Open water swimming

So the open water season is here and whilst I'm yet to have dipped my toes in the cold stuff I have been preparing for it in the pool. I thought I'd share some of my ideas for how you can practice in case it helps anyone else in their preparations.

1) Sighting Practice

So when you swim up and down (or round in circles) it's not like you'll get readily lost, but come open water race day, identifying the route is key to letting you do your swim training justice. In the pool you can at least practice the technique. Try looking up every 4 strokes (excessive in the race but this is practice). The best time to look up is just after your dominant hand has entered the water and immediately before beginning the catch phase of the stroke, look up briefly, get your head back down and swim on.

2) Straight line swimming

Similar to sitting, swimming in a straight line makes the most of your training, even if you're swimming off at an angle to the buoy to catch the rivers current. In the pool you can practice this in two ways. Firstly if you have the lane to yourself try to swim along the line on the bottom. If you can do this easily then you're ready to try the second drill... Blind swimming! In an empty lane push off on the line and then close your eyes after the first stroke, open them every time you breath or every 4 strokes to see whether you're on course but don't get too close to the wall before opening them!

Mychett lake is open now for the summer on Saturday and Sunday morning for anyone who is ready to take the plunge.