Tips for swimming in open water

When the water heats up, you may think about venturing out into the open water. Swimming in open water can offer many benefits by improving your mental health and sleep, increasing your metabolism, and boosting your immune system.

You can also enjoy the great nature and experience a side of nature that was previously undiscovered.

The main differences between swimming in a pool and swimming in open water are the lack of walls to slide off from, without having path lines and tiles or paint on the bottom to guide you, and the water conditions. These are differences that you can learn to adapt over time by practicing the following techniques.


It would help if you learned to see because you do not have anything that guides you in the right direction in the open water. Practice looking ahead during the swim to find a marker that will show you where to swim. Most people see a tree or a small landmark and use it to navigate where to swim.

Another way to train in a pool to swim in open water is to swim as straight as possible. In open water triathlon swimming, you have to turn left or right and bump into other triathletes, so it’s a good idea to learn to swim right before. You can work on swimming straight into open water by swimming near the shoreline and using it as a crutch until you master it. Make sure the blow pushes water directly behind you, not side to side.

Tread water

You may need to take a break during the swim in open water, and without lanes or walls to hold on to and perhaps deep enough water that you can not touch the bottom, you need to be able to tread the water. You can practice this skill at the deep end of the pool.


Practice turning in a pool as well. Make sure you do not touch the walls or bottom of the swimming pool. In open water, you can practice this by swimming around water buoys, if it is safe to do so, or swimming around one of the friends you are swimming with.

Bilateral breathing

Breathing on both sides or bilateral breathing is recommended in open water. It probably will not feel natural to begin with, so practice this in a pool. You must perform bilateral breathing to breathe in the opposite direction of any waves.

Performing breathing in open water swimming is the same as in a swimming pool:

  • Exhale the water under water through your mouth.
  • Inhale through your mouth and then rotate your head with your shoulders backward under water. Rotate your head with your shoulders.

Swimming technique

Perform a slightly higher stroke rate in open water than in the pool, which helps you keep up the pace if you are in choppy waters.

Most open water swimmers choose freestyle, so you must be familiar with this stroke and maintain it for extended periods. It would be best if you were comfortable with which strokes you choose.

It is recommended that you get used to other types of stroke, such as backstroke and chest stroke, because this uses less energy than freestyle and can help you if you have problems or want to take a break.

Related articles:

Common injury in swimming

Can swimming cause an ear infection


About the author


Add comment