Open water swimming: Everything you need to know about swimming outdoors

Open water swimming: Everything you need to know about swimming outdoors

We all love to swim outdoors in the summer. Open water swimming is a great way to stay fit and enjoy the outdoors. Although it can be challenging to swim in open water, it can also be very rewarding.

Open water swimming offers many advantages over swimming in a pool. The different conditions in open water allow you to improve your swimming skills and prepare for different situations. Plus, swimming outdoors is a great way to relieve stress and enjoy the outdoors. There is nothing better than swimming in cool water and enjoying the beautiful scenery around you.

If you want to try open water swimming, there are a few things you should keep in mind. It is important to be aware of the conditions in the water and safety precautions. You should also improve your swimming skills and prepare yourself for different situations. If you follow these tips, you will be able to swim safely and successfully in open water.

Basics of open water swimming

Open water swimming is about swimming in natural bodies of water such as lakes, rivers or oceans. Unlike swimming in a pool, there are some special challenges that you need to prepare for.

One of the most important fundamentals of open water swimming is orientation. Without clear landmarks, it can be difficult to stay on the right course and not go off course. So, you should familiarize yourself with your surroundings before swimming and remember where certain points such as trees, buildings or buoys are located.

Another important foundation is breathing. In open water swimming, it is especially important to have a good breathing technique because there are often waves, currents or other obstacles that can make breathing difficult. So you should focus on breathing regularly and deeply and not be distracted by outside influences.

Finally, having the right equipment is also crucial. You should equip yourself for open water swimming with proper swimming goggles, a wetsuit and possibly earplugs to protect yourself from the cold, sun and water in your ears. You should also always carry a swim buoy to draw attention to yourself in case of emergency and to protect yourself from boats or other hazards.

Overall, open water swimming requires good preparation and knowledge of the unique challenges it presents. However, with proper orientation, breathing, and equipment, you can swim safely and successfully while enjoying the beauty of nature.

Advantages of open water swimming

There are many benefits to open water swimming that can help you improve fitness and well-being. Some of the most important benefits of open water swimming are described below:

1. improves physical fitness

Open water swimming is a great way to improve physical fitness. It is a full-body workout that targets many muscle groups and helps build endurance and strength. It's also a great way to exercise the cardiovascular system and boost metabolism.

2. reduces stress

Swimming in open water can also help reduce stress. It's a great way to get away from it all and relax. The feeling of freedom and swimming in nature can help us calm our mind and relax.

3. improves mental health

In addition to reducing stress, open water swimming can also help improve mental health. It can help you know yourself better and boost your self-confidence. It can also help relieve depression and anxiety.

4. increases vitamin D absorption

Swimming in open water can also help increase your vitamin D intake. Vitamin D is important for bone health and the immune system. By swimming outdoors, you can naturally increase your vitamin D levels.

5. social aspect

Finally, open water swimming also provides a social aspect. It is a great way to make new friends and be part of a community. You can bond with other swimmers and motivate each other to reach your goals.

Safety precautions for open water swimming

Before the swim

Before swimming in open water, you should consider some safety measures to minimize the risk of accidents. Here are some tips you should follow:

  • Check the weather and water temperature. If the weather is bad or the water temperature is too low, you should postpone swimming.
  • Choose a safe place to swim. Look for a place where swimming is allowed and there are no hazards such as currents, rocks, or boats.
  • Tell someone about your swimming plans. Tell someone where you are going to swim and when you will be back.
  • Wear a swim buoy or safety device. This can help you stay on the water and be seen by boats in case of an emergency.

During the swim

While you are swimming in open water, you should continue to follow some safety precautions:

  • Do not swim alone. Always swim with a partner or in a group.
  • Avoid swimming too far from shore. Stay close to shore and do not swim into areas where the water is too deep or dangerous.
  • Watch out for boats and other water sports. Avoid swimming in areas where boats or jet skis are frequent.
  • Stay calm if you get into trouble. If you get cramps or have trouble, you should try to stay calm and call for help.

After swimming

After swimming, you should also follow some safety measures to make sure you don't put yourself in unnecessary danger:

  • Put on warm clothes. It can get cold quickly when you get out of the water, so make sure you dry off quickly and dress warmly.
  • Check for ticks and other parasites. Open water can harbor parasites such as ticks and snails, so be sure to check yourself thoroughly for parasites after your swim.

Equipment for open water swimming

As an open water swimmer, you need the right gear to move safely and effectively through the water. Here are some important things you should consider.

Swim Goggles

A good pair of swimming goggles is a must for open water swimming. They protect your eyes from debris and sunlight and help keep you oriented in the water. Here are some things you should consider when choosing swimming goggles:

  • Fit: the goggles should fit comfortably and not slip.
  • Visibility: the goggles should provide a clear view and not fog up.
  • Tint: Depending on the conditions in the water, tinted goggles can be beneficial.


A good wetsuit can help you swim through the water faster and more efficiently. Here are some things you should consider when choosing a swimsuit:

  • Material: a good quality wetsuit can keep you warmer and improve buoyancy.
  • Fit: the suit should be snug, but not restrictive.
  • Thickness: depending on the conditions in the water, varying the thickness of the suit can be beneficial.

