Monday, May 9, 2016

Open Water Swimming Season Starts

Despite the late season snow showers, it’s almost time for the open water swimming season to start and there are some great events lined up across the country this summer. 

We’ve some of the most spectacular scenery in the world here in Scotland and viewing it from the surface of a loch or river gives a totally new perspective on the world.  We would NEVER recommend you simply jump in and go for it – water conditions and currents vary from location to location and it can be dangerous.  However, with Scottish Swimming’s “Come and Try” events and lots of organised events, there are plenty of opportunities to dip into open water swimming in 2016.

On 14th May at the National Swimming Academy at Stirling University you can learn some of the techniques of outdoor swimming at a 'come and try' session in the 50m pool.  Then, a week later on 22nd May you can get a real taste of open water swimming in the man-made lagoon at the Helix Park in Falkirk – just metres away from the world famous Kelpie statues. 

On June 12th there’s another 'Come and Try' event at Knockburn Sports Loch in Aberdeenshire.  Or on August 20th you can jump into the waters of Loch Lomond at Balmaha’s Milarrochy Bay.  With Ben Lomond as one of the landmarks swimmers use to guide, or “sight”, them around the course, it is easy to see why this is one of the most popular open water swimming spots in Scotland. 

Wetsuits are compulsory at the events but you can hire them on the day.  These sessions are a great way to make the transition from the indoor swimming pool to open water. There will be beginner sessions for the complete novice and intermediate for more experienced swimmers with some outdoor experience who want to improve their technique. Experienced coaches will teach you everything from effective breathing, to stroke development and how to swim around marker buoys. Come and Try events are a great way to meet like minded people and you will improve your skills, and confidence in the water.

If you’re ready to test yourself in the water, at Loch Venachar on 14th August you can take part in the Venachar Mile Challenge – one hour to swim one mile in the heart of the Trossachs.  Or there is the Great Scottish Swim on 26th and 27th August in Loch Lomond just off shore at the picturesque village of Luss.  The annual event attracts hundreds of swimmers of all ages and abilities.  Also on August 27th is the Discovery Mile, a one mile estuary swim along the River Tay at Dundee. 

In September you could combine a city break and a swim in London, with a new one mile swim event on 24th September in Hyde Park’s Serpentine Lake, the venue for the London 2012 Open Water marathon swims – but be quick, applications for this event close on Friday 13th May. 

Open Water Swimming is becoming more and more popular and if you’d like to do it more often, you can join one of the many clubs whose members are heading out over the summer months to swim safely all around the country. 

You can find a list of Open Water Clubs here.

All our Adult Swim Series - Come & Try Open Water sessions are here


Article courtesy of Anne Kane