Open water swimming

Just got myself a wetsuit. Anyone got any tips or advise on open water swimming?
Is it a lot different from pool swimming? Apart from the obvious that it's outside!
And what about during a race, any tips on getting the wetsuit on & off quickly?


  • Ive heard OW swims are a little easier than pools if its not to choppy as the suit gives a lot of boyancy?

    Not done any OW myself so this isnt personal exerpience, looking forward to see what others have to say as ill be dipping my toe into OW later in the year.

    For fear of jacking the thread can someone describe how the indoor Tri swims work to as ive not done one either -

    1) Is it a bit like a time trial with swimmers going on alloted intervals?

    2) How do they know how many lengths youve done?

    3) What happens if you catch the swimmer in front can you get held up or pass?
  • New to it myself last year - odd at first but you soon get into it. Are you sea, river or lake?

    Training in open water is obviously different 'cos you don't get walls to hang on to to get your breath!!! you just have to keep going! So take it steady and keep a good rhythm. Try bilateral breathing as well - a good tactic for races and it helps you keep better control.

    That said.............................

    during a race - its like being in a washing machine - legs and arms thrashing about all over the place - no neat lanes to swim in! your breathing training is wated as you simply fight for survival!

    Great fun! Just enjoy it!

    Most people swear by body glide particularly around the ankles to help get the suit off. Good body moisturiser - or even spray on cooking oil(!) will do, but watch out for the guarantee on your suit - vaseline etc may negate any warranty.
  • I'd like to know about pool Tri's as well please!
  • Thanks all.
    Petal -Sea, river or lake? There are some lakes near me where a local club trains - I will join them there to get some practice in.
    The washing machine example sounds fun!
  • Well I have only done 1 tri late last year so am no expert but on the application form you had to estimate your swim time, then the slower swimmers go off first. Everyone gets an allocated swim start.They had people counting your lengths for you.
    If you caught someone it was ok to pass.
  • Ta!

    I wish I had a lake - it doesn't move about as much as the sea and its usually in the same place!
  • Hi all

    One of the things about OW swimming is that you will have to be "sighting" the bouy or other marker. So you will have to get yourself (and yoru neck muscles!) used to looking up and forwards every once in a while, as well as your normal "side" breaths. Practice this in the pool. Also - if you don't mind looking like a wally - practice in the pool with your eyes shut. See how much you veer off course. There's no black line on the bottom of the sea or a river!

    It's colder, and teh cold may well shock you when you first get in, and make it seem harder to breath. Practice will get you used to this.

    Wetsuit technique - get BodyGlide-d up beforehand. Then when you get out, unzip yourself and get your arms out ASAP. Then stand still, roll it down, get one leg out and then stand on it to get your other leg out - but other techniques may work better for you.

    Pool tris - you go off in stagggered starts depending on the time you put for your swim on the entry. So people doing 10 mins for 400m will go before those doing 6 mins. They count lengths for you and either tap your head, or put a board in asying "2 to go" (or similar) have 2 left to go! As for passing, if you touch the person in front's feet, they *should* let you pass either in the lane if enough room, or at the next end of the lane. If they don't, you might just have to go for it anyway...
  • Interesting to hear how pool tris are handled in Britain. Over here swimmers are indeed seeded by projected finish times but we usually start 6 to 8 in each lane, so swimmers of different abilities and age groups are filtered into the same lane. You all agree beforehand on the probable order according to speed, and we swim always on the right side of the lane. If someone is faster and wants to pass, they simply move out to your left and swim past. Works fine. To count, each swimmer in the lane wears a different colour cap, and there are several timers to each lane. A float is dangled in front of you as you come up for your final lap.
    Open water swims are a free-for-all mass start - I've been punched, kicked in the face and chest, and even pushed under the water by one guy so he could swim over me! I usually start well to the side of the pack.
    Very important to keep sighting every few strokes - it's amazing how much you can drift off course and that means extra metres and more time!
  • it is slightly disturbing when you lift you're head and the view is completely different to what you expected...

    (for 'you'... read 'i')

    seems i can do 90degrees in just 4 strokes when i'm tired
Sign In or Register to comment.