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A Guide to Open Water Swimming - alderford

A Guide to Open Water Swimming


Open water swimming is swimming outside in open bodies of water including lakes, rivers, reservoirs, oceans and bays.

It is completely different to swimming in a pool. There is no heating, no lanes, less physical boundaries and more importantly, the outdoor environment can be unpredictable and very different.

Someone swimming in Alderford Lake
As well as the feeling itself of swimming in open water, the health benefits both physically and mentally are endless. It aids in weight loss, depression, anxiety and improves your mood.

Unlike the local swimming pool, going out into an open body of water gives a real sense of adventure and freedom, a unique experience. There is also no greater feeling than the sense achievement seeing what you have accomplished.

The open water swimming community is among the most supportive and passionate communities around with countless groups not only in your local area but globally as well. This can make the experience even more fulfilling.

Here are some tips for open water swimming.

1. Starting now.

A dip at least once a week means you and your body get acclimatised to the water, temperature and swimming in an open body of water.

2. Bring the right equipment.

When going swimming its always important to be prepared. Especially for during and after your swim. Here are a list of things you might need.

For your swim you may need:

  • swimming costume or wetsuit- this depends on how comfortable you are in the water and with the temperature but for new beginners a wetsuit is recommended
  • swimming cap- a brightly coloured one is good to see each other in the water
  • tow float/dry bag
  • swimming socks or gloves
  • goggles
Someone swimming in Alderford Lake

For after your swim you may need:

  • Warm insulating clothing- baggy clothes like tracksuits which are a good example. Remember comfort and warmth always come before style.
  • Towels
  • Wooley hats and gloves especially when its cold
  • Small snacks and a warm drink especially if there are no facilities close by

3. Don’t just jump straight in.

No matter how often you may go open water swimming, you will always feel the initial shock of the cold, with cold water shock being extremely dangerous.

4. Be Sensible.

Spend sometime acclimatising yourself to the water and stick close to the shore for your first couple of swims. Swimming with a friend is also a good idea especially in the colder water.

Open Water Swimming at Alderford Lake

5. Focus on your breathing

Breathing technique is one of the most important things to remember. As soon as you are in the water, your mind and body will want to fight against it. You have to forget everything and just focus on each breath.

Alderford Lake is a very popular spot with wild swimmers and continues to embrace and adapt to ensure the best possible experience.

Alder tree island at Alderford Lake at Dusk

We always recommend bringing a friend or family member along with you when you are wild swimming.

You can read more about swimming at Alderford and coaching options, here.

Why not book a swim pass at Alderford Lake!

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