Top 5 tips for a successful open water swim

1. Complete some of your training swims in the ocean in varying conditions, event day won’t always be calm and beautiful. Never swim alone and wear high visible cap and if possible have a kayaker with you. Build your confidence before you arrive at the event, practice crowded swims with a few friends, swim close and tussle, get used to it so there are no surprises.

2. Race start – You will have plenty of time when you arrive at the event to get a feel for conditions. Even a 10minute easy will will get you in the right frame of mind for the challenge ahead. When you are in the water tread water for a few moments to feel if there is any drift or current. This will give you an indication of the potential to drift in the swim. If you can be aware of this you can plan for it to make sure you don’t swim extra distance when you don’t need too.

3. Before the swim, stand on the shore to observe the course and key landmarks. This will help you sight when in the water, if it is a sunny day you may have glare on the water and not see the bouys, or a slight swell. By identifying objects or landmass before you start your swim you can be confident in your path to the finish. Don’t assume the person in front of you is swimming in the right direction.

4. If you are not confident of your swimming ability start at the back or to one side and try not to get caught in the crowd, swim your own swim not someone else’s. As you participate in more events you will build your fitness and confidence so you can really get into the mix.

5. Everyone gets nervous before the start. Take a deep breath, relax and  settle into your stroke. Lift your head up every 3-6 stroke to site the bouy, stay focused and enjoy the experience .

If you want to improve your open water swimming a coach can help, whether as part of a squad or one on one coaching. For more info visit

For those looking to improve their times and want to work out their training pace Rick has developed to help you work out your desired swim time, then you can work out your training pace.

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