Whether you want to compete in triathlons or you simply want to train in an ocean or lake, it is important to learn proper open water swimming technique before venturing outside the pool. Your open water swimming technique should not be that much different than your pool technique. Most people rely on water knowledge and a few stroke modifications to perfect their open water swim techniques.
- Sighting: Everyone knows that keeping your head low in the water is an essential aspect of an efficient front crawl stroke. Open water sighting requires that swimmers lift their heads out of the water. Swimmers that can easily maintain a straight line do not have to sight as often as crooked swimmers. To sight, simply lift your head out of the water and look forward as you take a breath.
- Chop: Dealing with chop is a difficult open water swimming technique to master. Chop can severely disrupt breathing and strokes. Try to get a feel for how the chop affects your body. You will want to breath as you come over the crest of the chop.
- Current: This open water swimming technique is more for training purposes than racing, as the swimmer does not choose the course in a race situation. When training in the ocean, always swim against the current first so that you will be able to make your way back with the current.
- Waves: This open water swimming technique is only relevant to the ocean. If you must deal with waves in a race, sight through the surf zone so that you are not surprised by any waves. Dive deep under approaching waves. Swim towards the horizon so that you can look for approaching swells. When returning to shore, backstroke through the surfline, and wait if possible to catch and ride an incoming wave.