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Open Water Swimming For Beginners

There Is A Freedom And A Challenge To Open Water Swimming


Boy swimming close up
garysludden/Photodisc/Getty Images
Updated May 13, 2014
Open water swimming is a never ending adventure. Some of my favorite memories are from open water swimming: leaving from Catalina Island for the California mainland at 1AM on a windless moonlight night, watching the phosphorescence glow as my arm pulled through the water and fish dart below; open water swimming in tandem with my husband, Dave, silhouetted against the beautiful blue Caribbean water off the coast of St. Lucia. There is a freedom and challenge to open water swimming which just can't be experienced in the pool. Besides that, open water swimming is FUN!!

Other memories include the sense of fear before beginning a 42 kilometer swim in Newport Vermont, which heads north up Lake Memphremagog toward Canada and a foggy memory (due to mild hypothermia) of finishing in Calais, France after crossing the English Channel. There was also the exhilaration of conquering tough cold conditions or large waves and chop, swimming and finishing races despite mother natures' indifference to my plight.

I learned to swim in a lake where my family lived in northern Wisconsin. My siblings and I trained summer workouts in open water since the nearest pool was a thirty minute drive and our back yard was more convenient. Due to this immersion, it did not seem difficult to me when I competed in my first open water swimming race in Seal Beach, California, in my late twenties.

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