Everyone likes wading in the ocean on holiday or cooling off in the summer at a nearby lake. But as much as we like swimming, doing it in open water is a different beast. Yet open water swimming is becoming increasingly popular across the world. Many brave the cold weather and long endurance races to push them to their limits. There was even one very recently on May 5th, in Rotherham. There’s no end to these events, as you can see here.

But are you up to the challenge? Are you ready to put yourself through the paces? Let’s find out...

Preparing for outdoor swimming endurance racing

It might not be the best idea to dive into an endurance event of this scale if you have no prior experience. It’s a challenge, where competitors need to swim continuously for hours on end. That’s a long time to find yourself in deep water. But this is also part of the appeal. It pushes your physical and mental strength to its limits.

To prepare for an event like this, strategic, relentless training is key. You need to be sure your physical health is strong enough to allow you to swim for at least seven hours. If you can do seven hours, six hours will be no problem. With this, practice makes perfect. But building the mental stamina to complete a swim of this length is just as important.

No matter how fit you are, without the right mindset in endurance events, you won’t be able to compete at your best. For this, some swimmers recommend meditation and clearing the mind, while others rely on true grit. We say rely on whatever works for you as long as you know you can finish the race.

And make sure you’re prepared for the open water. This isn’t a pool - it’s definitely not as warm and you’re likely to come into contact with aquatic life.

Improve your swimming

Those looking for practice should be conscious of what they need to improve on when they’re swimming. There’s no better place to see how you perform and where you can improve than at a real competition. Think about:

  • Your technique - Is your technique becoming sloppy as you’re getting tired? Poor technique will reduce your efficiency in the water, leading you to tire faster.

  • Focus on balance - Open water does everything possible to throw you off balance. It’s more important than ever to make sure you’re swimming straight with equal propulsion from both arms so you don’t lose time. Keep your eye out to see where you’re going.

  • Be determined - You’ll often have to fight for your place in the water with lots of jostling. If you want to be competitive, don’t let people push you around at the start of the race. Stand your ground.

Open water swimming is an amazing twist on a favourite pastime. It improves physical health, mental resilience, and can be a great way to see what you’re capable of. Why not give it a try?

At Maru, we design our costumes with all swimmers in mind. Whether you love the open water or stick strictly to the pool, we have a range of vibrant, comfortable designs that will help you swim your best. Take a look on our website.