Preparation is key to get you feeling confident for your Great Swim. Check out these tips from our partner CLIF Bar to get you set for event day.

Strength and Conditioning

Technique is still king as it is how you translate strength into the water, however, anything you can do to get the major swim muscles stronger is good. Lat pull downs, tricep extensions, inclined rows and dips are all good exercises. The key is to make sure that gym work builds strength specifically and to do this you should be doing low reps (3-5) with very heavy resistance for around 3-5 sets. Take lots of rest to keep the quality high and while resting you can do some core or flexibility work. Finally, dry land swim trainers like the Swimbeam ( can also be great for swim specific strength work.

Open water

Just because you are a good pool swimmer doesn’t mean you will be great in the open water, so you need to practise. Just like in the pool, you need to focus your session and work on your ability to swim well – plodding aimlessly around a lake is of minimal use. Work on sighting, drafting & turning as well as performing paddle work, reps and drills just like you would do in the pool. This will also give you the chance to get used to your wetsuit. Again, getting a coached open water session can be hugely beneficial and there are lots of group sessions for all ability.


Good wetsuit

In the cold waters of the UK many of you will sensibly chose to wear a wetsuit. As well as helping fend off the cold, they will often make you faster in the water by floating sinky legs up making you more streamline in the water. If you’ve not bought one before, it’s important to consider a few things. Fit; too lose and it’ll fill up with water, too tight and it’ll restrict your breathing so try on a few sizes, makes and models before deciding which is right for you. Arms should sit well above the wrist and with a few ruckles under the arm pit to allow the shoulder to move freely and the neck should be low enough to limit neck rub. A good wetsuit should be almost unnoticeable once in the wet stuff and fill you with confidence – not water!  Check out the Great Swim Shop for our wetsuit recommendations


Joel Enoch is CLIF Bar's nutritional ambassador in the UK. A recognised authority on sports nutrition, he is a 9x GB ag-group triathlete and coaches one of the leading Triathlon Squads in the UK – the CLIF Bar Sponsored ‘Hartree JETS’.