The Great North Swim is drawing nearer and it time is running out to prepare for the big swim. Located on the shore of Lake Windermere, the team at the Low Wood Club know a thing or two about open water swimming. So we asked them for their top 10 tips…
1. Practice Sighting
I’ve found that the best way to sight during a race is to lift the head and look forward as you are turning your head to breathe. You want to limit how high you lift your head because your hips will drop, so try just below the goggle line. Then take your breath when you turn your head to the side.
2. Time When You Sight
The more you look, the more tired you get. The less you look the less straight you may swim. It is a trade-off, but you need to find what is comfortable for you.
3. Stay Warm during the Race
I’ve been in races where my body just shuts down because of the cold. Try to avoid it by using everything you can: Wetsuits, two caps and earplugs all help keep you warm.
4. The Right Goggles Are Critical
They will help you see clearly. If you haven’t got any have a look around the stalls or come over to the Low Wood Club, we have general ones.
5. Learn the Course
When you arrive on site check the buoys. Look for landmarks, like trees or houses, that will help guide you in a straight line. While you are in the water, you won’t always be able to sight off the buoys.
6. Your Start Tactics
If your aim is to complete, and time isn’t the priority then let your group set off, there can be a bit of pushing at the start. If your after ‘time’ make sure you have done thorough warm up – and off you go!!
7. Learn to Breathe on Both Sides
It is best to breathe to the opposite side when someone is next to you. If not, you might get hit in the face, and/or lose your goggles. It is much worse than a hit in the back of the head.
8. Draft When You Can
Drafting is a part of open water swimming. It can help you sometimes and hurt you others. You may be able to hang on to a faster group of swimmers, but you may also get stuck behind some and not know how slow you are going.
9. Eat and Hydrate Well
Take care of your body. It is easy to get dehydrated out in the open water. Drink plenty of fluids, but don’t get bloated.
10. Enjoy it!
No doubt you signed up for the event because you wanted a challenge, but be sure to enjoy the experience too!
The Great North Swim is Europe’s biggest open water swimming event, hosted at Low Wood Bay on the shores of Windermere with around 10,000 participants each year.