How Is Open Water Swimming Different For Different People?

How Is Open Water Swimming Different For Different People?

It is sometimes said that open water swimming is like an onion. There are layers and layers of information, knowledge and experience that are required to fully understand this sport.

There are solo swims, relays, short swims, channel swims, cold water swims, warm water swims, glassy flat lake swims, rough turbulent ocean swims, eco-swims, charity swims, swims with marine life (from orcas to Portuguese man-o-war), night swims, pro swims, triathlon swim legs, Polar Bear swims, etc. These can be done in rivers, lakes, bays, estuaries, oceans, seas, channels, canals, rowing basins, lidos, fjords, etc.

Each is a niche that has its own following, its own rules, traditions and procedures.

So each individuals’ perceptions of what is good or bad, easy or hard, enjoyable or unpleasant is often different, especially as it relates to age, experience and expectations. The water temperature, water conditions, water clarity, water depth and natural denizens all play a factor in the perceptions and reactions of the swimmer.

It is often say that open water swimming is 80% mental and this is one of the reasons why: our impressions of the dynamically changing open water environment are often unique to the individual.


Photo courtesy of the Alcapulco 5K International Swim.

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