by Carl O’Donnell: Former New Zealand Swimming Champion and 2012 London Olympian
As summer approaches and your first ocean swim nears, it’s a great time to get in some early preparation. These things always come around quicker than you thought, so take the pressure off your first event by being prepared. Starting your training early will benefit you throughout the season. If you feel strong and fit for the first event, it can only get better from then on! Early preparation is particularly important for first timers who need that extra confidence of knowing they have trained up for the distance.
Pre-season is the best time to make technical changes to your stroke. Give yourself enough time to let new habits stick. Nailing your technique early on will allow you to focus on fitness and speed throughout the season.
When it comes to training, the hardest thing to do is start! My best advice for getting started with your training is to just start. Enter an event now. Make the commitment now and you may be surprised that’s all the motivation to need to get into training.
Whether you choose to train in the ocean or the pool, or both, the best way to prepare for your event is to swim with a group. Training in a group gives you extra motivation and forces you to swim longer and faster. If you join a group in the pool early in the season, you can build a good routine, gain base fitness and avoid the excuse of cold water temperatures.
When the water warms up, I would recommend practicing swimming in a pack in the ocean prior to your first event. Practice entering and exiting the water in a group and what it feels like to have another swimmer tapping your feet. All of these things will help you feel more comfortable during your swim.
Stop putting it off, get started now in your preparation for the Banana Boat New Zealand Ocean Swim Series and bring on a successful summer of fun!
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Carl was a competitive swimmer for 20 years. He was number one in New Zealand in the 100m freestyle for 3 consecutive years and represented New Zealand at the London Olympic Games in 2012. After a break from swimming, Carl was challenged to an ocean swimming race by a friend. He has been hooked ever since and now competes in the Banana Boat New Zealand Ocean Swim Series each year. Carl’s passion for swimming has lead him to start his own swim coaching business, SWIM360. SWIM360 offers swim coaching and squads to swimmers of any level looking to improve their swimming.