Open Water Swimming Gear: Essential Items To Keep You Safe
It's no secret that open-water swimming has become increasingly popular in recent years. Open water influencers have shown how liberating and enjoyable swimming outdoors can be.
However, there is no doubt that this rush of fresh open water swimmers comes with a lot of inexperience and can be fraught with danger at times. Open water swimming is inherently more dangerous than pool swimming due to the lack of lifeguards, deeper water, and changing weather conditions. That means you need the right open-water swimming gear that will not only help you swim well but also keep you safe.
In this article, we'll introduce you to basic open-water swimming gear that will keep you safe in the water and even help you improve your stroke.
If you're already an average indoor swimmer, chances are you own a decent pair of goggles. However, this does not mean that they are suitable for swimming in open water.
Although there is no chlorine in open water, goggles are still essential for your safety as they improve your visibility in unpredictable conditions. In a triathlon, you're surrounded by swimmers with no obvious straight line to follow. You need to have good peripheral vision, and a decent pair of open-water goggles will provide that.
Before buying this open-water swimming gear, consider the conditions you'll be swimming in. If you're lucky enough to swim somewhere with a lot of sun exposure, consider a pair of swimming goggles with UV protection. Many outdoor swimming goggles have mirrored lenses. These are perfect for sunny conditions. But if you're swimming in cloudy weather and murky water, these types of goggles can actually be a hindrance.
Open Water Swimming Wetsuit
If you've seen any pre-triathlon photos, you've probably noticed that all the competitors are wearing wetsuits. These wetsuits help keep triathletes warm and safe in colder water. Wetsuits also help swimmers get through the water faster and prevent minor abrasions.
The neoprene construction of the Open Water Swimming Wetsuit helps increase your buoyancy allowing you to maintain a better body position in the water. This open-water swimming gear will improve your hydrodynamics to help you swim faster.
This is the piece of open-water swimming gear worn by most outdoor swimmers. Wearing a swimming cap has some basic functions that will take good care of you while you swim outdoors. First, it will protect your hair from whatever is in the water - salt is the worst enemy of luscious hair.
Second, it will improve your fluid dynamics by reducing drag. This is obviously more beneficial for people with longer hair.
Last but not least, a swim cap will keep your head from getting colder in cooler water temperatures (especially if you're a freestyle swimmer).
A neoprene swim cap can provide more insulation for your dome than a latex swim cap. They can be harder to find, though, and can be more expensive. Many outdoor swimmers wear only one silicone swim cap year-round, and some wear silicone swim caps for longer-distance swims.
No matter which hat you choose, test the fit on a few swims. You don't want to experience a swimmer's headache mid-swim.
Another must-have piece of swimming gear for open water swimming is a bright tow float in case you get into trouble. Plus, if you're swimming in an area where you suspect your gear might be stolen, you can use a dry bag to attach your items to the trailer.
When swimming in cold water or conditions, you may want to consider wearing a thicker neoprene wetsuit along with neoprene socks and swimming gloves.
Finally, consider wearing your watch when swimming in open water. It's important to swim within your limits, if you don't have a sense of time, you may swim too long or become colder than expected.
Do Not Enter the Water Without the Correct Open Water Swimming Gear
Open-water swimmers are more susceptible to hazards than pool swimmers. As dramatic as it sounds, sometimes having the right equipment can be a matter of life and death. Be safe when swimming in open water and never swim alone.
Before diving into the water, make sure you have the proper equipment. First, buy open-water goggles, a wetsuit, and a swimming cap. Additionally, you may need to use tow buoys, dry bags, and watches to keep yourself safe.
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