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Tips For Open-Water Swimming

Summertime is swimming time, and if you're looking to swim in the great outdoors — in the first stage of triathlon or an open-water swim — you should check out these tips from Sugar user runningesq. She's a veteran triathlete and currently training for the Ironman Cozumel this November. Needless to say, she has experienced many open-water swims and we can all learn from her experience.

  • See if the race is wetsuit legal. If it is, buy or rent a wetsuit . . . it makes a big difference.
  • If you are new to open-water swimming start near the back and outside of the pack. The front is a human washing machine!
  • Expect to get knocked around a bit . . . with all the bodies, it's impossible not to knock into/ get knocked into other swimmers.
  • Every 4-5 stroke look UP . . . This goes against everything you've been taught in swimming, but you need to make sure you are going in the right direction. It's called "sighting."

Have any tips to add? Please share them in the comments below.

Join The Conversation
runningesq runningesq 8 years
Thanks lydialee! let me know if you have any questions about HIM training !!
lydialee_home lydialee_home 8 years
Just took a quick look - very detail. Love your blog! I am hoping to do a HIM before turning 50 (I am much older than you). Will definitely start a blog like that to document my training, race ... :)
runningesq runningesq 8 years
lydialee (and anyone else who is interested): is where I blog about my training and write my race reports :)
lydialee_home lydialee_home 8 years
Oops - I got it now. Sorry for the confusion - did not realize fit put your pic in this article. Congratulations again - do you have a race report that you publish? Love to read post-race report - especially on HIM, IM ...
syako syako 8 years
Bah, sorry for the messed up code...
syako syako 8 years
I love it, runningesq! You are a celeb. It really is a great pic, your sense of accomplishment in that smile is totally contagious! Go girl! :P
lydialee_home lydialee_home 8 years
Syako - that is a running pic, I also have one for weight-training, and one for spin class. I used them in my YM. However, I have not found a cute pic for swimming yet. Cotedazur - Thanks for the tips and the lubricant (body-glide) reminder. I did the Alcatraz Swim before, and it was super cold, so I have to wear a squid-lid cap. That was my very first open water swim, and I did not use the body-glide. I had a red mark all around my neck, it looked like someone just hang herself or something. That mark was there for 2 or 3 months before it went away. It was so embarrassing. kclulu - If you can run and bike, swimming is only a small portion in whole triathlon. As long as you can finish the swim, you will be ahead of all others on your bike/run. As for myself - I am just concentrate on my swim/run now, I went to the spin class, but I have not get on a real bike for a long time. I am embarrass to say that I am not very good in balancing a bike, I have the muscle, the power to bike, but when it came to the real road, I got scared. I am still not able to ride my bike with the cleats, I tried and I fell terribly.
kclulu kclulu 8 years
I would love to do a triathalon someday but I cant get over my fear of the swim. I have run marathons and I can ride a bike but I am not a terribly strong swimmer and swimming packed in with a group of people scares me! Kudos to those who get out there and do it.
cotedazur cotedazur 8 years
Good tip lydialee, definitely get some tinted goggles (unless the day is really overcast, you can get away with clear goggles then). If you can, find someone in the pack that swims at your pace, and follow the bubbles from their kick. That way you save energy by drafting, and you can sight less often. Also, if you're doing a triathlon, try to kick as little as possible- you'll need your legs for the bike and the run. A wetsuit will make you more buoyant and will compensate for the lack of kick. If you're training in the pool, you can simulate this feeling by using a pull buoy. Finally, always put some kind of lubricant on your neck, underarms, ankles, and wrists if you're wearing a wetsuit. This will keep it from rubbing your neck (you can get some pretty serious burns!), and will make it easier to take it off.
runningesq runningesq 8 years
Yes that is me ! Wheee I'm a Sugar celeb ;) Thanks Fit :)
syako syako 8 years
Is that a picture of running? If so, you're totally adorable!
lydialee_home lydialee_home 8 years
Yeap - Runnigesq's tips was very useful. Just finished the 2.4 mile Catfish swim this past Sunday. Weather was perfect - water temperature was 72 degree, no need for a wetsuit. The only thing I want to add is:- Make sure you have a tinted goggles - I practice at the pool with clear goggles, and this does not work well in open water. Also, make sure that you test your goggle for long distance swim - mine was a tad too tight, it give me a big mask and a headache after the swim.
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