Click here to find out more about Great Swim events. 

Spring has sprung so it’s time to switch the lanes for the open water.  We’re here to help you on your way and get you prepped for your open water event this summer.

1. Get the gear

Buy the necessary equipment recommended for training such as a tow float for safety, swim hat (latex, silicon, neoprene) and make sure you have something warm for afterwards (this is Britain afterall…)

Also, make sure you buy a wetsuit from a recognised brand and make sure it fits. Too tight and it will restrict you. Too loose and it will fill up with water. Also decide what the right thickness is for your requirements - you can always speak to someone in your local sports store about the right one for your event. 

Ear plugs can really help to reduce irritation and increase insulation. And don’t forget about the goggles! You need some that are comfortable and fit the shape of your eyes.

2. Acclimatise

Although you’ll be wearing a wetsuit for your Great Swim event, small dips for acclimatisation to cold water will also help. Many lakes across UK open from 1st May and getting these short dips in will really help you get used to the temperature drop from a pool. The more you do, the easier it becomes!

3. Small steps for big gains

As there are no pool walls in the open water, you need to become more confident for open water. To do this, take small steps to build confidence - if you swim in a controlled area, ideally where you can stand up, try and swim from buoy to buoy. Start off with a small distance and then increase gradually as you get more confident.

4. Grab your mates

Swimming with a partner gives you a focus and will make you feel more confident - it will also help when you swim at an event as you’ll be used to swimming alongside someone.

5. Test your technique

As you’ll be swimming longer distances without stopping in an open water event, your technique and efficiency will be of paramount importance to save energy as well as keeping you injury free.

6. Sighting

This is a good skill to master for open water. If you focus on a point beyond where you are going to swim this will help act as a guide. The amount of times you sight will also depend on how efficient your stroke is and whether you can swim in a straight line. If you can master this in a pool, it’ll help increase your confidence and reduce how many times you need to sight in open water. My recommendation is to not lift your head too high - just enough so your eyes clear the water. You can breathe when sighting, however this is less efficient if you lift your head too high your legs will drop causing an inefficient body position.

7. Practice your rhythm

In training, practise as fast a start as you can and this will help you get into a rhythm. My recommendation is to wet your face and back of your neck to prime yourself before you start swimming.

Follow Adam on Twitter @adamsoceans7 

Click here to find out more about Great Swim events.