If you’re a seasoned swimmer, you’ve likely experienced frustrations with your swimming gear, such as goggles fogging up, water blocking your ears and chafing in unexpected places.
Malfunctioning equipment can quickly turn your dreamy open water swim into a nightmare, so make sure you are prepared before heading out.
We’ve put together a list of tried-and-tested tips and tricks to help make your swimming gear woes a thing of the past.
Open Water Swimming Gear Hacks
1. Apply anti-chafe
When you step up your swimming mileage, the number of strokes taken in a session increases. Over time, the friction between your skin and swimming costume or wetsuit can cause chafe, resulting in red, painful skin commonly under the arms or on the side of the neck. Applying an anti-chafe cream or gel before entering the water reduces this friction and helps to prevent chafe.
2. Put a stop to goggle fog
Even when choosing anti-fog goggles, unfortunately the anti-fogging ability wears away with use, leading to lenses misting up during swimming. To help keep your vision clear, apply an anti-fogging agent before entering the water. We’ve found that baby shampoo does the trick, as the soap creates an anti-fog layer on the goggle lenses – just be sure to rinse the soap off before use.
3. Adopt the wetsuit slip-on technique
Putting on a wetsuit can be quite an arduous task. To make this process a little easier and to reduce the risk of nicks and tears from nails, place a plastic bag over your hands and feet when sliding them through the arms and legs of your wetsuit.
4. Seal the deal with ear plugs
Water seeping into the ears during swimming not only causes discomfort but may lead to ear infections due to moisture build up in the outer ear canal. A simple solution to keeping ears dry during a swim is to use ear plugs. A range of these is available on the market, but we’ve found mouldable silicone ear plugs to be most effective.
5. Tie on your tow-float
A tow float or swim buoy is an inflatable device used during open water swimming to increase your visibility in the water. This makes it easier for boats or emergency services to locate a swimmer in the water if necessary. The brightly coloured float is inflated and an attached cord is secured around your waist, allowing the buoy to float behind you during the swim. An added benefit is that many tow floats have a waterproof inner to stash your essentials.
6. Keep your car key in safe place
If you don’t have a tow float, you may be wondering what to do with your car key when heading out to the water. Keep your key safe in a waterproof case or lock it away in a surf lock which attaches to your car.
7. Sport a swim-robe for seamless changing
With open water swimming, the challenge doesn’t always end when you exit the water. It can take a while for your body temperature to restore to normal levels after exposure to the cold, and numb fingers makes changing rather tricky! Using a swim robe or hooded towel will make changing out of your wet costume and into warm, dry clothes a lot easier.
Now that you’re all set for a seamless swimming experience, go out and enjoy the open water, but remember to do so responsibly. Check the conditions before heading out, and always swim with a buddy or a group.
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