Swimming in a pool is considered a form of swimming in closed, calm waters, as there are walls that guide and limit the place of practice. However, when swimming occurs in a natural aquatic location (lakes, rivers, canals, open sea), it is called open water swimming with a lifeguard class near me (ALA). On the other hand, long-distance swimming usually takes the form of crossings or marathons.
Open water swimming is the type of swimming practiced in a place where there is no facilitating device such as lanes and starting blocks, which pool swimmers are used to
- It is practiced in different spaces with fresh or salt water, in still or with significant currents, with variable temperatures, and, sometimes, with strong waves and winds that make the water turbulent
- The front crawl is the most used in this modality, as it is considered the most efficient form of water displacement
- However, some prefer to swim breaststroke to go slower and look forward, or even intersperse the crawl with the backstroke to see what they have already swum and rest a little.
Swimming in a pool is different from swimming in open water. Teachers must adjust the training plan according to the specificity of open-water swimming 2. For example, to perform open water swimming, the student needs to learn to swim in the same direction when there is no line at the bottom to guide him. Most teachers advise observing fixed reference points such as (buildings, islands, mountains, and trees) while swimming. For this, the student will need to perform frontal breaths at each pre-established interval (for example, every ten strokes) or when he feels the need for spatial orientation. If you can do that, you will have solved an essential item of open water swimming (sense of direction).
Professor Carlos encouraged me to go back to swimming in the sea and enjoy the open water strokes. I saw that he accompanied his students (about 30). They had a float, colored cap, noodles, and whistle. He taught beginner students in the shallows, and advanced students made the contour on Cardo’s Island or swam to Fleches beach. When I saw so many people swimming in this place, I started swimming with a buoy attached to my body and my son and wife accompanying me in the Stand-Up. It has been an enjoyable experience to swim and still have family company.
Profile of open water swimmers
Research carried out in October 2020 with 67 swimmers to identify the profile of open water swimmers in Niteroi identified that the majority (62.7%), like me, started doing NAA in the last three to six months, a period that coincides with the closing of the pools during the quarantine period, which forced people to look for a new place to swim.
The tourist’s view
For Fluminense Federal University (UFF) Professor Fatima Priscila Morella Edra, Niteroi is a municipality called Active City because on the edge of Niteroi, in addition to swimming in open water, people can walk, running, practicing Hawaiian canoeing, standing up, rowing, optimist, dinghy, kitesurf, windsurf, beach polo, beach handball, beach tennis, footvolley, albino, Frescobaldi, shuttlecock, beach volleyball, beach soccer, swingline, functional training, acrobatic fabric among others. The survey showed that 98.5% of respondents consider Niteroi to be a vibrant city, and 47% come to swim in open water actively by bicycle or on foot.
Public servant Felipe Barros, who swam for the first time in the sea from the beach of Boa Via gem to the beach of Fleches, thought the experience was great and mentioned that it was worth traveling 70km from where he lives to Niteroi to swim in open waters. However, he stressed that He would not have made the journey alone, but as he had the company of a friend at sea, he felt safer.
Benefits of swimming in open water
Swimming in a pool provides many benefits. However, the NAA provides the practitioner with other advantages, such as improved health, physical conditioning, socialization, sleep quality, sea autonomy, and pleasuring swimming with lifeguard class near me. In nature, greater freedom and preventing the swimmer from being indoors going to and from the pool.
Disadvantages of swimming in open water
Swimming in open water also has drawbacks such as: not having the edge to hold or rest, difficulty swimming in a straight line, especially in places with waves or currents, decreased visibility underwater, risk of scratching your feet when stepping on some rocks, in some places where the water quality is not good, there is dirt in the water which creates a risk of contamination, in addition to floating objects or aquatic plants, which can harm swimming.
Safety tips for the open water swimmer
- Before starting training, answer the anamnesis with your teacher and report health issues and questions about NAA.
- Monitor and follow the changes in weather and temperature before starting the swim, as this will help you to be caught off guard and identify if the place will be with waves/currents at the time you intend to swim.
- Check if the place is at risk of animal attack to avoid scares and unforeseen events.
- Start practicing in shallower areas, where you can put your feet on the ground, to make it easier to familiarize yourself with NAA and experience safe + swimming.
- Develop audacity before swimming in open water far from shore, especially mastering vertical buoyancy.
- Seek guidance from an expert open-water swim teacher because they can help you clarify the NAA’s particularities more efficiently.
- Do adequate hydration before and after swimming to avoid dehydration.
- Wearing rubber clothing with a flexible material (3/2 mm neoprene) that is easier to wear, gives freedom of movement, and helps protect you from the intense sun, possible diaper rash, and cold (prevents hypothermia), both inside and outside of water.
- Wear a buoyant float, caps, swimsuits, or colored swim trunks to stay visible. This will help boats or jet skis dodge the swimmer and allow people to find you if you need help.
- Gradually increase daily swim distances without relying on other swimmers who have been swimming in open water longer.
Also, read about: Build Muscle through Swimming and Lifeguard Training.