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However, swimming in open water, although still swimming, is very different from swimming in a swimming pool.
To feel at home in this new environment, to get used to these new reference points and new sensationsand to protect yourself from external factors, you need to have the right equipment!
Are you fed up of counting pool tiles? Are you fearless and the idea of throwing yourself into deep, cool water without any real reference points does not scare you?
Then it's time to get yourself kitted out accordingly!
1. Open Water Swimsuit/Wet-Suit
In purely practical terms, open water swimming does not really require any equipment other than that used in a swimming pool. However, and because the conditions are not the same, it is often useful to surround yourself with the proper equipment to be both comfortable and effective during your open water sessions.
This applies particularly when deciding whether to swim in a swimsuit or in a neoprene open water wetsuit. Let's weigh up the pros and con
Easy to get on and off
Less likely to cause irritation
Excellent freedom of movement
Significantly increases buoyancy
Protects from sun and salt water
Great freedom of movement
We can clearly see that the swimsuit has some purely practical advantages but that the neoprene wetsuit will let you adapt more easily to natural waters to enhance the benefits for your session.
2. Swimming Goggles
Swimming goggles are ESSENTIAL for swimmers, whether in chlorinated or salt water! They keep your eyes dry for maximum comfort and above all to protect them from the external factors that accompany the aquatic environment in the sea or pool.
Also, in sunny weather, wearing swimming goggles with mirrored lenses can protect you from the sun and the reflection of light on the water.
And believe me, to be able to keep track of your position in these giant wave pools, it is better to be able to see clearly!
3. Swimming Cap
“Cap in the swimming pool, cap in the sea. We don't have to constantly wear a swimming cap on our heads surely”
Ah there you are! The great critic of swimming caps, I thought I recognised you!
Rest assured, it is not mandatory. Just be aware that a swimming cap can be beneficial for your comfort when swimming but also and especially for your safety!
Beyond keeping your head warm and out of the water thanks to its buoyancy, wearing a brightly coloured swimming cap will prevent other people in the water (boats, surfers, etc.) from colliding with you and help those on the shore to spot you from far away in case of a problem.
And also. salt water is aggressive, think of your poor hair at least.
4. Training Material
For your open water swimming sessions, the training equipment essentially remains the same as for swimming in a pool. Obviously, it will not be possible to use it during a competition.
You can use pretty much anything and everything to break the monotony of the session and for a more in-depth workout of various specific muscle groups.
Yet some training aids are more suitable than others for open water swimming. Fins, preferably long ones, hand paddles and a centre snorkel are all equipment that can help you improve your technique and perform better.
On the other hand, pull buoys, kickboards and other floating objects will not really be relevant and will get in your way more than anything else in open water.
5. Useful Accessories
Before throwing yourself into natural waters, think about your body. If you want to swim in a traditional swimsuit, don't forget to apply sun protection to avoid burning, especially if you are swimming in the sea, even if the sky is cloudy!
Want to wear a wetsuit? Milking grease or Vaseline can be a good way to get it on more easily but also to protect your skin from the rubbing caused by the swimming suit. Finally, and to be the best of the best, swimming with a float attached behind you will make you all the more visible and keep you safe in case of a problem.
A swimsuit or wetsuit, a few accessories, a cap and some swimming goggles... You don't need much to swim happy!