4 tips to get started in open water swimming

Catherine Jones —

Every summer, I like to challenge myself to try something new. This year, I decided I wanted to try open water swimming. I live near a river which made it easy for me to go out and practice during my days off.

Here’s a few things I’ve learned as a beginner that might help you get out there and moving.



 1. Invest in good equipment

The first investment I made to kick-start this challenge was a comfortable swimsuit. I love my Nova One-Piece because it doesn’t slow me down during my training – it minimizes drag and water resistance. Some swimmers also wear a wetsuit, this is especially relevant if you work out during the colder seasons of the year.

My second purchase was tinted googles, which makes it easier to see in the water.

Additionally, you want to get yourself a swim buoys because of its dual function! You’ll be more visible in the water, and you can always use it to take a break if you need to.


 2. Get started

Now, it’s time to go out there and have fun! Make sure you drink lots of water before-hand, so you stay hydrated during your swim. Look at the forecast – you want to understand the currents, the wave patterns, the wind direction and know that they can change during your workout.

When you get there, slowly acclimate your body to the water, particularly if it’s cold. Splash some water on you, dive in and let yourself float for a moment. In the water, always stay calm and collected.


 3. Make sure you feel comfortable in the water

There are a few ways to ensure your safety while you’re swimming. First off, try to follow and stay close to the shore – in case of an emergency, you’ll be closer to the land. Pick a visible landmark and swim towards that (in a straight line ideally).

Moreover, know and respect your limits. If you’re a beginner, don’t try to go too deep in the water right away. You want to make sure you’re physically capable of doing so before tiring yourself out.

Lastly, go out there as much as you can and find friends to swim with, it’ll make it much enjoyable!


 4. Begin to increase your endurance

When you start feeling good about open water swimming and want to set new objectives, here’s my advice! You can increase your performance by practicing in the pool, there you can push your limits a bit more and start to notice your strengths and weaknesses.

Repetition, repetition, repetition. Just keep going out there as much as possible and eventually you’ll start to get better. Apart from this, do a quick warm-up on land before diving in and try to practice proper breathing daily.


Undoubtedly, the most important step is having a good time and enjoying yourself!

See you in the water!

Catherine / Operation's assistant