than the buoy to use as a point of reference .. eg big pub on the sea front, lighthouse on the cliff, a tree on the lake edge etc (obviously something that not going to move, and if using a tree make it one that stands out) so that you arent struggling to sight the buoy each time you look up.


  • Might sound silly but learn the swim course, eg at Mytchett Quays, there are 3 trees that are in a line, aim for the middle one to stay on course, (or is that Thorpe). Thorpe has a white blob on the horizon when you are half a miel out, that is near to the landing stage and it stands out. etc.

    And if all else fails, use the sun to keep a bearing, if it's sunny of course.

    Or if it's out and back, on the return leg, aim for the cheeseburger smellimage

  • Hmmm, cheeseburgers!

  • +2 for Zoggs Predator Flex

    1st OW swim today, i'm a zig zag pro... i had a coached session and I found the following helped

    • look towards the bottom whenever not breathing or sighting this keeps the body prone in the water
    • when breathing only turn enough to take in air, no more than 90 degrees i guess, exhale underwater to assist with this
    • sight extra second breath, come direct out the water looking ahead, then turn to normal breathing side and re-enter

    those three pointers drastically improved my ability but the end of my session today

  • mmmmmmm very tempted by the Zoggs PF

    what is the best price for them?

  • about £22 on wiggle and the lens are polarized so if the sun ever does return that will be handy for outdoors!

  • actually looks like £18 for std and £22 for the exclusive polarised versions

  • Happychap wrote (see)

    Zoggs Predator Flex.  image Awesome.

    +3 for Zoggs Predators.  I have the polarized ones so I don't get 'glare' from the water on sunny days

  • I am spending far toooooo much money on this OW swimming image

    but loving it lol

  • + lots for the Zoggs

    Practice in the pool for sighting as well ... try a length front crawl and head out of the water looking straight ahead (I think its a water polo trick)  and then try front crawl as normal and look forward every so often and it soon becomes natural to look forwards as much as it does bilateral breathing

  • Funny, I thought about this thread in my feeble 2.5K pool swim today. Yes, you sight just as you commence your breath procedure, not as you finish it, so sorry!

    Re goggles, I have returned to Speedos after many different ones. The cheap ones in sports direct suit me best but I do like a double head strap, not the pissy little single one. Plus a tint for glare on the OW. And to help hide all the unsavoury views in what little clear water we might have in a lake.

    Like monsters, pike, shopping trolleys, turds, more monsters, Stingray, Troy Tempest, weeds that look like monsters, weeds that are monsters, weeds that chase you, just like monsters do, weeds that like to stroke your leg (pervert monsters) and that slimy gobby phlegmy cack that hangs around on the surface (monster snot). 

  • What about those tiddler fish that tickle your legs? Jelly fish that bloom in tri- sea season?

  • Redricks where I swim today is a fishing lake, I looked at their website last night and wished I hadn't... monsters, monsters with teeth, swans, swans with a nest, swans that hate swimmers, fish that hate swimmers, fisherman who hate swimmers, mud, reeds, things that feel like mud and then move......

    fortunately I don't think we were swimming in the Pike lake today image

    Schmunkee - The List Fairy wrote (see)
    Happychap wrote (see)

    Zoggs Predator Flex.  image Awesome.

    +3 for Zoggs Predators.  I have the polarized ones so I don't get 'glare' from the water on sunny days

    Schmunkee - The List Fairy wrote (see)
    Happychap wrote (see)

    Zoggs Predator Flex.  image Awesome.

    +3 for Zoggs Predators.  I have the polarized ones so I don't get 'glare' from the water on sunny days


    M...eldy wrote (see)

    + lots for the Zoggs


    hi Schmunkee and M..eldy nice to see ya.... imageimage

  • Apologies for the spelling errors girls not sure how that happened...now rectified

  • In the BlueIn the Blue ✭✭✭

    Thorpe has 3 trees dustboy and the bacon buttiesimage   I find myself sighting occasionally in a pool when I know exactly where I'm going image

    You could also try closing your eyes when you are in a pool if you don't have too many people in a lane with you as it gets you used to not being able to see when in open water.

    I don't mind the fish it's the swans that look at you as an intruder that get me.

  • Bloke at Thorpe got attacked by a swan last year. Mind you, apparently he swam straight at the swan and her brood and made no attempt to get out of the way. Old boy I seem to recall, swan was on his back the lot, hasn't been back. Bloke that is, not the swan. Must admit, I did question what use a pair of binoculars are on a landing stage, looking at what is going wrong half a mile away when you have no canoe out....?

  • very silly bloke to underestimate a mother with babies........of any animal or bird........those hormones are in abundance at that time for a reason.........

    sometimes in the sea it can be hard to sight as there is not always anything on the horizon and the waves can hide your view.....but on most lakes you can find something to site on

    my problem is i start enjoying swimming outdoors so much i go into daydream mode and close eyes and forget to site............and then i find i'm either hitting my hand on shallow ground or being hit by a canoeist telling me i'm off course

  • LOL Seren. When I go into daydream mode, I get my breathing wrong and end up with a gob full.

  • i get a gobfull each stroke anyway...........

  • I'm with Seren - total dream state!  Gazing at the views.... enojying it all....humming baa baa black sheep if the monster thoughts come! Total concentration failure!

    The only thing which keep me focused in OW is the amusement that reaches me when I realise that I am one minute 2 feet off the bottom of the sea and the next 2 metres and the race I swam where it was 5 foot waves and I just settled into the total madness of it.  Ironically I posted a seconds faster time in a rolling lake ( most people did 5 mins more that normal) than in a flat river a few weeks before.

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