When a person thinks about open water swimming, there is a good chance that wind speeds are the last things to cross their minds, especially in a first open water swim race. Just as it is important to keep an eye on the local ocean life when you are swimming, the wind can also prove to be a foe that can cause you to seek shelter during a swim, or can set your off course, depending on the top speeds reached.
A calm wind at 1 km/h when you are open water swimming will likely be overlooked. The sea will appear calm and the wind speeds most likely won’t be noticeable. When the speeds increase to 5 km/h you will begin to notice some mild waves forming in the water but they won’t impact your swimming too much.
About 10 km/h you will start to notice waves that can slow you down as you are swimming. To avoid them, you can raise your stroke so that it goes above the waves. At the same time, you can breathe bilaterally, so you avoid swallowing too much water at this time. If possible, kick order and life your arms and head more than you normally would to get through this situation.
At 20 km/h you will start to regularly encounter white horses and the waves will be more pronounced. It is at this time, you can continue with your open water swimming with caution, while paying attention to the wind speeds. If they get too strong and the waters are too rough, you may want to have a spotter take you out of the water, so you can head towards safety together.
When winds are at 50 km/h it will be best that you are already out of the water. High waves will be present and will be sent in the direction of the wind. At these speeds hit the 70s, heavy amounts of foam that will be difficult to navigate through will be present. This will progressively get worse and about 100 km/h the sea will appear white due to the foam and the sea will be violent and dangerous to be in. If the winds hit 113 km/h or more, you will be faced with hurricane conditions which will prove to be deadly.
This is where keeping track of the local wind speeds and weather is important. While open water swimming races can be a great experience, you do need to ensure that you stay on top of more than it just being rain or shine. These winds can cause different concerns for the avid swimmer and natural swimmer and while winning a competition may make you fell awesome, risking your life in dangerous waters may not be worth the final prize. Keep that in mind the next time you prepare for a race in the open waters.
Today’s Daily Swimming Workout:
3 x 100 as 25 backstroke kick, 75 backstroke with fins on
8 x 150 as even numbers 50 backstroke, 50 backstroke side kick with arm stuck straight up in the air, 50 backstroke; odd numbers as 50 freestyle 2 beat kick, 50 freestyle with 6+ beat kick, 50 freestyle 2 beat kick – all the 150s with fins on
Pull 400 as 25 breaststoke, 75 freestyle, repeat
4 x 200 as 25 butterfly, 25 backstroke, 25 breastroke, 125 freestyle all with hand paddles on
4 x 50 alternating breast stroke and freestyle
Warm-down: 200 freestyle