Health and Fitness

Open water swimming

Swimming in open water. Never go alone! But the reason you’re reading this article is that you probably want to go open water swimming alone anyway.

No worries. More people do that. So it’s not crazy that you want this and sometimes it is so practical. You don’t have to make an appointment, you can go whenever you want and not everyone has a swimming buddy with lifeguard training. Opinions are divided on this. Where some find it an absolute no-go, there are also plenty of people who regularly go alone.

In times when swimming pools are closed for a while. The question comes regularly. Shall I go for a swim in open water? It seems so tempting for now. However, take your measurements. Just put your head underwater and let things go. Enjoy the open water now that the pools are closed.

I really can’t wait to go swimming. Even the dirtiest locks sometimes suddenly seem attractive. Just in the water. Go for a swim. Just feel that physical fatigue that is so nice after swimming.

But it is not so easy to start swimming in open water during this colder period. In this blog, I want to take you through the points of attention that come with open water swimming at low temperatures with lifeguard training.

It is wiser not to go alone. And I doubted for a long time whether I should write this article. Because I don’t really want to promote open water swimming only with lifeguard training. Yet many people swim alone and then you better be well prepared. So here’s a list of 8 practical tips.

Do you only swim in open water? 8 tips

  1. Know your swimming spot

Are you going alone? In any case, do not go to a new or unknown place. Preferably go to a spot that is very shallow. The iron man in Vought, for example, is a good example of this. You can stand there almost anywhere. Nice and safe. Or swim close to the edge, it is often shallower there.

  1. Go for calm water and good and calm weather conditions

In winter or when the water is cold, DO NOT do it. The chance of cramping, hypothermia or other risks is simply too great. So if you go alone, only do it when the water temperature is right and the weather is calm (warm).

  1. Always go with a swimming buoy (safe swimmer)

So that you can hang up somewhere in the event of a cramp and you are visible. Going without a buoy is really a no-go. I wrote an extensive blog about this before:  Swimming buoys open water; boo or exciting? If you go alone, it is also a tip to choose a swimming buoy with lifeguard training where you can take something with you (so with a storage compartment). This way you can take your phone (and/or your keys) with you.

  1. Go at a busy time

For example with good weather. So that there are enough people who can intervene in case of panic or when you call. There are plenty of indoor lakes in the Netherlands where there is also plenty of recreation.

  1. Only go if you have enough swimming experience

An advanced swimmer might as well get cramps or face unforeseen circumstances. But a beginner still has some more challenges. Swimming technique, being able to make meters and being relaxed with breathing, and keeping a course is really the basis for being able to swim safely. Are you still a little restless? Are you still struggling too much with your breathing, are you not yet able to make many meters in a row or are you not yet able to keep a course? Then don’t go alone.

  1. No swimming buddy? Then take someone from the side

The other just has to be a swimmer. People can also keep an eye on you from the side. So you don’t have a swimming buddy? Maybe you can arrange someone else who can keep an eye on a boat or sup (also super fun) from the side.

  1. Let someone know you’re going

Plus how long do you plan to go swimming? For example, the message just before you go in and when you’re out.

But again. You prefer to follow rule 1…. don’t go alone. Either way, be sensible or don’t take unnecessary risks.

  1. Do not overestimate your swimming level

Have you not swum in a long time? Then first go to the pool to ‘freshen up. Perhaps even take a swim training again, so that your level is at the right level of lifeguard training. It appears that the number of drownings is most common in the over 50s. This is often the result of overestimating one’s own swimming level. Especially if you are going to swim in open water, it is important to have a realistic picture of your own swimming level. It’s better to stay in the shallow end anyway and again, don’t forget that swim buoy.

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