According to Outdoor Swimmer magazine’s annual report, searches for the term “wild swimming” – which refers to “swimming (or dipping) in rivers, lakes, pools, the sea, etc; typically in more out-of-the-way locations with no lifeguard supervision,” according to magazine founder Simon Griffith – increased 94% between 2019 and 2020. Wild swimming presented an opportunity to get some exercise, explore the local countryside and even visit new places in search of different waters.
As an RNLI Water Safety Advisor, I’m often chirping out advice about avoiding cold water shock and staying safe in the water, but today I’m writing about something a little bit different… Here’s some gear that I take swimming with me that improves my performance and makes my swims more enjoyable (as well as keeping me safe!).
What’s the best fitness tracker for swimming?
I wear a Garmin Swim 2. It’s great for tracking open water swims and pool sessions.
It also tracks running, cycling, and cardio. There are lots of fitness trackers out there, but for me, this is a winner. If you’re looking for a watch for sea swimming, make sure it has GPS!
Dry Robes look comfy but they’re expensive, are they worth it?
Dryrobes are 100% worth every penny (and this isn’t a sponsored post). My husband bought one for me last year and I haven’t looked back. They’re so comfortable and warm, and I can get changed on the beach without worrying about flashing my bum to everyone.
How do you listen to music underwater?! Is it waterproof?
This is something I get asked A LOT! I listen to music when swimming long distances and I swear it helps me find a rhythm and swim faster. I used to have a cheap waterproof MP3 player and swim buds but I recently upgraded to the Aftershokz bone conduction headphones and they are so much better.
Do I need a special wetsuit for sea swimming?
Nope! In a matter of fact, I swim in a bikini all wear round. I do, however, have a summer and a winter wetsuit for when I’m on a board and a 2mm Orca wetsuit for swimming.
The Orca wetsuit is designed specifically for swimming and is more flexible (and a little bit delicate!). I love it but it’s a little pricey – so a normal wetsuit will do until you decide if it’s right for you.
Wearing a wetsuit in the summer and not the winter might seem backward, but it means I can stay in the water for longer and it’s required for SLSC sessions.
Do you HAVE to wear a swim cap and goggles in the water?
Absolutely not. If you’re planning on swimming freestyle though then you’re going to want to wear goggles.
People are usually a little reluctant to wear a swim cap because they’re not exactly the sexiest attire, but they keep you warm and a little drier!
What do you do with your stuff on the beach?
For short swims, I leave my stuff on the beach and use a combination padlock if it’s busy.
If I’m swimming long distance, I’ll take a tow float. I live right next to the beach, so I don’t usually take much with me, and I’m not too worried if someone decides to nick my old towel.