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Top tips for the plunge from pool to open water swimming

With the open water and triathlon season now upon us, many you may be starting to think about the transition from pool swimming to open water for the first time.

Perhaps you have never been swimming in open water and feeling a little apprehensive about the plunge, or maybe you're ready to take your winter cold water dipping to the next level. Here's our top tips to get you on the right track...

Tip 1: The environment is very different!

Open water swimming is very very different to pool swimming. There are no lines along the bottom of the pool, no heating systems, no lane ropes, weather, deep water to name just a few elements. Its worth while taking a few simple steps to ensure it is a positive experience. As a young boy on a French exchange in Brittany I was warned not to dive straight into the sea, but I ignored all the advice, dived in and had to be rescued from the water with cold water shock. It's much better to heed advice and take your time.

Tip 2: It will be cold at the beginning of the season

There is no getting around this! So, when you do first enter the water, make sure you take your time getting into the water, keep breathing out and slowly let your body get used to the temperature of the water. Remember, you want to leave the water feeling like you could stay in for longer, rather than stay in too long and get too cold - not something we want anyone to experience!

Tip 3: Get the right equipment

The right kit is pretty important. A proper fitting swimming wetsuit is a sound purchase. It will be extremely difficult to swim any distance in your surf wetsuit! Swimming/triathlon wetsuits are specially designed to help you move through the water quickly, as well as keep you warm. You will need a tow float for your own safety and a bright coloured swim hat so people can see you in the water. We also recommend polarised or photochromatic goggles to reduce the glare of the water surface and protect your eyesight.

Tip 4: Find your tribe!

There's a great community in open water swimming and triathlon. We would always recommend swimming with other people for your own safety, especially if you are new to the experience. Whether that is a friend, family member or coaching team (we may know some people that can help ;-P ) having someone else there to look out for you and show you the ropes at first is definitely the right thing to do.

We have lots of upcoming Open water swimming and triathlon coaching sessions you might like to take a look at:

Open Water Courses:

Cold Water Swimming Introduction Session Monday 25th April 6-7pm

no experience required

Level 1 Open Water Confidence Session Monday 2nd May 6-7pm

25m any front stroke minimum

Level 2 Beginner Open Water 3 week Course Monday 9th May 7-8pm

50m minimum freestyle/front crawl - Refresher people welcome!

Level 3 Improver Open Water Skills 3 week Course Sunday 15th May 8.45-9.45am

Been on one of our level 2 courses? Come and have a tune up with some individual stroke technique and fitness work too

1:1 Open Water Coaching also available with Annie or Ali, please pre book weeks in advance!

Triathlon Courses:

It's just over 6 weeks until Blenheim Triathlon....don't leave your training too late!

Beginner Triathlon Skills Course starts Wednesday 27th April April 8-9pm then 5 subsequent Mondays 7-8pm

Everything you need to know to complete your first triathlon confidently with time to practice/train between sessions

Triathlon Swimming Open Water Course starts Monday 9th May 7-8pm

How to complete the swim and transitions for beginners

Beginner Triathlon Skills Day Sunday 8th May 2022 7.30am-12.30pm

A crash course in completing a triathlon

1:1 Triathlon Open Water Swimming Coaching also available with Annie or Ali, please pre book weeks in advance!

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