Open Water Swimming

I’ve always been a fairly good swimmer and enjoy swim sessions in the pool, but driving back and forth to Aberystwyth to get to the pool is a bit of a pain.

I’ve therefore ordered myself a wetsuit and cap so that I can do some open-water swim training here in Borth and Ynyslas. I’m hoping to be able to use my Garmin Forerunner whilst I swim so that I can see how far / fast I go and with water all around us there should be plenty of places to swim.

I don’t know how well it will compare with swimming in the pool when it comes to quality swim training as the external factors of wind, tides, waves and of course the cold will all affect my swims but it should be fun. When it is calm I’ll be able to swim along the beach off the seafront, but as I’d like to swim in flatter water where possible I’ll probably head to the estuary and swim there instead. There are also a few buoys in estuary that I should be able to swim between / around which will allow me to do intervals and reproducible sessions.

I might also try swimming in the River Leri as it will be nice and calm there, although the currents will add to the fun! There are plenty of lakes in the hills around here too that I’m sure I will have to swim at some point. It may not be the best time of year to start as it’s going to start getting cold, but what better way to start the day than a cold 5am swim in the sea.

It seems as though there is a quite an few people into outdoor swimming or wild swimming and plenty of websites with information on doing it and where you can swim.

Wild Swimming has lots of information. It is trying to sell you a book about Wild Swimming but the website has lots of freelay available information as well.

The Outdoor Swimming Society has a nice website with lots of information too, including maps of places to swim, events and tips.

Hopefully as well as having some fun and exploring some new places from a slightly wetter perspective than usual, it will help with my swim fitness as well. Once a week at swim fit just isn’t enough to keep my swimming as good as it should be.

6 Responses

  1. Alan says:

    Grrrr… My new open-water swimming wetsuit just arrived but despite the fact that I’m 5’6″ and 70kg and the size guide states that a ‘small’ fits someone that is 5’3″-5’9″ and 62-75kg which puts me smack bang in the middle of that range, it is too small.

    I didn’t think a ‘small’ sounded right. So time to send it back and order a ‘Small Medium’ instead. Sizing for that says 5’6″ – 6’0″ and 66-78kg – Lets hope it fits.

    It’s not all bad though because in the process I became a ‘Platinum’ customer at Wiggle meaning I get 12% off all orders rather than the 5% I got for being a Gold customer – So the suit ends up being £15 cheaper than it was yesterday – At least that will cover the postage for the return.


  2. Alan says:

    Shame that as I just about had enough time to test it out today as well.


  3. Alan says:

    New wetsuit is on route – but won’t arrive until Tuesday thanks to the Bank Holiday.

    I’m planning some nice long swims already.


  4. Caroline says:

    Hi Alan – we’re coming to the area for a weeks holiday soon and I was searching for information about wild swimming in the area and found your blog ! Any tips on local lakes / pools ? We’re happy to swim in the sea but it would be nice to know about any local freshwater swimming. Cheers 🙂

    • Alan says:

      Hi Caroline,
      There are loads of places that you can swim in freshwater around here. Lots of nice pools and rivers up in the hills and some nice lakes too. I’m not sure on the legality of all of the lakes mind so I won’t recommend any of those, but if you’re looking for pools and waterfalls then there are lots, although they aren’t always that easy to find. There’s a few nice spots on the Rheidol, one that is easy to find as it is right at the end of the Cwm Rheidol Road – Just drive to the end and there’s a parking spot by the old mine workings and some nice pools and waterfalls to swim in.

      There are plenty on the Ystwyth too and many more out in the hills. The pools at the top of the walk around Dolgoch Falls to the north of us are really nice as well.


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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.

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