training & coaching

Tips for Open Water Swimming: Coach Catherine Vogt Shares Insight

We’re reaching out to different coaches to find out their tips for open water success. To lead off it’s a pleasure to share Coach Catherine Vogt‘s insight. Coach Vogt was the head coach for the USA Swimming open water team at this summer’s world championship in Barcelona and she’s an assistant at USC.  She’s a guiding force behind the success of Olympic open water swimming medalist Haley Anderson and Ous Mellouli. Here’s some of her tips and tricks that help her guide her open water swimmers to podium finishes.

10 years SwimTrek

Imagine a holiday where you come home with not only a tan, but also an enormous sense of achievement.

Swimming between islands for 3-6 kilometers (1.8-3.7 miles) every day for a week might not sound like much of a holiday, but it's a concept that lures hordes of keen swimmers to do just that on their time away from the office.

Australian-born 36-year-old Simon Murie turned his love of swimming in open waters into a business in 2003.

His company, SwimTrek, now takes people on swimming adventure holidays in 10 different destinations.
The company's motto is: "Ferries are for wimps, let's swim!"

How To Get In To Open Water Swimming

How To Get In To Open Water Swimming. by Lily McCann

Like all sports, open water swimming can be a daunting prospect if you’ve never tried it, and finding a way to get involved in the sport can be difficult unless you know someone willing to show you the ropes. To help you get started we’ve put together a guide which should help you on your way…

Where to start

Open water swimming: how to stay safe

Taking the plunge in open water can be dangerous but there are ways to minimise the risks, Kate Rew, the founder of the Outdoor Swimming Society, tells Adrian Bridge.

 Rew was speaking as news emerged that at least 17 Britons had lost their lives as a result of swimming in quarries and other open water spots during the current heatwave.

And it followed a spate of warnings about the dangers of open water swimming issued by police and the Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS).

Rew urged all those wishing to take the plunge in outdoor swim spots to follow clear safety guidelines and make sure they were informed about the places they wanted to swim in.

But she said that with water temperatures much warmer than usual, this was a wonderful time to explore Britain’s many lakes, rivers and the sea.

”Like many sports such as hiking and snowboarding, open water swimming carries risks, but there are many ways in which these can be minimised,” Rew said.

Dangerous When Wet: Learning to Survive Open Water Swimming

Every summer, 50 elite athletes endure a torture test of cold and wet at a tiny island off the south coast of Ireland, where they train to swim the English Channel. The only rules: No wetsuits. Or whining. Matt Bondurant goes deep.

At first, the jellyfish were easy to negotiate. I swam through them, maneuvering like the Millennium Falcon in an underwater asteroid belt. Other swimmers occasionally came up for air, talking and laughing, and at one point I saw our coach, Ned Denison, holding a jelly in the palm of his immense hand, pretending to eat it. Then we hit the wall, and there was nowhere to go but through it. That’s when people started screaming.   

It was day two of Cork Distance Week, Denison’s grueling training camp for open-water marathon swimmers. Every year, 50 masochistic souls show up to dunk themselves in County Cork’s numerous lakes, reservoirs, and rivers, as well as the cold North Atlantic. June in southern Ireland means cloudy skies and icy oceanic winds, with water and air temperatures hovering around 60 degrees. This morning’s itinerary was supposed to be relatively easy: a couple of miles down the coast, followed by a short swim up an estuary that feeds into Lough Hyne, a placid tidal lake. After that we’d warm up with hot tea and biscuits.

Hector R. Ballesteros at the start of Desafio Cullera

Nadandolibre started with the first official practice for the month of June. Free Swimming team, along with your swimmer Hector R. Ballesteros

Swim and Travel Croatian Islands and improve your openwater swimming technique

Strel Swimming Adventures is an international swimming tour operator running 5 and 7 day trips in Croatia's Adriatic sea in the summer.
They take you swimming and exploring uninhabited islands of Kornati and Krka National Parks and the surrounding beautiful areas. They swim in small groups of up to 14 people, so it should be a lot of fun being around other swimmers.

Part of their trips also includes video stroke analysis which helps your improve your swimming skills in open water. Based on the videos on their website, they must do a great job.

See one video below.

Tips from Trent: Navigating in Open Water

Navigational skills are a key component to open water swimming. Here’s some great tips from Trent Grimsey on navigation. If you want to get some great open water swimming training, Trent is one of the go to guys – check out how you can train with Trent.

Navigating in Open Water

I think one of the hardest things to do in Open Water swimming is to navigate. There is nothing worse than swimming in big swell and not knowing if you’re swimming in the right direction. It happens to the best of us from time to time. That is why I’ve created this list to try and make it easier for you:

Anticipating And Dealing With The Cold

................While the Californians exercise with expensive weight-training equipment, the men of the Serps do push-ups and sit-ups on the hard pavement of Hyde Park. While the Californians deal with afterdrop in saunas after workouts, the Serps cold showers in a post-swim rinse from an outdoor spigot outside a spartan dressing room.

While shivering is the post-swim norm in California when the water drops down to 12-14ºC, the Serps do not even shiver after swimming in 34ºF (1ºC) water for up to 15 minutes. Their skin barely turns pink, although their epidermis is as cold as ice.

It as if the Californians and Serps are two different species of aquatic mammals. How did this split in the human DNA occur? Why does the physiological response to cold water differ so greatly between the American Left Coasters and the hardened Londoners? When the water temperature is 34ºF (1ºC), Toes In The Water is exactly what the Californians do while the Serps simply get on with it and do not even hesitate or hyperventilate as they walk into water that borders on turning solid............

acclimate - not accumulate in the open water

By Steven Munatones of Open Water Source

HUNTINGTON BEACH, California, February 20. WE occasionally hear of open water swimmers who want to gain weight for their upcoming marathon swim or channel swim. They talk about eating ice cream, peanut butter and donuts before going to bed or throughout the day. They aim to put on enough bioprene in order to withstand the cold water expected in swims like the English Channel.

In contrast to the strategy of gaining bioprene, we encourage athletes to acclimate - not accumulate.

That is, spend your time acclimating to the expected conditions of your upcoming swim rather than focusing on accumulating calories and kilograms on your body. It will be a much healthier trade-off, especially in the long-term and after your swim is over when losing the additional weight will be harder than imagined.