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Open Water Swimming


About Open Water Swimming

Sunlight streaming through the surface, the hints of underwater life, and the cool, fresh water below. There's just something so intoxicating about swimming through an expansive body of open water. Thanks to the thrill of a new environment, the rush of cold water against the skin, and the victory of crossing an aqueous barrier, open water swimming is one of the most unique and adventurous ways to get a workout in. Whether it be a river, lake, ocean, canal, or reservoir, swimming in open water offers its own unique set of trials, tribulations, and rewards.

While many people immediately associate competitive swimming with an indoor lap pool, competitive open water swimming has its roots in ancient history. The Japanese were the first to have documented open water races over 2000 years ago. The Romans also enjoyed long distance swimming races along the Tiber River. Throughout history, communities that lived and thrived on the water were also making use of it for recreational and competitive games. And with the official inclusion of marathon open water swimming in the 2008 Summer Olympics, open water swimming has never been more popular.

Competitive Open Water Swimming

When people think about competitive open water swimming, they generally envision triathlons. While swimming marathons are increasingly popular, triathlon events are by far the most widely attended events. This is because athletes of all kinds, not just swimmers, get a chance to give it their all in the water. With the increasing interest in 'wild swimming', open water marathons and record breaking long distance swims are becoming more and more popular each year.

Recreational Open Water Swimming

Open water swimming isn't all about fighting your way through a crowd of swimmers or being kicked in the face to make good time. In fact, open water swimming can be as serene as you want it to be. Many indoor swimmers find that mixing up their lap routine with an open water swim is great to break training monotony. After all, most open water swims offer much more scenery and wildlife than any pool can offer. Open water swimming is a great way to endurance train for any kind of swimming event or sport. Plus, you don't have to be an Olympic-level swimmer to do an open water swim. You just have to have a decent background in swimming, the right safety equipment, and a lot of determination.

Open Water Swimming Equipment

Never Miss a Thing Underwater

Open water swimming equipment is similar to traditional indoor swimming equipment. Yet, open water gear is designed to assist the swimmer in a few specific ways. While traditional goggles are able to sacrifice peripheral vision for streamline shape, open water goggles, masks, and mask-hybrids must be able to give swimmers a wide view of their surrounding environment.

But, that doesn't necessarily mean that these types of eyewear are heavy or bulky on the face. Brands Aqua Sphere®, Barracuda®; and Speedo® have listened to open water swimmers demands and have designed triathlon goggles and swim masks that offer both a low-lying profile and a panoramic view.

Fins to Help Push Your Endurance Swim

Quality fins are also a must for any open water swimmer. Depending on your goals, training fins can provide plenty of resistance without affecting kicking tempo, while longer fins will allow for a slower kick, but more strength building. AquaGear® stocks a wide variety of swim fins, including Finis® and Cressi® brands, which manufactures some of the most respected open water and snorkel fins around.

Open Water Safety

One of the biggest differences between swimming in an indoor pool and swimming in an open body of water is safety. While open water swims are great for all kinds of swimmers, participants must be fully aware of their surroundings at all times.