WANT TO PREPARE FOR OPEN WATER SWIMMING BUT ARE LIMITED TO POOL TRAINING? SWIM COACH KAY LYNNE FIRSCHING LISTS 6 THINGS WE CAN TRAIN IN THE POOL TO HELP IMPROVE OUR OPEN WATER SWIM SKILLS.

Practice Sighting Drills: Learning to swim in a straight line without the benefit of a black line can be challenging.  Pick your head up every 8-10 strokes and sight on something.  If you can, find out the color of the buoy in your race and find something to hang at your pool that is a similar color to practice finding it.  When that gets easier, try closing your eyes while your face is in the water only using your sighting skills to know where you are visually.  Be careful to not run into the wall!

No more pushing off the wall on turns. In open water there are no walls to push off of.  Either do flip turns and do not push off strongly or do open turns without pausing and pushing at the wall.

Practice wearing your wet suit. If you are going to wear a wet suit during your open water swim, practice wearing it in  the pool. Make sure that pool chemicals will not cause your

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suit to deteriorate.  Swimming in a wet suit is different, more buoyant , yet it can feel constrictive.

Practice bilateral breathing. This will help you swim in a straight line by balancing your stroke and enable you to be comfortable breathing on each side. It will give you the ability to be flexible and adapt to the conditions of your swim in open water.

Practice starting fast. That is what will happen in your race. Start fast but quickly settle into a steady pace.

Become as efficient as possible.  Practice lowering your stroke count.  If need be, find a coach who knows stroke technique to help you become efficient.

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Image: Angela Dunn
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