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Five top tips to start – and stay – outdoor swimming

Swimming outdoors is no easy feat, at any time of the year. Unlike swimming in a pool, there are a number of factors to contend with and prepare for, such as the weather, water temperature and getting changed in the open.

We’ve compiled a list of top tips for swimming outdoors for the first time, allowing you to keep swimming for months – and even years – to come.

1. Swim with someone experienced

Unlike swimming in a pool, when venturing outdoors there are a number of factors to consider, including suitable swim spots, water clarity, depth, objects in the water etc.

Swimming with someone who knows what they’re doing, and has experience of where you’re swimming will ensure that your first swims are safe. It also means that there’s always an additional person at hand in the instance that one of you made need assistance in the water.

Selkie Tow Float

2. Be safe, be seen

Swimming outdoors can take you to a number of beautiful locations beyond the confines of a rectangular pool. With this, however, comes additional hazards, such as other traffic in the water or strong currents and streams. In the unfortunate instance that you would find yourself in danger, it’s important to be seen so that others can assist.

Check out Selkie’s Neon Green Tow Float (£21), an item that should be on the top of your list.

Huub Goggles

3. Use a pair of goggles designed for the outdoors

There are so many goggles on the market, it can often be hard to know which ones to go for, but most pairs are made with indoor pools in mind. With varying weather and light levels (particularly in the UK!), goggles designed specifically for the outdoors will make your swims much easier.

HUUB’s Brownlee Acute Swim Goggles (£44) have photochromic dyes that cause the lens to activate, or darken, when exposed to ultraviolet rays from sunlight.

Huub Gloves

4. Invest in Neoprene if you want to stay in the water longer

Swimming in the winter months is often a very quick affair, consisting more of a dip than a long distance swim. There are, however, ways to make your swim a little longer, such as investing in neoprene accessories, namely socks and gloves. These products will keep your extremities warmer whilst immersed in cold water.

HUUB Neoprene Swim Socks (£39.99) and Gloves (£34.99) recently scored highest on our review of neoprene accessories.

Swim Secure Flask

5. Get changed quickly but warm up slowly!

What you do after swim is just as, if more, important than the preparation before a swim. As your body continues to cool down, it’s paramount that you get changed quickly and warm up slowly with layers. A hot drink is an ideal way to get your body warm safely.

Swim Secure’s Vacuum Insulated Flask (£20) holds up to 500ml of liquid and keeps drinks hot for hours.

Stay up to date with The Dip, our free weekly outdoor swimming newsletter.

Omie is an outdoor swim coach and swim instructor who works to increase access to swimming for underrepresented groups in the sport. She is a director of Swimunity, a Community Interest Company that offers free swimming lessons for children and women in London, as well as free beach days and excursions for families to help them to connect with nature and the outdoors.