Open Water swimming is a common fear, even among some of the toughest triathlon athletes.
While the idea of swimming in the ocean can be intimidating and sometimes, borderline impossible for some swimmers, this specific fear of water can be overcome.
With a few simple steps, focus, determination and repetition, open water swimming fears will become a thing of the past. And let’s be honest, what successful athlete doesn’t know how to muster determination and perseverance?
In this article, we will go over 7 simple steps on how to get you over your fear and into the open waters, filled with confidence and freedom.
Steps on Becoming More Confident with Open Water Swimming
While there are many different fears in the world, fear of swimming in the ocean is definitely a fear that consumes and cripples a lot of people.
The sad part is, open water swimming is a beautiful thing. Being part of the ocean, taking in the sounds and smells of the sea can be incredibly rewarding and uplifting, not to mention empowering, especially once you’ve overcome your fear of it.
Also, many triathlons require participants to swim in open water of some form, making the process of battling this fear even more important for some athletes.
Whether you’re a triathlete or if you simply want to soak up the joys of swimming in the ocean with ease, these steps will help you achieve your dreams.
Acknowledge Your Fears of Open Water Swimming
By recognizing your fear and admitting to it, then telling yourself that you’re taking the steps towards overcoming this weakness, you’ll be able to set your mind to become more honest and prepared for your newest challenge.
Ignoring your fears of the open water, may inhibit you from finishing or could result in hindering your safety while in the water.
Like any new challenge or weakness, the best way to start is honestly and bravely.
Meditate on the Cause of Your Anxiety
What part of the water intimidates you specifically? What makes your heart race or gives you a queasy feeling in your belly? By taking note of exactly what it is that you’re afraid of, you’ll be that much closer to defeating it.
Although this step may be scary for some people, it’s extremely vital. You can’t know how to conquer your enemy if you don’t know who your enemy is to begin with.
Start your training by slowly gaining confidence. Depending on your anxiety level, you may want to start extremely small. Do deep ends in swimming pools scare you? If so, start by taking laps in the pool, making your way slowly to the deep end.
After this, try floating on your stomach or back in the deep end while imagining you’re in the ocean. This may be a bit overwhelming, but all you have to do if things become too much, is open your eyes and realize your surroundings.
Next, practice being in a pool or swimming with others so that you can get used to being bumped into or touched while in deeper waters.
Track Down a Coach
If you’re planning on signing up for a triathlon, or if you just want to practice your open water swimming with a professional, find a swimming or triathlon coach.
Set up private lessons with them at the pool and eventually, if possible, in open water.
A good swimming coach will help you better your techniques which will naturally give you more confidence. They will also help motivate you and keep you coming back to the water, no matter what.
Register for an Event or Join an Upcoming Swim Team Activity
After the pressure of a coach, a deadline for an event is one of the most motivating things there are.
Start off small, find a short distance swim race or activity nearby and pick a proper date: nothing too soon and nothing too far in advance.
Want more tips on how to train for a triathlon? Check out this article.
Face Your Fears and Practice Open Water Swimming
Practice in a lake, river or beach that’s available for public swimming, and practice once or twice a week. This is mandatory.
While you’re swimming, start meditating on other things other than your fear. Notice the wind, the waves, the exit and entry locations. Notice how calm the water is and how it feels on your skin.
Every week, get a bit deeper until you can safely and comfortably make it to a buoy or destined goal.
You’re Ready for Open Water Swimming!
Once you’ve completed these steps, you’re officially ready to start open water swimming! Whether your goal is a swimming activity or a triathlon, you’ll be able to take it on with confidence and a set plan.
Remember, if you still don’t feel comfortable after trying the last step a few times, take it slowly. There’s no rush! Just remember, you will overcome your fear, that’s not the issue, it’s just a matter of when.