Open water swimming is a growing discipline with many people taking to lakes, the sea, rivers and other bodies of water to enjoy the benefits of water either in a competitive sense - think triathlon, aquathon, IronMan - or for leisure and well-being, especially with the weather warming up. Between May and October is the ideal time to take open water swimming up as the water temperature sits between 17 and 20c.
To get started, there are definitely a few pointers to consider
1. If possible, swim at a supervised centre where you may be encouraged to book onto an introductory session to give you the basics and especially the safety aspect. There will liikely be safety marshalls on site to keep you safe and boost confidence.
2. Be mindful that swimming in open water is very different from a swimming pool so consider what equipment you might require. An open water swimming wetsuit will offer increased buoyancy if you are in the water training for a specific event but a regular full or shortie wetsuit will keep you warm too.
3. A tow float that can double up as a waterproof dry bag will keep you visible to other swimmers, allow you to rest and let you keep your phone, tracking device etc close by. A swimming cap is often compulsory for visibility at specific venues
4. Neoprene gloves, hood and booties or sox on cooler days
5. Think about after your swim and how to warm up and stay warm. Peeq Sports offer a selection of changing towels and robes
To read up more on venues, events and coaching courses, NOWCA is a great place to start.