Going from the Pool to Open Water
You have been convinced by Heather Schelhase at pool2lake, to dip your toes into the unknown – open water, lake or river swimming. We live in the UK so no piranhas or killer sharks! I promise you will survive. I have been doing open water swimming for 4 years now and I have to say the UK waters are pretty good.
Making the decision to move from the confines of the chlorine box to the joys and wonders of the open water is a BIG move for lots of swimmers. Sometimes it takes a while to be convinced but I haven’t had one swimmer after being introduced to outdoor swimming ever say they hate it and won’t ever do it again.
Not everyone finds the transition easy but you need to keep trying and keep swimming. The open water definitely challenges you mentally and physically. The more you get out there and give it everything you have the easier it gets. Persistence and determination pay.
I love the description from the Outdoor Swimmer describing the transition – “Blue lines to blue skies”. Having been coaching for 3 years I can honestly say I have only swum in the rain 3 times, that’s pretty good going for the UK!
I get quite a few inquiries from swimmers who say they are very good swimmers and how do they prepare for open water swimming? I sometimes find the more experienced pool swimmers find the transition hard. They are so comfortable and confident in the pool that sometimes the open water catches them off guard. The attitude I can swim easily in the pool so it will be a doddle in the lakes. Not always the case. Being a good swimmer definitely has its advantages.
The water temperature is quite hard to explain and describe to swimmers new to the water. You can say the water temperature is 16 degrees but actually how cold will you feel when you take the plunge? The coldness can definitely catch you off guard and cause your calm breathing to be a bit more erratic. Your first open water swim will always be cold and then every time you enter the water it gets warmer and warmer.
* Always respect the water.
* Always know your entry and exit points. * Swim with a tow float if you are feeling nervous.
* Join a open water squad.
I love the Swim Secure – Tow Toggle. They cost £16.50 which is of minimal cost to help you feel a little secure. The tow float is also great for wild swimming so you are visible to other lake users.
The open water kit list?????
* Swimming costume / trisuit
* Bright coloured swim cap
* Goggles that don’t leak
* Dry bag for after your swim
* Swim towel
* Warm clothes for afterwards
Swimming in managed lakes that offer lifeguard cover is a good idea for inexperienced swimmers.
Denham Water Ski, Boxend Aqua Park, Hercules Events Merchant Taylor and Stanborough Lakes are all good lakes to swim in.
I would really recommend you having your first swim with an open water coach. Having a positive open water swim will be with you forever.
Take the plunge you won’t regret it.
Pool2lake are here to help you.