To get the most from your pool sessions decide at the outset what you’d like to achieve.

If your goal is an open water swim, gradually build up distance until you reach your target, says Neil Blake, coach of Hartham Masters in Hertfordshire.

Neil suggests three varied sessions a week of at least 30 minutes and has five top tips:

1. Swim with a friend for competition and to make you work harder

2. Try repetitions of short distances with a rest between, to improve fitness

3. Try breathing every three or five strokes in front crawl to get used to being out of puff

4. Try a length underwater, which also improves fitness. As you improve, try several single lengths with recovery time between

5. Join a group with a coach who will spot errors you’re unaware of. A more efficient stroke uses less energy.

To prepare specifically for outdoor events, the Amateur Swimming Association’s Just Swim site has lots of useful info, too, including five different tips:

6. Be comfortable swimming further than your event

7. Try breathing both sides in front crawl because there might be a lot of splash on your favoured side

8. Have a second stroke in your back pocket, such as breaststroke, to revert to if you need a break

9. Practice sighting – looking ahead as you swim to spot a distant marker and to keep you in a straight line

10. Spend time treading water in the deep end which you may well have to do in open water

Why not try...

Aspire Channel Swim
Swim the distance of the English Channel and raise money for Aspire and people paralysed by Spinal Cord Injury. Join the challenge on your own, in a team, or with your class or colleagues and take on the 22 miles in your local pool, in your own time – or even in your lunch time!


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