Open-water swimming is an effective way for athletes to condition their aerobic system, but there are some essential bits of kit that can help you perform your best.
Whether you’re new to wild swimming or are looking for ways to improve your experience in the water, we’ve compiled a list of some of the items that will help you get the best out of yourself.
By preparing properly with the right equipment, you can stay relaxed in the water to keep your technique in the best shape possible.
Many athletes take the sport on because of the mental boosts that come with it, and proper gear will help you enjoy the experience.
So here are six essential kit items for open-water swimming.
Large Dry Bag
There’s a lot to take with you for open-water swimming, so a decent-sized waterproof bag is a must. The Built For Athletes Large Dry Bag is extremely durable and designed for heavy-duty use. It’s perfect to keep items 100% dry or to separate wet items after your workout.
If you want to stay in the water for any decent length of time, particularly in the winter, you’re going to want to invest in a good-quality wetsuit. As well as keeping you warm, a wetsuit will help with buoyancy which can make swimming easier as you can glide over the water more effectively. Make sure you find one that fits well and is easy to get in and out of quickly, as you’ll need to get into warm clothes as soon as possible after your swim.
A cap will help keep your head and ears insulated in the water. A brightly coloured one will also make you a lot easier to spot if you get into trouble and need rescuing, which is an important consideration, especially if you’re inexperienced
Swimming Gloves & Socks
Even swimmers who head for the coldest water and don’t bother with a wetsuit will usually wear gloves and socks to swim in. Circulation to the extremities is reduced when the body goes into cold shock because it moves blood to the major organs to stop them from shutting down. In the worst cases, this can leave toes and fingers susceptible to frostbite.
Blocked ears can plague swimmers. If you regularly get trapped water in your ears, this can lead to an ear infection, so earplugs are a wise purchase. People’s ears come in all shapes and sizes, but luckily there’s no shortage of effective and comfortable earplugs around these days, so take some time to find the material and fit that suits you the best.
Probably the most popular bit of open-water swimming equipment - the item that tends to mark out the occasional dippers from the hardened sea swimmers - is the dryrobe. Warming up post-swim is crucial, and a dryrobe will help you do just that while, as the name suggests, getting dry too. It’s also helpful for changing discreetly into fresh clothes.