The differences between pool and open water swimming

We feel responsible about how our students will “enter” in their swimming life this summer. They should do it, because Stockholm has fantastic places for bathing. However we should warn you about the  differences between pool and open water swimming.


Yes, you will feel the difference! Our swimming pool is just perfect for sensible beginners, as the temperature is the same as in babies swimming pool, around 29 degrees. In open water around Stockholm the temperature doesn’t use to be more than 22 degrees.

When the air and water temperatures outside are low it can significantly affect your physical ability to swim relaxed. Also breathing can be more difficult, arms can feel heavier and mentally it can affect your concentration. However, swimming in open water will burn more calories than the pool as the body has to work harder in the cold.

Psychological aspects

The differences aren’t just temperature, open water has a number of other mental challenges which don’t exist in the pool. You cannot stand up in the middle of a lake or sea like a pool which is a controlled area. You may also not be able to see anything apart from darkness below and therefore the feeling of being out of your depth or what lies underneath can be a challenge to overcome.

Training itself

Consider this: In a pool, about 20 percent of your time consists of breaks from stroking, while you push off the wall. In open water, there are no rest breaks for weary arms.

We find useful to try 50 meters swimming pool before starting to swim in open water. It will help to have longer, less-hurried, stroke, which is huge advantage in open water.

As there are no walls to push off from, you will be swimming continuously; don’t swim too far on the first outing, gauge how far you can swim without getting too tired, swim along a bank or shore. Always swim with someone else even if they are spotting you from the shore and swim within your own limitations.

Follow our news to read the best tips for open water beginners next week!


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