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Ocean Swims

Open Water Swim Tips & Programs

Robert Battocchio
May 30, 2017

Swimming outdoors is different to swimming in a pool. Practice swimming in different environments (check safe first) as rock pools, lakes, harbours, and protected beaches. The main difference is not having a black line to follow, and no wall to rest on, plus you may need to lift head up and arms more from the water (to see and lift above swell). Whilst swimming in an event aim to observe and follow the more experienced swimmers

Swimming outdoors is different to swimming in a pool. Practice swimming in different environments (check safe first) as rock pools, lakes, harbours, and protected beaches. The main difference is not having a black line to follow, and no wall to rest on, plus you may need to lift head up and arms more from the water (to see and lift above swell). Whilst swimming in an event aim to observe and follow the more experienced swimmers

Wollongong Harbour is mostly protected and offers shelter from the seas and most winds. It can get bumpy and depending on tide and water activity may be little sand affected and not clear or mostly clean and you can see the bottom on most days!

Lifeguards patrol the waters and as a small boat harbour it is well away from any commercial large vessels.

Build up distance:

If your aim is 200m (kids or ladies tryaqua) or the short (400m swim) or long (900m), work up to achieving half of the distance in one go. Once you achieve this add two lots of half distance (ie 200m + 200m with a minute or two rest), than reduce the ‘rest’ to when you can pretty well make the full distance – ideally aim to cover 100-200m more than the event distance before the event day.

Open water practice: 

Try rock pools, protected beaches, harbours, lakes and safe open water venues to get used to no black line, bumpy conditions and feeling of ‘open water swim’ grab a friend or ask for expert help or groups are excellent choices to assist.

Get the correct gear: 

Select swimwear that is comfortable and designed for outdoor swimming. Locally you can find stockists at Mckeon’s Swim School, which have a great range of Eyeline gear.

• For most people the majority of training will be done in a pool. If it’s your first open water swim, aim to complete a distance a bit  further than the event.

• You may need to breathe to a side you’re not used to because of swell, other competitors or to help sighting, so try and practice breathing to both sides. Bilateral breathing is better for training anyway because it keeps your stroke balanced.

• You don’t need to just do long distance swims to train for an open water race. Sets of shorter repetitions with rest intervals work well when combined with longer distances, plus they keep training interesting.

• The more efficient your stroke is, the easier it is to swim further. Practice trying to extend each arm pull, and aim to do less strokes per length while keeping your rhythm smooth.

• Get help: join a swim group, squad or swim for fun..or a local surf or outdoor pool club, or triathlon club. private swim coaching and technique work is also a huge help (www.mckeons.com.au)

Mckeon’s Swim School offers this as a great swim program for all levels.

2014 Basin2beach Training Program

Open Water Swimming Tips from an Olympian 011212 copy

Kids Harbour Splash- Swim Tips_Mckeon’s

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