Beginners’ open water experience at the Open Water Swimming Show

The 2016 Open Water Swimming Show, which takes place on 10 July alongside the Henley Mile, will feature a new addition aimed at those looking to try open water swimming for the first time.

The H2Open beginners’ open water experience will be a confidence building programme of presentations and in-water practice to introduce swimmers to the joys of open water. It is open to both adults and children over the age of 8 and is aimed at swimmers who are interested in open water but don’t want to or don’t yet feel ready to take part in a race.
The programme (see below) lasts about 90 minutes and will include up to 30 minutes in the water in small groups with an experienced coach. Participants will also have free entry to the open water swimming show.
Now in its fourth year, the open water swimming show is an expo dedicated to open water swimming and gives visitors a unique opportunity to talk to swimming coaches, swimming holiday companies and kit suppliers all under one roof. In addition, there is a seminar programme featuring open water swimming experts.
Entry to the show is free to all participants in the Henley Mile (including the half mile and the splash) and the beginners experience as well as their family and supporters.

Beginners’ open water experience – programme

(1)    Briefing

  • Preparation and kit (including wetsuits and decision on whether to wear one)
  • Staying safe
  • What to expect when you hit the water
  • Getting into the water
  • Some differences between pool and open water swimming and how to manage them
  • Tips for staying healthy

(2)    Wetsuit use

  • Handling your wetsuit
  • Putting it on
  • Protecting your skin
  • Swimming with a wetsuit – what to expect and how to cope
  • Tips for non-wetsuit swimmers

(3)    Open water swimming tips

  • Swimming straight and sighting
  • Advantages and disadvantages of swimming close to other swimmers
  • What to expect if you enter a race, and how to cope

(4)    Trial swim

  • A closely supervised open water no-pressure swim in small groups
  • Chance to gain confidence and get used to being in open water
  • Opportunity to practice open water specific swimming techniques

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I created Outdoor Swimmer in 2011 (initially as H2Open Magazine) as an outlet for my passion for swimming outdoors. I've been a swimmer and outdoor swimmer for as long as I remember. Swimming has made a huge difference to my life and I want to share its joys and benefits with as many people as possible. I am also the author of Swim Wild & Free: A Practical Guide to Swimming Outdoors 365 a Year and I provide one-to-one support to swimmers through Swim Mentoring.