The October long weekend in NSW marks the unofficial start to the recreational ocean swim season across most of Australia with ocean swimmers dusting off their cozzies and diving in to christen their season.
With daylight saving kicking in, the evenings will get lighter so post-work swims come into play and even though the mornings will be instantly darker, they will also lighten up quickly for long light beach days.
While there’s a smattering of ocean swim events on around the country in October, the main ocean swims season tends to kick off in November.
Use this checklist to ensure you’re firing for the season.
1. Get to the pool
No one really likes pool swimming, but it’s a necessary evil if you want to be fit and strong for the open water. The pool does have its benefits, like a comfy water temp, the ability to focus on technique and drills and to work on your anaerobic fitness with shorter high-intensity sprints (that will help you in the surf). Make sure you’re following a structured training program, or join a squad.
2. Deck yourself out
There’s no better time to treat yourself to some new gear than the start of the season. You’ll feel fantastic in a new swimsuit (or wetsuit) and a new pair of goggles with perfect vision will enhance every swim. Once you’ve got your new gear you’ll even feel more obliged to swim, making it the perfect motivator.
3. Learn new skills or get a refresh
Everyone’s a bit rusty at the start of the season, so if you’re finding your confidence low or you’d like to take your skills to the next level, register for some ocean swimming training. A great coach will ease you back into the water and build up your skills and knowledge to give you a confidence boost to kick-start the season.
4. Register for your first swim
The best motivation to train and get to the beach is to lock in an event and start the countdown. You’ll be able to start ticking off the days and if you’re super geeky you can put together a little bit of a training schedule to make sure you stay on track. For something different, choose an event you haven’t swum before.
5. Choose a stretch goal for the season
Have you found yourself in a rut swimming the same distance every season or just sticking to the same events? There are a greater variety of events available now than there’s ever been, so get outside your comfort zone and try a 5km swim, or a run-swim-run or the increasingly popular swimrun.
First published in September 2018