Your skin can be exfoliated by cold water, helping to make it appear smoother and flush out impurities.
Tips for open water swimming
It’s not like swimming in a pool
You may be an amazing swimmer in a pool however, it can be much more difficult swimming outdoors due to environmental factors. You may have to adapt your swimming technique depending on the situation such as wave strength, the current or swimming with others. It is suggested that if you are confident in swimming in a pool continuously for 30 minutes, then you should practice swimming continuously for no more than 15 minutes in open water to begin with.
Technique is vital
If your main focus is speed then front crawl is probably best in open water but if speed is not a main concern then any stroke is suitable except for backstroke as it can be difficult to navigate where you are going. You should focus on bilateral strength and strong stroke rate, which will assist you in more difficult swimming conditions.
Practice in a pool
Even though swimming in different environments is dissimilar, it can be beneficial to practice in the safety of a pool, where you can build up your strength.
Wetsuits are a necessity
In the majority of open water swimming areas which are supervised, it is essential to wear a wetsuit. However, even if the water is not supervised you should still wear a wetsuit and only swim if it is 100% safe to do so. Wetsuits also act as a partial buoyancy which helps people float if they get tired. They can be hired for a session or bought in several shops, instore and online.
Goggles are a very valuable item to have whilst swimming, especially in open waters. It may also be beneficial to buy two pairs, one with a sun block and one pair that can be seen through clearly, if it’s a cloudy day, tinted goggles will hinder your vision. You should also consider wearing a brightly coloured swimming cap, this will keep your head warm and ensure you are visible in the water. If you are susceptible to ear infections, get yourself a pair of ear plugs to prevent water going into your ears.
Try not to panic
When you are not close to shore and immersed in dark water, you may start to panic or feel vulnerable. To prevent this, set yourself small targets to distract yourself. For example, swim to a buoyancy then turn back to shore, or swim in blocks of 50 strokes. Having small targets will help keep you calm and create a more enjoyable experience.
Ensure you practice your breathing on the left and right, so that if the water and waves are slightly rough on one side you can still breathe on the other. Keep your breathing calm and find a rhythm.