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How to train for an open water swim

If it's your first time participating in an open water swim it can be a daunting task, but don't worry it's not as bad as you think. Here are our top tips for training for an open water swim.

1. Build endurance in a pool

Although your swim will be in open water, it's often hard to get the time in open water to train enough. There are obviously more swimming pools around than safe open water swimming spots. And the best open water swimmers in the world spend a lot of their time in the pool putting in the hours to build up endurance. 

For some really useful swimming training plans you should check at the swim serpentine website here - they have a few different plans for different swimming distances including

2. Swimming in open water requires a slightly different technique

Most pool swimmers will tell you that open water swimming is a different kettle of fish (hah). That's because you have low visibility, waves, currents, other people in your way. 

You should practice doing some spotting when your swimming, here is a useful video that talks about sighting or spotting in open water.

3. Practice swimming in open water

This is a must! Swim training in the pool should only to build endurance. It doesn't really relate to swimming in open water. You'll also possibly need to try out your wetsuit and get used to things so you should try going down to your local open water swimming spot.

Some places hold days where you can have an assessment or join in on some coaching sessions.

Open Water Swimming in London

Here are a few well known and well trodden (or swum) swimming spots in London where you can try some open water swimming and get some coaching too.

London Royal Docks  : Here you can do some training with professional coaches.

Probably the best place for all the information of outdoor or open water swimming spots in london is the Serpentine Swimming website here.

Open Water Swimming in the UK

If you are looking for open water swimming spots in the UK you should definitely check out the Wild Swim website. Or also the Outdoor Swimming Society. The Wild Swim website lets people log wild swims. Although it's important to note that 'Wild' Swims are kind of classed differently than distance swimming. They are more like dips in nice streams - but still a useful resource

4. You float better in open water usually

Looking on the bright side. Usually you float better when swimming in open water because there is salt in the water and especially if you are wearing a wetsuit.

Wetsuits help you float and keep you warm. Swimming in a wetsuit is quite a nice feeling if it fits well - neoprene is lighter than water so it floats. It can also trap air in the wetsuit which helps you float too.

Some racing wetsuits (especially ones that triathletes use) have thicker neoprene in certain areas to help with flotation.

We hope this was in some way useful to answering at least one of your questions about training for an open water swim. It should be a combination of open water and pool swimming. If you need some training swimwear don't forget to check us out.

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