Ocean Swim Tips from Andrew ‘Reidy’ Reid
Born and raised on the Sydney beaches Reidy knows the ocean like the back of his hand. Not only has he helped save hundreds of lives over the years, but swimming, paddling, surfing and triathlons are just some of his favourite ways to keep fit. Look out for him on the finish line at this year’s Cole Classic and check out his top tips to make this your best swim yet.
Know your ability: Just because you can swim 1km in the swimming pool doesn’t mean you can swim in the surf. Make sure you do a few practice swims in an environment similar to the race.
Warm up: Warming up before a race is crucial. It allows you to settle the nerves & relax in the water, gets blood into your arms & prepares you for the event. The irony is that new swimmers who need it the most are least likely to warm-up!
Check conditions: They are always changing and wind can also play havoc with a course. Always access and take the routes in and out of the surf that will benefit you best.
Know your course: Always check and double check you know where you’re going. Count the cans twice and then again a third time and know what directions you need to take. Also be aware that a course can change at short notice especially if it is windy.
Starts: Always practice your starts. In training your starts need to be quick and precise to build speed and skills. In a race bring your speed down to 80% & concentrate on lifting & looking to follow the best line! Anyone that tells you to start fast is a clown!
Lifting & looking: Most people make the common mistake of following the leader and end up swimming further than they have. Look for the swim cans, and if you can’t see them look so look 2, 3 or 4 times if necessary! You can practice this in the pool - try lifting & looking once or more per lap when swimming slowly.
Stroke: In the ocean or choppy swims you will need to use a shorter, choppier stroke to compensate for bumpy conditions. There is no use gliding if the water is moving against you. A straighter arm recovery is also ideal as opposed to high elbow pool stroke. Hypoxic training for open water swimming is also critical to have a good set of lungs that will help going in and out of surf.