Safety Equipment

Open water swimming can be dangerous, so it's important to have the right safety equipment. Here are some things you should consider:

  • Float buoy: A float buoy can help keep you visible in the water and protect you from boats and ships.
  • Whistle: A whistle can help draw attention to you in an emergency.
  • Life Vest: A life vest can help keep you afloat if you tire or get into trouble.

With the right equipment, you can swim safely and successfully in open water.

Techniques for open water swimming

When swimming open water, there are some techniques that can help you swim faster and more efficiently. Here are some tips:

  • Starting Technique: When starting, it is important to get into the water quickly and secure a good position. You can prepare for the start by doing a few quick jumps and focusing on the start. Once the signal is given to start, you should quickly jump into the water and swim as fast as you can.

  • Sighten: When swimming in open water, it is important to keep your bearings. You can orient yourself by regularly looking ahead and orienting yourself to specific points, such as trees, buildings, or buoys.

  • Breathing: Breathing is especially important in open water swimming, as the water is often choppy and can quickly get you out of breath. You should try to control your breathing and breathe regularly to keep your energy up.

  • Positioning: When swimming in open water, it is important to have a good position in the water to swim faster and more efficiently. You should try to improve your body position by lifting your hips and legs and lowering your head.

  • Rhythm: When swimming in open water, it is important to have a good rhythm to maintain energy and swim faster. You should try to improve your swimming style by coordinating your arm movements and leg strokes and focusing on your rhythm.

These techniques can help you swim faster and more efficiently in open water. It is important to train regularly and improve techniques to maximize performance.

Training and preparation for open water swimming

In order to best prepare yourself for open water swimming, you need to do some specific training. Here are some of the most important aspects you should consider:

1. technique training

Technique is an important factor in open water swimming. You should focus on proper posture, arm stroke and leg stroke. You can also do special exercises to improve your technique, such as swimming with your eyes closed or swimming with arm or leg floats.

2. endurance training

Open water swimming requires a high level of endurance. You should regularly swim longer distances to improve your endurance. You can also do interval training to increase your speed and strength.

3. acclimatization

Open water swimming can bring very different conditions, such as cold water or strong currents. You should prepare for these conditions by training in similar conditions. You can also do special breathing exercises to prepare for breathing in cold water.

4. nutrition and hydration

A balanced diet and adequate hydration are important factors in successfully preparing for open water swimming. You should focus on eating a healthy, balanced diet and drinking enough water to keep your body at its best.

5. equipment

The right equipment can make a big difference. You should familiarize yourself with the different types of wetsuits and goggles and choose the ones that best fit your needs. You should also make sure your equipment is in good condition and fits properly.

Overall, good preparation for open water swimming is essential to be successful. Through targeted training, a balanced diet, and the right equipment, you can prepare yourself for open water swimming in the best way possible.

Competitions in open water swimming

Open water swimming has gained popularity in recent years and there are now many competitions that specialize in this discipline. Below we will introduce some of the most famous competitions in open water swimming.

FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships

The FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships are the official world championships in open water swimming. This event is held every two years and includes various disciplines, including the 5km, 10km, 25km and 5km relays. The participants come from all over the world and the competitions are held in different locations.

Open Water Swimming at the Olympic Games

Open Water Swimming has been an official discipline since the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Participants swim a distance of 10 km in open water and the competitions are usually held in the sea or in a lake. Open water swimming requires a high level of physical fitness and endurance, as well as good swimming technique.

Overall, open water swimming offers a variety of competitions for swimmers of all abilities. From official world championships to marathon swims and Ironman triathlons, there is something for everyone.

Outdoor swimming and health

When swimming outdoors, you can benefit from numerous health benefits. Below we will discuss some of these benefits in more detail:

  • Improving Cardiovascular Health: When swimming in open water, we have to fight against the natural resistance of the water. This strengthens the cardiovascular system and improves blood circulation.

  • Stress Reduction: Spending time outdoors and swimming in the water can help reduce stress and relax you.

  • Strengthening muscles: Swimming uses almost all muscle groups. In particular, the arm, leg and trunk muscles are strengthened.

  • Improving breathing technique: When swimming, we have to breathe consciously and in a controlled manner. This can improve breathing technique.

  • Assist in weight loss: Swimming is an effective type of physical activity that can help burn calories and thus assist in weight loss.

Overall, outdoor swimming offers a great way to boost your physical and mental health.

Recovery and regeneration after open water swimming

After a successful open water swim, it is important to take enough time to recover and regenerate. Here are some tips that can help you recover after your swim:

  • Stretching: You should take time to stretch after your swim. It helps relax your muscles and prevent injury. You can do different stretching exercises like leg extensions, squats and arm circles.

  • Massage: Massage can help relax your muscles and improve blood circulation. You can get a professional massage or do it yourself.

  • Nutrition: You should make sure you eat a balanced and healthy diet after swimming. You should consume enough protein and carbohydrates to repair and build your muscles.

  • Hydration: It is important that you drink enough fluids after swimming to hydrate your body and support your muscles.

  • Relaxation: You should take time to relax and rejuvenate your body and mind. You can do yoga, meditation, or breathing exercises to help you relax.

Overall, proper rest and recovery after open water swimming can help improve your performance and prevent injury.