Swimming is considered one of the most complete forms of exercise in the world. It tones and fortifies your entire body without stressing the joints, commonly found in high impact activities like running, tennis, and basketball. It can also be a very relaxing, meditative experience. After a few weeks in the pool, you notice that you are no longer the stressed out land creature that you were two weeks ago. You are starting to coordinate your body better. Your movements are less clumsy, your strokes and all around proficiency improving with every kick. You are on your way!
Fast forward and now you are standing on a sandy beach, looking out into the horizon, carefully assesing the ocean’s conditions: currents, wave intervals, backwash, riptides, etc.
It is three months since your first lap around the pool. A covered, heated pool. Your swim coach, standing next to you now, recalls the challenge, given to you nearly three months ago: to complete your first open water swim. And you accepted gladly, knowing that growth comes from pushing yourself and leaving your comfort zone behind. And so here you are. But before taking on the ocean, you are reminded of 5 “must-dos” for safe, responsible open water swimming:
1. Get to know where you are swimming. Check conditions thoroughly.
This is a no brainer. Check the signs at the beach. They are there for a reason: to guarantee your safety. Also, take at least 20 minutes to check conditions, as already mentioned above.
2. Make sure you are properly equiped with the right open water swimming gear.
3. Beware of the cold. Hypothermia is a bitch!
4. Make sure someone knows where you are and that you have means to call for help, especially in remote locations.
5. Take note of local safety advice and ALWAYS respect the landowners and other users.
You look at your coach one more time, taking a deep breath and exhaling. He smiles and ecourages you. The marker, a red bouy floating 300 yards out, is the half-way marker. 600 yards in total. You put on your swim cap and goggles and plunge into the surf. You are ready…you got this!
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