Open water swimming can be a challenge for newbies and veterans alike! Summer is right around the corner so I figured this blog would be helpful in providing some insight for those swimming in open water races!
1. You are at the mercy of the elements- you could have a beautiful day ahead but if you're swimming in the ocean there are still challenges ahead. Things like wind and the current are each key pieces to keep in mind. Using techniques like spotting help combat these effects as well as make sure you're on the correct track to finish.
2. As someone who is a strong swimmer, I would recommend you practice in open water. The first time I practiced In open water it was a challenge to cut through the water, but with practice I was able to find the best ways to manage the water as well as get used to a new environment. If there is an upcoming triathlon, many race directors try to provide way for their competitors to get into open water in a safe environment. Look online to try to find a camp or clinic before your race!
3. There are a lot of people swimming during the race. If you ever get too overwhelmed, flip over on your back and float. Give yourself as much time to breathe and reset as needed. Don't let the large amount of people overwhelm you! You’ve put the work in, so now it's time to see the results pay off!
Here are a few places you can practice open water swimming in the Philadelphia area:
It seems that the Philadelphia Triathlon hosts a few clinics in the Schuylkill River before the race!!! Check the website for more updates on the latest dates and times:
Mid Atlantic Multisports holds several dates in the Philadelphia suburbs. Check on their site for specific dates and times, but it looks like they’re available both Wednesdays and Saturdays at Marsh Creek State Park. Visit their website for more information: www.midatlanticmultisport.com
Head to the shore at some point this summer; Sea Isle City beach patrol lets you jump in the water with them. It's free and they have a lifeguard swimming with you each time so that you feel safe. I’m sure many other beach patrol houses hold similar ideas so try to look it up on the beach patrol websites to get proper times and details.