Introduction to Open Water Swimming


If you are new to open water swimming or racing your first triathlon or open water swim event, join us at Bray Lake for an introduction to open water.  We appreciated that open water swimming can be a daunting experience for newcomers and  even experienced pool swimmers and our qualified coaching team are dedicated to supporting our new athletes to ensure we create a safe and enjoyable environment.

We have four coached stages on offer and encourage anyone new to open water to at least attend stage 1 (£25) – novice intro to open water. Any stage after that is optional but it will extend your knowledge and allow you to gain open water experience in a controlled and supportive environment. We will help you to build your stamina and endurance to swim further with better technique and less effort. Numbers will be limited for all coached sessions within this series to ensure quality coaching time is dedicated to each participant.

Stages 1-4 can be purchased as a package for £75 (includes lake entry). To book the complete course, register below for stage 1 and choose the full course option.

Stage 1 – Novice Intro to Open Water Swimming

Where:          Bray Lake Watersports Centre, Monkey Island Lane, SL6 2EB (just off the Windsor Rd)

When:           Most Tuesday evenings from April 2018 to mid August – we have no further dates schedule this season however if there is sufficient demand we will add a date in early September

Time:            7:15pm – 8pm

Cost:             £25 (including lake entry)

Call us on 07511 501312 or email Jas at for further information.

Ideal for 1st time open water swimmers regardless of swimming ability. (Minimum standard; you must be able to swim 200m, 8 lengths of 25m pool.)

Stage 1 covers

  • Dry land introduction to open water
  • Putting on your wetsuit properly (you can hire a wetsuit from us)
  • Swim hats, neoprene hats, gloves and goggles and other equipment
  • Understanding open water environments (safety in lakes, rivers and oceans)
  • Open water adaptation, especially cold-water acclimatization.
  • Dealing with fear, nerves, understanding anxiety and coping strategies
  • Entering the water for the first time, demisting goggles, acclimatization and awareness
  • Guidance on breathing techniques in open water for front crawl and breaststroke
  • Basic sighting in open water

                                                                               Minimum distance covered 250m

Stage 2: Building your confidence.

This session moves on from the novice introduction and begins to take on the wider expanse of the lake.

When:          Thursday 9 August – 7-8pm.

Cost:             £20 (including lake entry)

To book:       Email Jas to make a booking –

Stage 2 covers:

  • A dry land brief recap of some of the points raised in stage 1
  • Acclimatization to cold water recap, and how to manage this in the stressful environment before a race
  • Sighting and swimming in straight lines (ie shortest distance) coping with an uneven stroke which pulls you to one side
  • Deep water starts and where to start in your first race (individually tailored for ability)
  • Pacing your first race
  • Improving your front crawl stroke (focus on technique and breathing in order to swim smoother and more economically)

                                                                                Minimum distance covered 400m

Stage 3: Increasing endurance and improving skills.

This session moves on from level 2 to take on one of the “big laps”, demanding more endurance and a bigger enforces on improved open water skills.

When:           Tuesday 14 August – 7-8pm, Thursday 9 August – 7-8pm.

Cost:             £20 (including lake entry)

To book:       Email Jas to make a booking –

Stage 3 covers:

  • Dry land and water entry test to see what you have learnt from stages 1 and 2
  • After a brief warm up and acclimatization, a deep water start and “sighting test”, then further development of sighting skills to ensure swimming in straight lines (ie shortest distance)
  • Race craft development including turning around buoys and maneuvering around other swimmers
  • Improving your front crawl stroke (further focus on technique and breathing in order to swim smoother and more economically)

                                                                               Minimum distance covered 750m

Stage 4: The 1 kilometer test swim.

This is the final stage of the open water swim course (only for people who have attended at least Stage 1); it tests the swimmer over the biggest lap in the lake – “the kilo”. If we agree you are ready to take on the challenge we will ask you to swim a lap of the entire lake. We will be on hand to help should you have any problems.

Stage 4: Includes video analysis of your lap in order to help improve your front crawl stroke and sighting.

When:          Tuesday 21 August – 7-8pm

Cost:             £25 (including lake entry)

To book:       Email Jas to make a booking –

                                                                              Minimum distance covered 1000m

Equipment required for each session:

  • Swim or tri suit
  • Towel
  • Swim Hat (we supply)
  • Goggles
  • Wetsuit (we can hire you a wetsuit please email or call tel: 07511 501312 so we can reserve your size)
  • Optional flip flops to walk down to waters edge.