OCEAN SWIM HINTS
Check in with a lifeguard/locals
Aside from making sure a lifeguard is on duty, check in with them before you get in the water. Unlike a swimming pool, ocean and beach conditions are constantly changing, but lifeguards know where the riptides are, if there’s been recent shark activity, and what the water quality is like. If you’re a bit more experienced, and you feel comfortable swimming without a lifeguard present, check with a local swim club regarding ocean conditions.
Breathe on both sides
If you’re teaching yourself basic swim strokes, make sure you learn how to breathe on both sides—not just one. There are a couple reasons for this. Breathing on your left and on right side every three to five strokes allows you to watch out for sail boats, power boats, and marine life. Also balances out your swim stroke, diminishing your chances of getting swimmers shoulder. When you always breathe on one side, you run the risk of straining the muscles and joints, and are far more likely to drift on a diagonal. When breathing, focus on exhaling through your nose while your face is turned down in the water, then turning your head to the side to take a quick gulp of air out of the side of your mouth, trying to keep your head as low to the water as possible.
Enlist a swim buddy
A swim partner helps keep you accountable, safe, and working hard. The same goes for a swim buddy. Swim with someone who knows how to do the cross chest carry, and is strong enough to pull you out of the water if you have a problem. It’s a good idea to practice this rescue technique during workouts before you have a problem. This is especially true if you’re training for a long-distance open-water race. If a swimmer gets a cramp, has any type of seizure, or bumps his/her head, the situation can turn dangerous quickly. If you must swim alone in open water, do so with a floatation device nearby and be aware of any surrounding boats.
Water Polo Stroke
Practice water polo head up swimming in training as you will certainly be lifting your head in the ocean to make sure you're hitting the landmark or following your guide. As the head is naturally heavy, it will put added strain on your regular swimming muscles if you have to suddenly overload them in an ocean swim without practice. Head up swimming is a must for all ocean swimmers to add into their regular swim sets.