With lakes, beaches and lochs of all shapes and sizes in Great Britain, open water swimming scoffs at lane ropes and pool walls – it knows no boundaries.
If you’re looking to step up and challenge yourself away from the pool then open water swimming is the perfect way to take your swimming in a new direction.
While you must be competent, you don’t have to be a superstar swimmer to take on open water – it’s a fairly simple transition from the pool – and the more you do it, the better you’ll be.
There are risks of course: swimming alone is not recommended, the temperature and choppiness of the water can be difficult to contend with and weather conditions can make things interesting.
But wearing a wetsuit helps insulate against the cold and keeps you buoyant and open water swimmers will tell you that this all adds to the fun!
Where are the cleanest beaches?
The Good Beach Guide is used by almost half a million people every year. As well as providing information on bathing water quality there’s information on weather, travel, lifeguards, facilities and activities at over 1,000 UK beaches.
Open Water Coaching Guidance
Sharon Lock the National Development Officer for Open Water explains the new Open Water coaching guidance set out by Swim England.
With the increase in open water swimming in the country we would like to encourage more clubs to support participation in open water. It’s important to make sure coaches have the right knowledge and experience to do this safely with the same level of professionalism that is achieved in a pool environment.
Open Water swimming is a great activity but it carries different and potentially greater risks than pool-based swimming therefore Swim England have issued the following guidance for clubs and coaches who do or wish to engage in open water swimming:
Guidance for Clubs: Swim England strongly recommends clubs who are regularly training in open water to ensure their coaches have a recognised open water coaching qualification. Level 2 Open Water Coach delivered by IOS would be the recommended qualification. However if the club feels their qualified pool coaches are experienced in open water and do not need an open water qualification they must ensure the following;
- The coach is competent in the activity and environment in which they are coaching.
- Assess and record why each coach is appropriate for that environment
- Risk assessments are in place for the activity which includes the competence of the coach.
Competence should be measured by the coaches’ current qualifications and experience.
Ideally these qualifications are a pool based coaching qualification and the preferred IOS Level 2 Open Water Coaching Qualification. Experience needs to be evaluated in regards to previous open water coaching experience, previous open water swimming experience, length of experience and what type of water this has been achieved in. E.g. if a coach has been an open water swimmer in a lake they may not have experience in the sea, and vice versa. You should always be confident that if the worst happens you can justify why your coach has not achieved an open water qualification.
Guidance for Coaches: Swim England strongly recommends coaches undertake an open water qualification. If you do not have a suitable qualification, IOS membership insurance will not cover you for *regular open water coaching activities.
*3 or more times