• Education

How to enjoy your first ocean swim

We’ve got 10 tips for you to get the most enjoyment out of your first ocean swim event.

Are you nervous about your first ocean swimming event this summer?

Maybe it’s your very first ocean swim or you’ve just taken some time away from the sport and have decided to come back again.

Either way, you’re not alone, even the most seasoned ocean swimmers get nervous before an ocean swimming event.

Here are 10 tips to make the most of your first ocean swim.

1. Familiarise yourself with the location

Become familiar with the location your ocean swimming event is going to take place, this includes how to get there, finding a park, where the start/finish will be and where you can get a hot breakfast and coffee after!

Go for a swim at the location in the days leading up to the event to get a feel for what it’s like in the water.

2. Join an ocean swimming group

Join an ocean swimming group in the lead-up to boost your ocean swimming skills, meet like-minded people and link up with other swimmers who are doing the same event as you. Plus the post-swim coffee and chats will keep you coming back.

The Stingrays, and ocean swimming group out of Warriewood

3. Take a support crew on event day

Bring a cheer squad of family and friends to the beach to support you and help calm those pre-swim nerves.

4. Ask a friend to swim with you

Ask a friend to participate as well. It’ll give you someone to swim with on the day and a training buddy in the lead-up.

Swimming buddies are the best!

5. Use swim aids

Use swim aids if you feel you need them, plenty of ocean swims allow swim aids and often have a separate category for those using them.

Don’t be afraid to use your swim fins, a snorkel or a pull buoy if that makes you more confident and comfortable in the water, just make sure you’ve practised with these aids before event day.

6. Enter a ‘Back of the Pack’ category

If you’re not in any rush, enter the ‘back of the pack’ category (or similarly named) if you want to cruise at the back without the stress of other swimmers swimming over you.

7. Position yourself strategically on the start line

Position yourself to the side or behind the start pack to avoid being bumped around and to give yourself time to enter the water at your own pace.

8. Plan a post-swim celebration

Book a table at your favourite restaurant or cafe with your friends and family to celebrate your big achievement post-swim. It will also give you something to look forward to as you make your way around the course.

9. Choose a sheltered location

Choose a flat water or sheltered location if you are anxious about the surf for your first ocean swim event. There are plenty of events run in sheltered bays, harbours and lakes.

Tip: Use the filters on the event calendar to find sheltered swims

Swims like this one in a marina, are great for your first event

10. Arrive early

Arriving early on the morning of your event is key to keeping your stress levels low. This will give you enough time to find a park, complete registration and relax before your swim. The last thing you want is to be rushed and stressed on event day.

  • Written by Ocean Swims on 1 November 2022
  • (Updated on 6 August 2023)

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