Be Prepared for All Kinds of Conditions
When it comes to open water swimming, you need to be prepared for any and all conditions.
"It depends who you are," says Munatones. "For many people, getting used to water temperatures below 65 degrees Fahrenheit is difficult."
Others might struggle with waves and ocean swells that can cause seasickness or might have trouble breathing without swallowing water. Some swimmers might find navigation difficult, while others will fear marine life.
He says that no matter your fear or challenge when it comes to swimming in open water, the best way to overcome these and get more comfortable is to just get out there.
Add Some Dry Land Workouts
Dry-land workouts also can help to condition your body and prepare it for open water swims and races. Munatones recommends core strength exercises.
"Developing core strength is essential for maintaining a good streamlined body position in the pool," says Munatones. "Doing planks and working with a Swedish (physio) ball are always helpful. Having good ankle flexibility and overall strength in your upper body are also key."
Safety is a big concern in open water swimming where there's a huge list of variables and possible conditions. Like many other sports, a buddy can be all you need to help stay safe. But for those without a swim partner, Munatones recommends to swim close to the shore, or a have a friend or family member follow up with you when you should be done with your swim.
Swimmers have fewer incidents of injuries than other athletes. Still you need to be careful to not overwork yourself or ignore a niggling injury.
"In order to remain injury-free, if you feel a tweak in your shoulders or elsewhere, stop your training and recover first before forging on with the same training program," says Munatones. "Patience is the key to longevity and success in this sport."
Find the Open Water Swimming Community Near You
There are many different ways to get involved with open water swimming. You just need to do research into local events and clubs. There are many different genres in the sport as well, including solo-marathon swimming, channel swimming, triathlon swim legs, Polar Bear swims, relays, charity swims, eco-swims, expedition swims, swim trekking and pro races. Each requires a different training methodology and mindset. So hop in the pool or search for a training group to get started with open water swimming today.