Fear is a human emotion and it varies within individuals. Open water swimming is a sport that every swimmer might want to experience. However, the frights related to the sport are often overwhelming and only a few get to the top and master the sport.
Listed below are few of the common open water swimming frights and the tips to overcome them:
1. “Will I be a shark’s meal?”
Sounds Weird! This is the one of the commonest questions that arises when you plan for an open water swim. This is a discouraging thought and it lets you down. But for those swimmers who invite opportunities to give it a try, here are a few helpful tips:
- Find a swimming partner - a good friend of yours who swims well is preferred. Don’t go alone if you are a beginner.
- Start in a lake or a pond which you are familiar with.
- Swim close to the edges.
- Choose a well-known place to swim.
2. Get Rid of the Ice Cold Shocks:
A swimming pool listens to you, open water doesn't. We need to adapt to the conditions. To maintain a comfortable temperature in the open water, like in the pools, is merely impossible. So prepare your body in advance to avoid sudden icy shocks.
- Blow bubbles before getting into action, this prevents contraction of your lungs and avoids breathing problems.
- Avoid hot water baths for couple of days before you explore open water.
- Practice swimming in cold water before you race.
- Choose a wetsuit that covers maximum portion of your body; this keeps your body warm to an extent.
- Using a swim cap and ear plugs avoids the escape of heat from your body.
3. Panicked! “Why are they swimming so close to me?”
In open water swim, especially when it is a mass swim race, you will have tons of swimmers around you and they are not separated by lanes as in pools. Prepare yourself to overcome the discomfort of proximity.
- Practice with one or two of your friends in the same lane of the pool, such practices help to manage your distance from the competitor.
- Plot plans to switch to breaststroke with your head up and swimming on your back if your space is crowded.
- If you feel suffocated, roll on your back and have relaxed breath that lowers your heart rate and swim when you feel comfortable.
- Stay focused throughout.
4. “Can I face the waves?”
In spite of vigorous practice, this question might daunt you to face the ocean waves. Pools don’t have waves and swimming is unperturbed, but the open water waves make you unbalanced.
- To overcome this, you need to punch a bit harder. Doing so increases your stability and makes you comfortable.
- Let go of negative thoughts and stay focused on the challenge.
5. “What if I miss my direction in the sea?”
If you anticipate high tides or calamities like storms or heavy rains, it is inadvisable to swim. However, if missing the direction in the sea remains a concern, carrying a compass could prove helpful.