Swimming in open water is a unique, thrilling experience as you take your skills from the safety of the pool to the ocean or a lake. Open water swimming classes provide you with the skill and instruction you need to power through the waves and reach your goals. This guide covers everything you need to know, starting with the basics and continuing to more advanced open water techniques.
Basics of Open Water Swimming
Open water swimming is a bit different than swimming in a pool. Instead of being confined to one lane, you’re sharing the water with other swimmers, waves, and currents. Here are a few basics to keep in mind:
- Know How to Float and Tread Water – Floating and treading water are essential in an open water swimming class. Swim instructors may have you practice these skills to prepare for open water swimming.
- Be Able to Sight – Sighting is the ability to orient yourself in the water and maintain a straight line so you don’t swim in unintended circles.
- Know Water Safety Protocols – Swimming in open water is a bit riskier than swimming in a pool, which is why you’ll need to have a sound understanding of safety protocols.
Types of Open Water Classes
When it comes to open water classes, there are a few different types. You can find classes that focus on:
- History and Technique – These classes explain the history of open water swimming, while helping swimmers improve their technique and stroke efficiency.
- Safety and Navigation – In these classes, instructors teach swimmers how to navigate the ocean’s currents, choose the right routes, and handle any issues that may arise.
- Competition and Racing – Open water classes focused on racing may go beyond technique and safety instruction to include interval training, mental conditioning, and race strategy.
Benefits of Open Water Swimming Classes
Open water swimming classes are beneficial for several reasons. Swimmers will:
- Gain confidence and comfort in the water
- Gain essential open water endurance
- Develop a strong foundation of core swimming skills
- Learn technique that puts less strain on their bodies
- Gain insight into the art of “sprinting through the waves”
Find an Open Water Swimming Class with MYFITAPE
Ready to take the leap? Finding a high-quality, reliable open water swimming class is easy with MYFITAPE. We allow you to search for classes and instructors based on your goals and training needs. Once you’ve sent a few messages, you’ll be able to find the perfect match and dive right into the world of open water swimming.
- Do I need to know how to swim in a pool before I can take an open water class? Yes, you should have a solid foundation of basic swimming skills before taking up open water swimming. You will learn and practice techniques to help you manage the open environment, but it’s important to be comfortable in the water before taking the plunge.
Can I use open water swimming classes as a way to prepare for competitions?
Absolutely! Many of our open water swimming classes are specifically tailored to help swimmers reach their competitive goals. Look for a class that focuses on racing and competition to get a good foundation for success.
What safety measures should be taken while swimming in open water?Swimming in open water carries risks, so it is important to take safety measures to reduce the chances of harm. The most important thing to do would be to wear a personal flotation device (PFD) such as a life jacket, even if you’re a strong swimmer. Secondly, be aware of the currents, tides, and other environmental factors that can affect the safety of swimming in open water. Additionally, if swimming during the night, make sure to take a flashlight with you and make yourself visible to boats and other watercraft. Always swim with a partner, and if you do become fatigued, float on your back until you are able to rest and regain control. Finally, as with any sport or activity, know your limits and never overestimate your abilities.
How does temperature affect an open water swim?Swimming in open water can be extremely different depending on the temperature of the water. Cold water presents a greater challenge as the swimmers muscles can become numb and end up in distress. The colder temperatures can lower the swimmers performance level due to the body’s natural reaction to cold water. As the water temperature rises, the swimmer’s performance can increase, although the air temperature will likely be a greater factor than the water temperature in that instance. In extreme temperatures, a wetsuit is recommended for both warmth and buoyancy.
What type of clothing and equipment is required for open water swimming?
For open water swimming, it is important to wear a swimsuit or a wetsuit, a swim cap, and goggles. Swimmers may also want to wear a buoyancy aid or life jacket to provide extra buoyancy, and a tow float can also be useful to provide additional visibility. Other equipment you may need includes a snorkel, ear plugs, and fins. Additionally, ensure to bring appropriate items such as a dry towel, drinking water, and sun protection to ensure you stay safe while swimming.