2020-21 Season: What we’ve learned

With summer behind us now, it’s a great time to reflect on the season past.

This, by no means, suggests that the open water swimming season is over, in fact, autumn arguably has the best outdoor swimming conditions of the whole year, where you can enjoy the warmest water temperatures.

However, having experienced a season like no other, I thought we could look back on what we’ve learned throughout this most extraordinary time.

1. We don’t need a pool (but they’re still valuable)

When the pools closed, pool-swimmers hit the open water en masse. For many, this was their first experience and they were pleasantly surprised. Newspapers heralded the influx and adaptability of swimmers during an otherwise restrictive time.

As the pools have opened up again, some have resisted the move back to follow the black line, whilst others realise the importance of a balanced swim training approach.

2. Open water swimming is easier than we thought

For open water newbies, there was a collective surprise that swimming in open water wasn’t as challenging or scary as initially thought. It turns out that making that initial decision to simply dive into the open water is the toughest step.

Recognising your limits is an important part of the journey so as you look to take on longer swims and bigger surf, you’ll do well to seek out training to ensure you’re prepared and safe.

3. It’s about more than swimming

Whilst we all love swimming in the open water, there is unanimous agreement that open water swimming is about much more than swimming. Swim buddies and social groups throughout the country are developing deep connections, forging friendships and creating community.

Swim groups are welcoming visitors with open arms, social swim tourism is thriving and the mental health benefits are second to none. And, it’s all achieved through an activity that is essentially 100% free.

4. Australia & NZ have amazing swim destinations

We can be quick to look beyond Australasia for glamorous swim destinations; Italy, Greece, Croatia… the Pacific Islands, yet we needn’t look far because Australia and New Zealand have some of the best beaches and inland waterways in the world.

If you take the time to discover your own backyard, you’ll be amazed at the pure beauty there to behold. Swim at the same beach all the time? Why not get a group of buddies together and swim around the nearest headland.

5. Cold water isn’t so bad

Thrust out of pools as we entered winter forced a reality check on the water temps, especially for our southern swimmers. Wetsuits were like toilet paper, you were lucky to find one for some time.

But we adjusted our tolerances, and neoprene or not, we started to enjoy the benefits of cold water immersion. If you were slow on the uptake last winter, do a little research on what to expect and then just get in and increase your water time bit by bit.

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