Cassie Patten’s Open Water Great North Swim Tips

In the lead up to the Great North Swim, we welcome Cassie Patten back to Low Wood Bay. Ahead of the Great North Swim, Cassie met novice and experienced open water swimmers and provided advice with a question and answer session. 


Open Water Swimming in the Lake District

This bank holiday weekend I packed my swimsuit, wetsuit and goggles and headed to the beautiful Lake District for a short open water break. The Lake District is hands down my favourite destination to swim outdoors. This is due to the winning combination of Windermere’s crystal clear water, the majestic backdrop of the towering fells on the horizon topped off with the knowledge that a warm room in the stunning Low Wood Bay awaits immediately when I emerge from the water.

My love affair with the Lake District started way back in 2008. Fresh from the waters in Beijing where I had picked up a bronze medal in the 10 km marathon swim, I participated in my first Great Swim. From then on I was hooked!

Cassie with her Bronze Medal in Beijing
Cassie with her Bronze Medal in Beijing

Preparing for an Open Water Swim Event

1. Entering the water

I know some reading this will be slightly apprehensive and thinking about taking a first dip into the water’s of outdoor swimming. My tip for you would be, first and foremost – relax and take a deep breath! Even with the best wetsuit, the first time you submerge yourself, it will be cold! As soon as you get in to the water my advice is to quickly pull the neck of your wetsuit out, letting some of the cold water in. By doing this you are allowing the wetsuit to do its job, the water trapped next to your skin will warm up and you’ll forget how cold the water once was.


2. Practice in a pool

My second tip would be to practice some of your open water skills in a swimming pool, the indoor pool at Low Wood Club is perfect for this. During a 1 mile swim, just consider how many times you will have to look up (also known as ‘sighting’) and it is very important to get used to this action before you take to the open water.

Low Wood Club Swimming Pool at Low Wood Bay
Low Wood Club Swimming Pool at Low Wood Bay

3. Always train with friends

My last top tip for now is never to go swimming alone, particularly if you are new to the sport. Safety should be your number one priority whenever you swim outside. A quick Facebook search will assist you in finding local outdoor swimming groups in your area. Personally I love the social side of outdoor swimming because you meet other like-minded people who share your passion. If you do have to take the plunge alone, ensure you tell someone your estimated time of arrival back to shore. And remember to pack lots of warm clothes for when you get out.

Training in Windermere. Photo be: MOViEIT
Training in Windermere. Photo by: MOViEIT

More Advice ahead of the Great North Swim

Keep an eye out for the next in my series of blogs ahead of the Great North Swim when I will meet some lovely open water swimmers on my trip up to the Lake District.

Great North Swim Windermere

The Great North Swim, Windermere is the UK’s biggest open water swimming event. This year over 10,000 people are expected to take to the water in a three day festival from of swimming at Low Wood Bay.


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