Never Swum In Open Water? Make It Happen This Weekend!

If you live in Europe then you won't have failed to notice a large mass of hot air coming up from Africa bringing record temperatures across the continent this week. Whilst the Swim Smooth Squad in Perth has been swimming outdoors with an air temperature of just 2C early in the morning, Paris hit 42C and London 38C yesterday!

These high air temperatures and lots of sun loading are bringing up open water temperatures very nicely across Europe. Even the normally chilly English channel is getting up to 19C along the south coast of England.

All of this means that if you've never swum in open water before but would love to do so, there's no better time to go for it. With that in mind here's Swim Smooth's top-tips to make your first swim in open water a huge success:

Choose Your Venue

Firstly you want to make sure you will be swimming in a safe location with good water safety support. A lake is the ideal place to start but there's no reason why you can't also swim in the sea/ocean if conditions are nice and flat.

The good news is that there are plenty of dedicated open water swimming venues these days - let them know that you are a first-timer and swim with some experienced friends alongside to give you that reassurance whilst you are in the water.

Beautiful Lake Windermere in the UK - home of Swim Smooth Coach Emma Brunning

Put Your Wetsuit On Right

If you are wearing a wetsuit for your swim then putting it on correctly is essential to ensure you can move freely and comfortably as you swim. Make sure you watch this video by Swim Smooth's Head Coach Paul Newsome taking you through all the tips you need for a perfect rubber-clad swim:

Exhale Smoothly Into The Water - "Bubble Bubble Breathe!"

What's the first thing people do if they are feeling a bit nervous when swimming? Hold their breath! If you fail to exhale into the water between breaths then CO2 will build up in your system and make you feel very short of air and panicky as a result.

So perhaps the most important thing to remember when swimming in open water, especially when you first get in, is to exhale smoothly and continuously into the water. And the best way to do that is our mantra: breathe... bubble... bubble... breathe! - literally speak "bubble" into the water to get rid of that air and breathe every third stroke. Of course breathing every three will swap your breathing sides and that means you will swim straighter too - great!

A great drill to develop your exhalation technique in the pool is our Sink Down exercise:

View the drill in the Swim Smooth Guru here (subscription required):

Don't Start Too Fast But Keep A Nice Rhythm To Your Stroke

If you are nervous about getting into open water (and most people are whether they admit it or not) then the adrenaline will be pumping when you set off. The danger if that you will start too fast, get out of breath and feel panicky as a result.

The key here is to consciously take it easy for the first few minutes of swimming and get used to the new environment you are in. Once you feel like you are settling down, think about swimming with a good sense of purpose and a nice steady rhythm - especially if there is any chop on the water. Stroke rhythm is essential for effective open water swimming, even more so than in the pool.

Once you are feeling calmer, try upping your rhythm again!

Consider A Swim Smooth Coached Session

Swim Smooth coaches are perhaps most famous for their brilliant video analysis and stroke correction skills but they are all also highly trained open water coaches, fully equipped to develop your open water skills.

Most of our coaches around the world run open water sessions during the summer months and in the northern hemisphere those venues are starting to open up right now.

A coached group session is a super-effective way to develop those key skills and improve your confidence.

Key training sessions on offer to you include:

- Introduction sessions for beginners to get you relaxed, comfortable and safe swimming in open water for the first time. Building up your confidence and laying down a good skills foundation are the key goals. Perfect for anyone looking to enjoy swimming outdoors for the first time or perhaps racing their first open water swim or triathlon.

- Skills development sessions for swimmers who have swum in open water before but would like to improve their confidence and improve their performance. Starts, turns, swimming straight, navigation and drafting are on the hit list here.

- Adapting your stroke to the open water. Swim confidently in the pool but struggle in open water? It could be your stroke. Your Swim Smooth coach will work with you to make some relatively small changes to dramatically improve your open water comfort and speed. This advice will depend on your individual swimming so make sure you get that key input specific to you. This can be done within a group session or an open-water skills 1to1.

So get booked up now - the warm weather is here after all! Get in contact with yours today and let's hit the open water :

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