Swimming in Open Water

Sporting Kortni Jeane swimmers oceanside is one of our all time favorite things! Whether you’re riding the waves, lounging on the sand, or snorkeling with the fishies, our suits are made to play! As much fun as the ocean can be, there is something very intimidating about swimming in open water. To help anyone who’s feeling anxious or unsure about the ocean, we’ve thrown together tips and tricks to help you feel more comfortable and relaxed swimming in deep + open water. Give these things a try the next time you’re playing oceanside so you don’t miss out on the fun! 
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1. The Ocean is Nothing Like the Pool
Our first and most important tip is to remember that swimming in the pool is very different from swimming in the open water. Strength and skill set are very useful when enjoying the pool, but the ocean means you have to be adaptable. Strong open water swimmers have the ability to change their stroke depending on the conditions (like if they’re hit by a wave or if there’s a change in the current). One way to think about it is that a confident swimmer that can swim nonstop in a pool for 30 minutes will be able to swim for 15 minutes in the ocean before getting tired. So if you’re swimming in open water, practice being adaptable and recognizing that you may get tired quickly. 
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2. Practice Floating in Shallow Areas
Floating in the ocean is a breeze thanks to the higher salt content, so why not use that to your advantage?! Stress and fear is your number one enemy when you’re swimming in the ocean so it’s important to practice floating in water that is constantly moving. The goal here is to get comfortable with floating face-up on the surface without using extra energy. Relax your arms + legs as much as possible, notice what happens when you inhale and exhale, and work on controlling your breathing. When you exhale, you tend to lose buoyancy so practice breathing with a smaller amplitude so you don’t exhale too much air in your lungs all at once. 
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3. Practice Floating Face Down
Once you feel comfortable on your back, it’s time to level up and practice floating face down. Walk out to a waist-deep area in the ocean and then slowly put your face down in the water with a snorkel mask. Notice how you don’t need to use extra energy to safely float on the surface - all it takes is simple breathing and relaxing. Hold onto a flotation device if you need it to feel relaxed but keep practicing breathing with a small amplitude so you don’t lose your buoyancy. The air in your lungs are your natural floatation devices in the water!
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4. Practice Swimming without Touching the Bottom
After you’ve mastered floating on your back and face down, it’s time to level up towards swimming around without touching the bottom. Start by swimming forward a few meters while breathing through the snorkel with your face down in the water. Propel yourself forward, stay relaxed, then stop after a minute or two, change directions, don’t touch the bottom, and then swim back to where you started. This will help you gain confidence with the safety of the shallow water until you’re ready to move into deeper water. 
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5. Understand Rip Currents
Like us, you’ve probably heard horror stories about rip currents, which can make the ocean feel even more daunting. But the best way to overcome fear of currents is to understand them better! Rip currents are channels of water flowing away from shore and typically form at breaks in sandbars. They’re dangerous as they can pull people away from shore and their speeds vary/can quickly increase. If you’re ever caught in a rip current, the key is to relax. Currents don’t pull you under water. Make sure you don’t swim against the current either - you’ll tire yourself out and risk drowning from fatigue. Your best bet is to swim out of the current in a direction following the shoreline or toward breaking waves, then at an angle toward the beach. You can also escape by floating or treading water if the current circulates back towards shore. If you feel like you can’t reach shore, draw attention to yourself by yelling or waving but without panicking. It’s important to remain as relaxed as you can. 
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We hope you practice these tips + tricks so you can gain some confidence in the ocean water! Our last tip is to pay attention to lifeguards, signs, and locals. No matter how strong of a swimmer you are, there are people and resources there to keep you safe and they know the area better than you (typically). Most of all, make sure you’re being safe, smart, and having fun out there. The ocean, like any water source, can be fun when it’s respected. So don’t hesitate to slip into your Kortni Jeane swimsuits and have a blast making sand castles and riding the waves! 
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xoxo
Kortni + Team
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