Do you only swim in open water
Swimming in open water. Never go alone! But the reason you’re reading this article is because you probably want to go open water swimming.
No worries. More people do that. So it’s not crazy that you want this and sometimes it is so practical. You don’t have to make an appointment. You can go whenever you want and not everyone has a swimming buddy. Opinions are divided on this. Where some find it an absolute no-go, there are also plenty of people who regularly go alone.
It is wiser not to go alone. And I doubted for a long time whether I should write this article. Because I don’t really want to promote open water swimming only with Lifeguard course. Yet many people swim alone and then you better be well prepared. So here’s a list of 8 practical tips.
Do you only swim in open water? 8 tips
Tip 1: Know your swimming spot
Are you going alone? In any case, do not go to a new or unknown place. Preferably go to a spot that is very shallow. The iron man in Vught, for example, is a good example of this. You can stand there almost anywhere. Nice and safe. Or swim close to the edge, it is often shallower there.
Tip 2: Go for calm water and good and calm weather conditions
In winter or when the water is cold, DO NOT do it . The chance of cramping, hypothermia or other risks is simply too great. So if you go alone. Only do it when the water temperature is right and the weather is calm (warm).
Tip 3: Always go with a swimming buoy (safe swimmer)
So that you can hang up somewhere in the event of a cramp and you are visible. Going without a buoy is really a no-go. I wrote an extensive blog about this before: Swimming buoy open water; boo or exciting? If you go alone. It is also a tip to choose a swimming buoy that you can take with you (so with a storage compartment). This way you can take your phone (and/or your keys) with lifeguard course.
Tip 4: Go at a busy time
For example with good weather. So that there are enough people who can intervene in case of panic or when you call. There are plenty of indoor lakes in the Netherlands where there is also plenty of recreation.
Tip 5: Only go only if you have enough swimming experience
An advanced swimmer might as well get cramps or face unforeseen circumstances. But a beginner still has some more challenges. Swimming technique, being able to make meters and being relaxed with breathing and keeping a course is really the basis for being able to swim safely. Are you still a little restless? Are you still struggling too much with your breathing, are you not yet able to run many meters in a row or are you not yet able to keep a course with lifeguard course.
Tip 6: No swimming buddy? Then take someone from the side
The other just has to be a swimmer. People can also keep an eye on you from the side. So you don’t have a swimming buddy? Maybe you can arrange someone else who can keep an eye on a boat or sup (also super fun) from the side.
Tip 7: Let someone know you’re going
Plus how long you plan to go swimming. For example, message just before you go in and when you’re out.
But again. You prefer to follow rule 1…. don’t go alone. Either way, be sensible and don’t take unnecessary risks with lifeguard course.
Tip 8: Do not overestimate your swimming level
Have you not swum in a long time? Then first go to the pool to ‘freshen up’. Maybe even take a swim training again, so that your level is at the right level. It turns out that the number of drownings is most common in the over 50s. This is often the result of overestimating one’s own swimming level. Especially if you are going to swim in open water, it is important to have a realistic picture of your own swimming level. It’s better to stay in the shallow end anyway and again, don’t forget that swim buoy.
Looking for a swimming buddy?
Don’t have a swimming buddy? Then take a look at various Facebook groups (such as ‘open water swimming Netherlands’ or ‘swimming enthusiasts’. There are several groups with permanent open water swimmers. These often swim at fixed places and times where you can join
. follow a clinic or course. This way you gain more knowledge and experience. You will be guided and who knows, you might even get a nice swimming buddy with lifeguard course.