Any tips on sighting? Sighting frequency/ navigating in general?

Sighting 1 Drawing 1

Our resident Olympian answers your swimming questions

Any tips on sighting? Sighting frequency/ navigating in general?

People underestimate the importance of sighting, it can have a huge impact on your open water swimming. One way to improve your sighting is to practise it in the swimming pool when you train. A lot of people only ever sight in the open water and never work on it in training.

One thing I used to do while swimming a longer distance set would be on every even length to pick a point at the far end of the pool and sight for it. An efficient way to sight is to pop your eyes out of the water just enough to you can see where you’re going but not so much that your hips sink. If you can then turn your head into a breath it makes the sighting process more efficient.

I used to sight every 8-10 strokes as I knew I was good at swimming in a straight line. If you know you need to improve your ability to swim in a straight line in the pool start squinting your eyes (if safe to do so) so you are not relying solely on your eyes to make you swim straight.

Cassie Patten won bronze in the first ever Olympic 10km marathon swim, in the Beijing 2008 Olympics.

Cassie now coaches and is a frequent commentator at open water events.


Email your questions to: with the subject ‘Coach Cassie’

01 Cover July 21

Issue 51 July 2021

  • Linford Christie on his new interest in outdoor swimming and the secrets behind his success
  • The Icebreakers, a group using cold water swimming to support men's mental health
  • Triple-amputee and former Royal Marine Mark Ormrod on completing a 1km sea swim and inspiring others
  • James Pittar, the first blind swimmer to complete the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming
  • The frontline workers finding solace in outdoor swimming France’s hidden wild swim spots
  • The revolution in women’s swimwear

Make sure you're ready for your next outdoor swim

Sign up now for our FREE three-part training guide.