• Education

How to move on from a bad ocean swim

After a bad swim, you can either get annoyed with yourself or you can let it motivate you to become a better ocean swimmer who has more fun.

As ocean swimmers, we’ve all had, and will have, ocean swims we don’t quite get in the grove of.

Sometimes they’re out of our control, it could be the weather conditions or a treacherous swell, and sometimes they’re completely in our control, like the attitude we take into the water.

Either way, after a (self-assessed) bad swim, you can either get annoyed with yourself or you can let it motivate you to become a better ocean swimmer who has more fun.

Here are our five tips to help you move on from a bad ocean swim.

1. Get over it

This can be a hard one to do, but just like Jules from OceanFit says, getting over it is the best thing to.

Pick yourself up, accept that you had a bad swim and refocus your energy on looking forward to the next swim.

2. Focus on what went well

After a bad ocean swim, it’s easy to get caught up in everything that went wrong and everything you could have done better.

Maybe you should’ve dived deeper under a wave or streamlined better while bodysurfing.

Whatever it was, it’s important not to dwell on these negatives and instead focus on the positives. Ask yourself, what did I do well? Once you identify what went well, use it as a learning opportunity to improve for your next ocean swim.

3. Be resilient

There’ll be the odd swim that’ll leave you disappointed, upset and wanting to throw in the towel.

It’s important in these times that you push through, preserve and try again.

Don’t fall into the trap of skipping swims, or overly reducing your limits, just get straight back in and carry on.

4. Don’t take it personally

There’ll be times when you’ve trained hard, worked on all your skills, but it simply doesn’t work out.

You’ll have the overriding feeling that your efforts in preparation didn’t match your results in your ocean swim.

You may have struck the biggest set of the day on the way out, got stuck behind a pack of slower swimmers, or hit a lull when looking to body surf in.

These are situations largely out of your control, and ones that every ocean swimmer will encounter at some stage.

The important thing is not to take these situations personally.

After all, one bad ocean swim doesn’t make you a bad ocean swimmer.

5. Work on your skills

A bad ocean swim can be a stepping stone for an amazing ocean swim.

When you have a swim to forget it gives you the opportunity to reflect on your knowledge and skills.

Was your bad swim the result of a lack of surf sense or surf swimming techniques?

If you don’t know what you don’t know, perhaps it’s time to get some professional ocean swimming coaching.

At the end of the day, no matter how much you think you had a ‘bad swim’, you never regret a swim!

  • Written by Ocean Swims on 3 December 2021
  • (Updated on 3 August 2023)

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