Open Water Swimming Sighting

Open water swimming sighting

When swimming in open water, you cannot rely on other swimmers to lead the way. Good open water swimming sighting skills can help you maintain a straight line and avoid adding hundreds of metres onto your swim.

What is open water swimming sighting?

Unlike swimming in a pool where the lanes guide you in the right direction, during open water swimming you need to use sighting to keep you on track. 

Sighting is a technique used to help you maintain a straight line in the open water. This is done by setting your sight on a large, steady object to determine your swim path.

Tips to improve sighting

  • Choose a landmark. Decide on the object that you’ll be sighting. Choose a large distinct landmark (e.g. buoy or mountain) when possible.
  • Preparation. When ready to sight, press down on your outreached hand on the catch phase of the stroke and kick hard.
  • Lift your head to sight. Look forward to locate your landmark, swim head-up for one or two strokes and redirect if you’ve veered off route. Lift your head only as high as necessary to avoid wasting energy.
  • Breathe while sighting. While sighting, use the opportunity to take in air. Try to work sighting into your stroke rhythm by substituting your usual breath to the side to breathing while lifting your head forward when necessary.
  • Sight regularly. Try to sight roughly every 30 seconds or 20 strokes.

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