Great North Swim Tips with Cassie Patten: From Pool to Outdoor Swimming

In the first of our video blogs in the lead up to the Great North Swim, Cassie Patten, open water Olympic Bronze and two times World Silver Medalist meet 12 year old Taylor Aplin and gives her some tips on making the transition from pool swimming to the outdoors in the open water of Windermere.

Open Water Swimming at Low Wood Bay

After her time with Cassie, we asked Taylor about her experience of competitive swimming at a young age and about the training session at Low Wood Bay

How did you first get into competitive swimming?

Taylor with her swimming medals
Taylor with her swimming medals

When I was 6 years old my swimming teacher suggested I went for a trial at Kendal amateur swimming club. I went along for the trial, and was accepted and have been swimming and training with them since then.

When I was nine I started competing in both individual and team events and that year I came out as the best 9 year old at the Cumbria County gala. Competing about 1 or 2 weekends a month, I have represented Cumbria for three years now. My best stroke is Butterfly.

What did you hope to learn on the day?

I wanted to find out about the differences between pool swimming and outdoor swimming. I also wanted to know what it was like to swim in the Olympics and win a medal!

Tell us a bit about your time with Cassie …

I really enjoyed the one to one training session in the pool, Cassie made it really clear what I needed to do, and I found her really easy to talk to.

She taught me how to change my indoor front crawl technique to make it suited to outdoor swimming. I also learned about the importance of sighting, and how to breathe properly as well as how to get a good start.

I liked wearing the wet-suit and Cassie showed me how to get warmed up as quickly as possible. Although the water was freezing, I really enjoyed swimming in the lake and it something I definitely want to do again.

Getting used to swimming in Open Water
Getting used to swimming in Open Water

Was there anything particularly challenging or scary?

I was nervous at first about getting into the lake as it was very cold, and worried because it was choppy. But I really wanted to push myself and I would have been disappointed if I hadn’t really gone for it. Deep water starting was something I hadn’t thought of before and was tiring at first.

So, a good day?

Cassie’s brilliant encouragement to get out and ‘have a go’ really built my confidence and what I learnt about sighting and the different breathing technique was really helpful. The gift of one of her Olympic swimming hats was an amazing bonus!

More Advice ahead of the Great North Swim

Keep an eye out for the next in a series of videos ahead of the Great North Swim when for more open water swimming tips and advice to help you be prepared for the great swim.

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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