Ocean Swim Training Tips

Here are a few pointer to consider when considering your ocean swim training as you move from the pool to the ocean.

The change from the pool can be a little daunting to start with as there are some changes. Familiarisation of this environment is highly recommended and doing this with a group of friends or with an organised group.

Water Clarity will often mean that you will have reduced visibility so you won’t have a black line to follow like you do in the pool. To start with, this might create a little bit of anxiety but as long as you continue to control your breathing cycles (not rapid breathing) it will help to overcome this anxiety.

Sighting is another important factor as without the limitations of lane ropes it is essentially up to you to navigate your way around the swim course. I would recommend lifting your head to sight every 6-12 strokes to ensure that you are heading in the right direction. It can be useful to choose landmarks in the distance to help navigate a course. So before you start take a good look at your position on the beach, the position of the buoy and then where the buoy sits in relation to Rangitoto Island.

If at any time you find yourself heading more toward the top of Rangitoto you may need to double check your bearings.When you return toward Takapuna then sighting further to the right of the Norfolk Pines is a better option in order to head straight up the boat ramp to the finish line.

Ability to stop and stand-up in many cases this is going to be limited (especially for the longer events at the Beach Series). Going out and swimming in the open will help you to get the confidence to keep swimming. If you do need to stop in an event or in training just be aware you might have swimmers right behind you that might swim straight into you so ‘STOP WITH CAUTION’. Your ocean swim wetsuit provides buoyancy so rather than simply stopping, try to relax by kicking on your back. This can help you compose yourself, get water out of goggles etc.

Water movement – Tidal movements can influence your direction quite a lot. This is why it is important that if you stop at any point try and kick on your back toward your next marker buoy, this movement forward is better than drifting back with potential tide movement. Other things to consider is the chop on the water, waves and wind – all of these things may influence the direction and how you swim. Make sure you sight regularly in rough conditions to keep yourself on track and I do recommend that you have the ability to breathe on both sides just in case the chop or waves are coming at you from your favoured breathing side.

Goggles – Have a pair of training goggles that you throw in your bag for pool sessions etc but I can’t recommend enough to have a good pair of goggles that you use only for ocean swimming or even just at events (no scratches or chlorine haze). The clarity of vision with a new pair of goggles can make a world of difference in your swim experience when you are in the open water. My personal preference is the Blueseventy Hydra-Vision with a blue mirror. http://www.blueseventy.co.nz/collections/goggles/products/hydra-vision The tint helps with the glare around the water and makes it easier to see the big marker buoys in all conditions.

Wetsuit – while these are not essential the majority of swimmers do use them as they do provide a huge benefit by providing buoyancy in the water. Specific ocean swim wetsuits are quite different to surf wetsuits so if you are going to use one but don’t own one I would sooner hire an ocean swim wetsuit than purchase a surf wetsuit.

Make sure you try the suit for sizing first and if you work with the team at Blueseventy or one of their retail partners they will often support you with trial wetsuits, especially if you are interested in purchasing a suit for the event. There are multiple levels of wetsuits to suit swimmers’ abilities and budget – blueseventy Sprint, Fusion, Reaction & Helix.

Non – Wetsuit if you choose to do the event without a wetsuit and have had little open water experience or haven’t familiarised yourself with the water temperature for your expected duration of time to complete the swim, then I would recommend doing this before you take on the swim. If you want the ultimate ocean swim suit to wear then check out the Bluseventy PZ3TX

To find out more about the Beach Series ocean swim event, click here.


Credit:  Andrew Mackay Boost Coaching specialist Swim Coach visit www.boostcoaching.co.nz/swim-lessons

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