Are you the type of person who can swim confidently in a pool but breaks out in a cold sweat just thinking about swimming in open water? If you answered yes, you are not alone. Swimming in open water is a common fear shared by many people. However, fear does not have to prevent you from enjoying the beauty and excitement of open water swimming.

Here are ways on how you’ll feel confident swimming in open water

Get comfortable in the water

Before diving into the vast, open sea, it’s critical to build your confidence by swimming in a controlled environment. Begin by familiarizing with the water in a pool or lake, then concentrate on improving your swimming skills and techniques. Consider it like meeting a new friend: you want to get to know them before setting sail on any major adventures with them. You’ll feel more prepared to face the challenges of open water swimming as you gain confidence in the water.

Practice breathing techniques

Practicing breathing techniques is essential for remaining calm and relaxed while swimming, especially in open water. Breathing exercises can help you develop good habits like exhaling slowly and inhaling deeply before re-entering the water. This will aid you in remaining calm, conserving energy, and feeling more in control of your swim. Consider it similar to yoga, but with a little more splashing around! You’ll be able to breathe smoothly and confidently in any swimming environment with practice.

Start in shallow water

Begin in a shallow area where you can touch the bottom to get used to the feel of the water and the movement of the waves. This will help you feel more in control and confident as you venture further into open water. It’s like having training wheels for swimming in open water! As you gain confidence, you can gradually venture further out into deeper water and larger waves.

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Swim with a buddy

Swimming with a friend not only makes the experience more enjoyable, but it is also important for safety reasons. Having someone with you can provide moral support as well as keep you safe in an emergency.  Always swim within your limits and with a swim buddy who is also comfortable in open water.

Use a flotation device

swimming lessons for open water
Photo by: Whitefish Wave

If you’re feeling extra nervous in open water, consider using a flotation device such as a swim noodle or life jacket. This can make you feel more secure in the water and help you relax. It’s like a swimming safety blanket! Even experienced swimmers use flotation devices on occasion, particularly when swimming in unfamiliar or difficult conditions. Remember that there is no shame in using a flotation device if it makes you feel more at ease and confident in the water.

Visualize success

Visualization is an effective tool for increasing confidence and decreasing anxiety. Take some time before you go to the beach to imagine yourself swimming confidently and gracefully in open water, like a majestic sea creature. Consider the sensation of water on your skin, the sun on your face, and the thrill of swimming in the open sea. Visualization can help you in focusing on positive outcomes, increasing confidence, and decreasing negative thoughts and feelings.

Seek professional help

If you’re really struggling with anxiety when swimming in an open water, a swim coach or therapist who specializes in anxiety may be able to help. A swim coach can help you develop your skills and overcome your fears, whereas a therapist can help you work through any underlying issues that may be contributing to your fear. Seeking assistance is normal; we all have our own fears and struggles to overcome. Working with a professional can also make the process more pleasant and interesting by providing new techniques and ideas for overcoming your fear.

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