The Zen of Swimming – Swimming in rough or cold oceans on race day

Jon started doing ocean races about 15 years ago, including all the New Zealand Ocean Swim Series. As a swimmer without a previous competitive background he has had to work on ways of becoming more efficient and smart with training and racing.

He wrote the ebook “The Zen of Swimming” to look at how to have fun doing races and improve performance from a layman’s point of view.

Read a snippet of his book below, the full eBook can be downloaded from Amazon


Swimming in rough or cold oceans on race day:

Have you ever trained hard in the pool all year and when it came to race day in the ocean all your best efforts went out the door due to the rough or cold conditions (like we had at the recent Harbour Crossing). You aren’t alone if that’s your experience!

Racing or swimming in the ocean is variable due to the effects of tides, wind, and swell, so each time you swim in the same ocean for a race your time can vary. I like to start swimming in the ocean a good month before the first event to familiarise myself with ocean conditions. You need to get used to all the vagaries of the ocean mentioned plus the locals like jellyfish or seaweed!

When racing I like to get a good warmup in the sea beforehand to get the feel of the water. You may find it is calm at the start, but rough once you get further out so have a look if you can further out from the start. The key is to relax and treat the ocean as your friend. Don’t fight the chop or swell or you will get tired easily. Roll more from your core so you aren’t hitting the chop head on as much. If you can, try to use the waves to surf with. You may have to slow your pace down until you find calmer water.

Jon Muller