Open Water Swimming

02 May 2013

Open waterAlthough only officially recognised in 1986 by FINA, the world governing body for aquatics, Open Water Swimming goes back much further to the 1896 Olympic Games, and therefore is the forerunner of the indoor competitive swimming that we know today.

Under FINA, Open Water Swimming is defined as any competition that takes place in rivers, lakes, oceans or water channels, except for 10km events.  Marathon Swimming is defined as any 10km event in open water. Around the world many FINA open water events are now incorporated into major championships.

Lidos, or open air pools, give some of the experience of swimming outdoors; however they don’t really count as open water as they are still a pool environment, but they can be great fun.  Find your nearest Lido here.

Anyone undertaking open water swimming must be a competent swimmer. Whilst open water demands different skills to those of pool swimming, the differences are no greater than between freestyle and backstroke.

How do I get involved in open water?

  • Keep doing the training in the pool with your local club
  • Enter indoor races, such as indoor 5km Championship
  • If already on a distance programme keep to it, you are unlikely to need to change
  • Enter Regional Open water races
  • Make sure your first open water event is over a shorter distance
  • Having succeeded over the shorter distances enter a grand prix distance later in the season

Your performances will improve as your open water skills develop, but the key to success is the speed you have developed in the pool.

East Region Open Water Swimming Championships

This is an annual event which has been held at Whitlingham Great Broad, Trouse, near Norwich, since 2007 (see photo, left).  Entries have been increasing every year and the event now has the highest number of entries of all regional open water championships in England.  The championships could not be run without a huge effort from dedicated volunteers.  If you would like to help with the regional open water champs as an official or in any other capacity, please contact our Open Water Manager.

For details of our annual event, navigate to the Championships page via the Open Water drop-down menu at the top of the page.

The region's annual championships are where swimmers who finish in the top three in their race can qualify for the ASA National Open Water Championships.

East Region Open Water Development Camp

This camp is run by the region under the guidance of the ASA England Programmes Team and is aimed at swimmers aged 12-16 who have placed in the top three in their races at our regional open water championships.  They will be invited to the camp to work on improving their skills, tactics and understanding of open water swimming over two separate days, one indoors and one outdoors.

Further Information

For further information on open water swimming, please visit the Swim England's Competitive Swimming Hub which has an Introduction to Open Water Swimming.

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