Sea Swimming: Top Tips for Getting Started
As someone who struggled with motivating myself to get involved in outdoor swimming, I know exactly how daunting the thought of donning swim gear and getting into chilly waters can be. Let me tell you though, the electrifying sense of vitality and energy you feel as the rush of endorphins flood your body is hard beat’ Katie shares her tips to getting started with Sea Swimming.
I’ve gathered some helpful tips to get you started on your daily sea swimming adventure this May:
Start slow and steady
You may arrive on your first day raring to go but remember to take it nice and slow. Let your body adjust as you get into the water at a steady pace. Remember to focus on your breathing as your body acclimatises to the water temperature. As the days go on, your body will begin to adjust to the temperature and with that the thought of getting in will become a lot easier.
‘I found the most challenging part was mustering up the courage to take the dip. I have a vivid memory of my pre-swim ritual at Blackrock during the pandemic. Before getting into the water, I would perform an elaborate dance as a way to psyche myself up. Looking back, it is hilarious how the brain works and the odd things we do to ease ourselves in. Some days I would even wear a woolly hat to give myself an extra boost of motivation. However, once I was immersed in the water all my pre-swim motivating tactics seemed unnecessary’
Choose the right gear
When it comes to open water dipping choosing the right gear can make all the difference. It must be noted, that you do not need a lot of different pieces of gear to get started with sea swimming. These pieces of gear definitely enhance your sea swimming experience but are not a necessity. For me, my kit involved GAA shorts, a tank top, a towel and the most important item, my beloved hot water bottle.
Here are some additional tips to keep in mind:
Wetsuits: A wetsuit is not a necessity. If you do choose to invest in one, it will keep you warm and buoyant in the water. Choose one that fits and make sure its appropriate for the water temperature you will be swimming in.
Dry Robes: The popularity of dry robes skyrocketed during the pandemic as more people got involved in outdoor swimming. Here in Galway, it seemed you couldn’t walk from one end of Salthill prom to the other without spotting a group of swimmers rocking these stylish half coat half jacket pieces of swimwear. Not only are they stylish they are also very handy for drying off quickly, changing stress free and keeping yourself warm.
Nug are a Galway-based company which do fabulous dry robes for men, women and children. However, if this is out of your budget you can find alternatives in home store and more, Shaw’s department store and Dunnes.
Wear something comfortable: When you feel comfortable and confident in your swimwear you can focus on your dipping rather than how you look or feel in your suit. This can boost your confidence and really enhance the experience of sea swimming.
Pro Tip: I used to wrap my towel around my hot water bottle, so that when I got out of the water my towel would be lovely and warm.
Swim with a buddy
Swimming with a buddy can really enhance your swimming experience. You can both provide support and motivation for each other and it gives you the opportunity to deepen your relationships while also having the craic. Swimming with a friend can also add an additional level of safety in case of an emergency. More information on Outdoor water safety here.
Choose a safe location
Before heading out for a swim make sure to research the area to identify any potential hazards such as currents or underwater hazards. Make sure you keep an ear out for any weather warnings that may be in place. Another thing to keep in mind is water quality. Beaches.ie provide information on beaches in your local area and report on water quality, tide times and beach amenities.
Embrace the experience
Make sure to take time to take everything in and enjoy all the elements that come with sea swimming. Take in the sights and sounds around you. I will never forget the beautiful sunrises I experienced in Blackrock during the pandemic and the warmth of the sun hitting my face while I was in the water. It was a feeling of pure bliss. Take this challenge as an opportunity to appreciate the beauty of the world around you. Most importantly enjoy it!
Share your experience
Don’t be afraid to share your experience with others whether its through social media or simply by telling your friends and family. Not only does sharing the experience keep you motivated, you never know who you might inspire to get involved. Don’t forget to tag us on your daily photos and videos with #dipadayinmay!
So, there you have it, my top tips for getting involved in sea swimming. With these tips in mind you will be well on your way to preparing for Galway Simon’s ‘Dip a Day in May’. Happy dipping and have fun!