Long Swim Prep

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Planning and What to Bring

  • Nutrition - Eating something before the swim, but not too close to the time of the swim is important. Fast digestible carbs are great. I like to fuel up on pancakes, a banana or a green smoothie. Feel free to also carb load the night before! I love using a long swim as an excuse to eat tons of pasta. I enjoyed this article on nutrition from US Masters Swimming. Before swimming, also drink PLENTY of water. 

  • Tide Planning - I love the Real Tide app. I still don't know everything about the tides, but my swim friends and I figure it out. If the tide is not perfect, just do your best! My boyfriend also wing surfs, so I end up collaborating with him often to figure out the tidal situation. On a basic level, swimming with the current or at slack tide are the easiest, it'll be rougher to swim against the current. If you're swimming around an island, likely one side will always be more choppy than the other. 

  • Long distance swims require some extra up-front planning - You'll need to pack your buoy with everything you need for the swim, warm clothes for the ending point, and plan for rides. You can alternatively tie a buoy somewhere in the mid-point of your swim with food and water, but I prefer to carry eveyrything with me. Here are some packing tips: 

  • Buoy Pack List

    • Nutrients, something easily digestible (I love Cliff Bar Bloks). 

    • Water in a light-weight water bottle (biking water bottles are perfect!) Nalgenes are heavy and will weigh down the buoy.

    • Light-weight flip flops to walk around in when you're done swimming. Booties are fine too, I've walked a mile in them but they don't have as much protection from crap on the ground! 

    • Cell phone in a waterproof case, inside a dry sack 

    • ID 

    • Cash 

    • Tri-glide for chafing 

    • Booties, gloves, ear plugs, two swim caps, goggles (bring an extra pair in case they break!) 

  • End Point Pack List You need to pack a bucket or bag for the end of your swim. Give it to someone who will meet you at the end point, risk leaving it unattended at the end point with a note that you'll be back, or drive a car to the end point and have someone drop you off at the starting point (or Uber). Here's what I recommend:

    • Swim parka​​

    • Towel

    • Extra change of clothes that you can quickly put on 

You'll likely need to coordinate rides, end point pick ups, etc. with someone and give them an estimated time when you expect to be done with the swim. 

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NOTE: I am not an expert and this site is meant to give you tips on OWS and some ideas for adventures. If you're really serious about OWS, a swim coach is probably helpful. Your safety is ultimately in your own hands. Be smart out there and have fun!