A Beginner’s Guide to SwimQuest Swimming Holidays
DON’T worry too much about training for your trip
It’s not a bad idea to do some swimming in preparation for your first swimming holiday, however don’t worry if you haven’t managed to get to the pool (or lake, or sea) as often as you would have liked. SwimQuest trips are designed to be suitable for all abilities, and no one will hold you to ransom if you find you don’t want to swim quite as much as the itinerary suggests. We tend to start the week easy, with an acclimatization swim in a safe bay or beach, and then build swim distances throughout the week. On a typical swim trip, the acclimatization swim tends to be around 400-800m, and then by the end of the week the longer swims are around the 5km mark. If 800m sounds scary, you may wish to consider one of our technique trips, which are suitable for all abilities. If you are super keen and you would like a training plan pre trip, please feel free to email us to ask for one. Olympian and open water medallist Cassie Patten has created some great plans for us which we can send over to help get you going.
DO treat yourself for a few swimming luxuries!
A swimming holiday is a great opportunity to flaunt a new cossie / some bright trunks and it’s well worth investing in a couple of pairs of decent goggles to make sure you don’t miss any underwater action with an old, misty scratched pair.
Use QUEST10 at www.mailsports.co.uk to claim a 10% discount on any Mailsports purchase. Why not pre order a SwimQuest hoody, tee or vest top too?
DO drink lots of water …
It’s easy to get dehydrated without realizing it if you are swimming a lot and spending time in the sun. Bring your own sports water bottle to help us save on plastic use abroad.
DO bring high factor sunscreen, and wear it!
Apply and reapply regularly, even if it is cloudy. Ask the guides / your fellow guests to apply suncream to your back, and don’t forget the backs of your legs and your bum – it is so easy to get burnt in the water. Ensure you apply suncream to your face with enough time for it to sink in before you swim, else it tends to wash off into your eyes / goggles.
DO take advantage of the vaseline …
It sounds strange we know, but when swimming in salt water, most people tend to find they chaff somewhere. For women the most common chaffing areas are cossie straps, underarms and between the legs, and for men, shoulders (it’s a good idea to be clean shaven if you can bear it on holiday) and under the arms. Don’t be alarmed when the swim guides brandish rubber gloves and offer to apply the vaseline for you pre swim – it is so that you don’t get the stuff on your goggles, otherwise you won’t get it off easy and your vision will be blurred for your swim.
DON’T rush the acclimatisation swim
On the first day of your trip, the guides will organise a gentle ‘acclimatisation swim’, which will help you receive any pre trips nerves get you used to the water, and help the guides figure out your pace and ability so they can plan the swims accordingly. Usually, groups will be divided into two / three speed groups.
DO speak to your guides if you are worried about anything
Our swim guides are here to help you. If you are feeling nervous, ill, or tired just let them know. They will keep an eye on you, and adapt the swim to help you if necessary. Often if we have a smaller group, one of the guides may be able to get in the water with you for some or all of the swim. Similarly – if you are ready and ready to go, and would like to push yourself a little more or swim further – just ask – wherever we can we will ensure that we make it happen! If you have any problems with your rooms, let the guides know as soon as you can – the sooner they know, the sooner we can work to get things sorted with our hotel staff.
DO take advantage of the video analysis
On most SwimQuest holidays we offer video analysis early in the week, so that we can help you with your swim stroke and offer handy technique tips throughout the trip. You’ll have lots of time in the water during the week, so petty of opportunity to brush up on a few things and tidy up your stroke. If you are new to open water, our guides can also be able to give you tips on how to ‘sight’ (look where you are going whilst you are swimming!), breathe and manage slightly choppier conditions.
DON’T fight the water
Try to remain relaxed when you swim – whatever the conditions. Don’t fight the water, it will always win! Think ‘long and calm’ – you will tire much less quickly and find your swim experience much more enjoyable.
DO delight in nature’s unpredictability
Weather is unpredictable. Part of the joy of open water swimming is that no swim is ever the same, even if you swim the same route. The wind, the light, the water – can all feel different on any given day. It is not unusual on a trip for the swim guides to have to change the swim itinerary to suit the weather conditions, so be prepared that your itinerary may be shuffled around a little day by day. If the water is a little choppier than you had liked, just relax and enjoy it – it is great practice to swim in different conditions. We will try our every best to ensure that you always get two swims a day – and it is very rare we have to cancel a swim, we may just adapt it a little.