Mastering Open Water Swims

I started off my Saturday with my early morning standby: Maple Overnight Oats. So easy, so tasty!

In the mix:

  • 1/3 c Brown Cow Maple Yogurt
  • 1/3 c Oatmeal
  • Dash of Soy Milk

On the mix:

  • Sprinkle of Chia Seeds
  • Dusting of Dried Cherries
  • Blob of Pear Butter



Grazing Lunch

My lunch was packed + pre-photographed, then shoved into my lunchbox for a midday meal consisting of a few snacks.

A Clif Mojo Bar + A Pear + A Carrot with some PB




When I get home Matt and I geared up for a bike ride, but first I snacked on an orange that looked a lot like this one:


I had planned for us to do a more scenic route but we ended up at Matt’s sisters house where we proceeded to hang with her pregnant dog, watch the Food Network and help ourselves to her fridge. Did I mention she’s in Chicago this weekend?

While we decided on what to have for dinner I snacked on some baby carrots with a few tablespoons of some tasty spinach dip. I’m a sucker for dips! Matt decided on making some sort of boxed pasta dish. As made evident by my sampler of a lunch and the fact that I allowed Matt to make something from a box for dinner, we clearly are in desperate need of groceries.

Sadly, I didn’t have a tape recorder (or my camera!) when Matt said that the boxed meal tasted horrible! My box loving, whole foods hating boyfriend said our ‘dinner’ was not good! My reply was obviously not, since were used to eating whole foods 🙂 Leaps and bounds, people. Leaps and bounds.


While watching a cake challenge on Food Network I had a few squares of delicious chocolate. Yum!

Tips for Open Water Swims

Unfortunately, my upcoming triathlon does not include an open water swim but instead a 1/2 mile swim in a lap pool. Although the swimmer in me is a bit bummed I am sticking with it since I am determined to squeeze in a tri this year. I know a lot of you (bloggers and readers alike) have jumped on the tri bandwagon. This means that a lot of you will be facing some intimidating, but rewarding open water swims. Here are some of my tips:

Practice in Open Water – The number one way to train or prepare for any open water swim is to practice in open water. If you have limited accessibility to open water practice in the longest pool you can find to reduce time spent on turns, but make sure to schedule some open water time pre-race.

Grab a Buddy – As a lifeguard I have to put this on the list – No one should be swimming in open water alone! Regardless of your familiarity with swimming or your personal skill level open waters can be unpredictable and have many hidden hazards.

Overcompensate – While you are swimming in open water it’s a good idea to overcompensate your stroke in control the effect waves have one your breathing. By bringing your elbows up high on the recovery and rolling your shoulders more as you breathe you will be able to stay in control of your body through the rockiest of waves.

Stay in a Straight Line – Incorporating an occasional look-and-lift motion as you breathe will allow you to track your whereabouts in the water. Allowing yourself to breathe every 1 ½ strokes (alternating sides) instead of on the same side will also prevent you from veering off course.

Dress for the Occasion – Depending on where you live Hypothermia can be a real cause for concern when swimming in and being around bodies of open water. Do your research before hand and arrive prepared for each swim with the appropriate swim gear. Remember, you lose a lot of heat from your head so a cap should always be a must!

Stay Calm – Reminding yourself of the techniques and preparations you have taken should ease some of your pre-swim nerves. Above all, remind yourself of your personal limitations and trust yourself and your body.



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20 responses to “Mastering Open Water Swims

  1. Love your tips! The thought of an open water swim realllly freaks me out, must say!
    Aren’t carrots AMAZING with pb? Ofcourse what isn’t better with a little pb goodness 😉

  2. I LOVE mojo bars. Sometimes at Whole Foods they have them on clearance and you can buy boxes at a time!

  3. I really like your blog! I also really like Mountain Mix Mojo bars. Yum! Open water swims sound somewhat terrifying, I’m very impressed!

  4. Hey, first time visiting your blog! Nice tips & pics! I never tried to Mojo Clif bars, only regular Clif bars, Odwalla and Larabar…good to know they are worth tasting!

    I need to get me some Chia seeds ASAP! What do you like to sprinkle them on the most??

  5. Open water swimming sounds exciting! I’ve only done it as a kid for fun. I can imagine in a competition with lots of people around it would be scary.

  6. Small world– I live in Iowa City, too (when not in Germany of course haha.) I’ll definitely keep reading your blog, thanks for finding mine!

  7. I learned how to swim strokes in a lake and I can tell you it is positively priceless to know. Not just for competition but for any time you end up out there!

  8. Thanks for the tips! I’ve recently been tempted to try a triathlon, but the swim part is holding me back. I’ve first got to assess where I am now with my swimming (I have very little swim experience). Then I’ll have to correct my form and practice. And THEN I’ll have to tackle the idea of an open-water swim…which is very foreign to this Nebraskan girl!

  9. I’ve never swam in open water (besides wading, treading, and splashing) but those are some good tips. I wouldn’t think to overcompensate the stroke.

  10. Hi Kate,

    I’m glad you stopped by my blog, I’ve been having fun looking over yours! I’m looking forward to reading more =)

  11. I have been wanting to try that maple yogurt for so long. I love maple anything… but I wish Brown Cow weren’t so expensive. I wonder if I could make my own with just plain yogurt?

  12. mojo bars are SO good and addicting!

    im a sucker for dips too!

  13. I’m definitely afraid of open water swims. I grew up near the ocean so I should not be this afraid. These tips are great, they’ve helped put my mind at ease!

  14. great open-water swim tips! i still have yet to give it a try, but you mad me feel a little better about it 😉

  15. I’ve never had pear butter before but I’ll definitely have to try it!! Did yo make it yourself of purchase it at the store?

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