If you're unsure about where to start now that pools and open water venues are starting to reopen, check out these great tips from Her Spirit co-founder, Mel Berry, with advice on getting back to the pool or open water.
Swimming pools are a safe place to swim which is great news, as many of us have not been able to swim in a pool for up to 4 months.
To help you and your experience at the the pool, why not shower at home, pre- and post-swimming (showers may be available at the facility but by arriving wearing your swimwear under your clothing and showering at home before and after your swim, you will help minimise time spent in the changing rooms and help maintain the water quality).
Practical things to think about
- Follow the operator’s directions for entry and exit to the pool.
- People of different standards and abilities will use the pool. Please respect their right to enjoy their swim.
- Stay hydrated by bringing your own ‘pre-filled’ water bottle on to poolside during your swim.
- Take hand sanitiser with you and ensure any equipment or aids (e.g. floats/kick boards) are clearly labelled as yours and cleaned before going to the pool.
- When it comes to overtaking in the pool, Swim England have said: 'Choose your lane using the fast, medium and slow signs and by watching those already swimming. Please do not overtake whilst swimming. Before pushing off at each turn, check to see if anyone faster is approaching.'
- When resting, Swim England have shared the following advice: 'Whether stopping for a rest or catching your breath after completing your swim, please be mindful that others using the lane will want to keep on swimming without stopping; so keep yourself to the edge of the lane allowing others to turn at the wall, turning your head away and allowing others to maintain social distancing measures.'
Your swim session
It's probably been a while since you got into a pool, so take it steady for the for the first couple of swims. Swimming is a technical sport, so take the time to get that feel back.
- Create a structure for you to thrive - remember to take it steady for the first couple of swims.
- Form a plan - you can use a session plan for your session to get the most out of it. Check out the Swimathon Training Zone or try one of the Her Spirit sessions.
- Get technical - integrate swimming drills into your routine. Her Spirit are partnered with Swim Smooth and you can have a go at a few drills that will make you a better swimmer and enable you to enjoy the water even more.
- Get strong and mobile - this is really important for swimming and you can do it as part of your swimming plans. You can access sessions at Her Spirit to help you.
- Get great kit - equipment such as swim fins, pull buoys, kick boards and hand paddles really help you improve your stroke.
If you have enjoyed the open water while pools have been closed, why not use your local lake or open water venue as a place to do your Swimathon challenge?
- Be safe! Get a tow float - no matter where you swim, we recommend getting a tow float. They are great and enable others to see you and if you get into trouble you have something to hang on to for a break.
- Know where you are going - sighting is key, and you can do a few simple drills if you are a freestyle swimmer. Every 5-7 strokes look up to see where you are going. We call it crocodile eyes…
- Keep warm - wetsuits are great for two reasons, they keep you warm and keep you buoyant. You can pick up a good second hand wetsuit or hire one from many open water swimming venues.
- See what’s around you - goggles enable you to see what’s below you and what’s around you, and to see where you're going. Zoggs goggles are available in so many different shapes and sizes.
- Be supportive - you can socially distance swim. It's a good way to reconnect with someone you might not have seen for a while and helps with safety to have a buddy.
- Most importantly - be responsible. Don’t swim in places you don’t know and never leave your litter. Let's keep our planet safe and healthy like us.
Come and join the community at Her Spirit (www.herspirit.co.uk) - sign up and download the Her Spirit app.