6 Tips on How to Conquer Fear of Open Water Swimming

Extreme fear of water is one of the commonest ones out there. So, people who have this sort of fear should know that they are not alone. Several studies have shown that little over 14 million people worldwide don’t feel comfortable in the water. However, staying out of the water means you will miss a valuable experience.

Swimming in a pool and an open sea are not the same. That is why there two are regarded as two different disciplines. We admit that open water swimming can seem intimidating, especially to those not confident enough regarding these skills. However, that doesn’t mean an individual cannot overcome this fear. Today, we want to present you with tips on how to do just that.

1.) Understand Your Fear

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Understanding and embracing your fears sounds much easier than it is. We are talking about something Understanding and embracing your fears sounds much easier than it is. However, we are talking about something irrational. Therefore, you cannot resolve it swiftly. 

Every process of overcoming a fear starts within ourselves. First, we must listen to our inner voice and what it says. Then, when that inner voice doesn’t say positive things, try to combat it. For example, being scared of water is quite common, as we’ve already said. 

Open water is vast, deep, and has many unknowns we have to face. Unfortunately, most people had an experience that troubles them to the present day. But that doesn’t mean that open water swimming is always dangerous.

So, whenever you are faced with the pressure coming from your inner voice, try to remember all the times you saw people swimming without consequences. Also, support your positive thoughts by following the tips you got from a professional and the equipment that will ensure your safety.

2.) Practice

The first practical thing you should do is practice as much as you can. You need to start with some baby steps before you are confident enough. Therefore, we advise you to take these baby steps in a pool. For instance, start with pools whose entire distance is 50 meters, then slowly move towards bigger ones whenever you’re ready.

Before you are ready for the next step, you should swim a smaller distance several times. Two laps at a 50-meter pool sound will be more than enough initially. One of the things people fear the most is that they cannot rest while in open water.

Because of that, learning how to flip on your back and float is crucial before you are ready to continue. Plus, we feel it is important to avoid touching the pool’s walls. These are places where you can rest. Removing them as a possibility will help you learn to rely only on your competence, which is always useful for boosting self-confidence.

3.) Breathing Techniques

Anxiety is at the very root of the fear of swimming. Anxiety attacks come whenever we are unsure what to do in a certain situation. The most efficient way to overcome an anxiety attack is to control your emotions fully. Unfortunately, not many things are effective in this regard as breathing techniques.

Try to relax your shoulders whenever you feel anxiety coming while in water. After that, take a deep breath, which should last at least a few seconds. Then slowly exhale. Repeat this as many times as you need before you are ready to continue swimming. It is a simple truck, but it always helps in times of need.

4.) Physical Preparation

Besides physiological preparation, you should also commit much time to the physical component. For example, open water swimming requires a lot of strength on behalf of the athlete. That way, the athlete can withstand all the challenges that will pop up during the race.

You should be competent enough to change the pace during the race. Sometimes, you will be required to utilize the normal pace, while in other moments, you will need to up the tempo. Professionals know just how challenging this can be if you are not physically ready for it.

The key element is consistency. Not being able to withstand all the physical requirements will certainly not lead to a successful athlete in this discipline. Therefore, invest as many hours into your physical preparation as needed.

5.) Look for a Coach

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Overcoming the challenges of open water swimming is not a journey you should undergo alone. Instead, finding an experienced coach is one of the best decisions you can make. That professional should be capable of understanding your fear and providing you with assistance with overcoming all the small elements that make your fear.

Building your confidence is as important as learning all the techniques to make you a better swimmer. Be sure to provide the coach with all the information about the emotions that water triggers in you – and luckily, here at Swim Like A. Fish we offer Virtual Coaching Packages for swimmers JUST LIKE YOU! We know this may be uncomfortable for many individuals, but the feeling of beating the fear will be a rewarding experience.

6.) Train in Full Gear

You should proceed with advanced training when you have overcome your fear and are ready to prepare for open-water swimming. First, wear a wetsuit. By doing that, you will better understand the feeling wearing one of these provides to the human body while in water.

Also, try out a couple of goggles before choosing the ones that fit your preferences the best. Besides these two, a cap, sunscreen, and tow float are also an absolute must. Finally, one of the things professionals always point out is incorporating hydration and nutrition.

The best way to ensure these two will be on a proper level is to devise a schedule. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be a long time before you can do so. More or less, you will need three or four training sessions before you have a proper understanding of your body’s needs.


Conquering your fears is a complex procedure. There are so many elements that require your attention before you are ready. Here, we’ve disclosed some of the most significant ones. We’re sure you will find them helpful.

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