Have you ever heard the kids say, “Ee, i don’t like to swim in the sea, the water is very salty!”
It sounds really strange. Of course sea water is salty!
But what about us rational adults, are we any better?
It is no different why some (a lot, really) swimmers prefer to swim in the pool rather than in the open sea.
What is the thing about pool swimming?
- Like running on the running track where every lap on the stadium track is 400m, every lap is 50m in an Olympic-sized pool. It is reassuring to know exactly how fast you are swimming and you can calibrate your effort.
- There are no distractions, only you and the black line. Even if there is another swimmer, you know it is another swimmer and not Jaws (showing my age – who under 25 in 2016 know what is Jaws?).
- Pool water is just like the water from the tap albeit with a bit more chlorine. Not salty, no hydrocarbons from the ships at our shores or any rubbish or stuff that float around, no sea bugs, nothing but maybe trash like used plaster left in the bottom of the pool by other swimmers.
- There are no waves or other natural elements to contend with. Your strokes will not be messed up in any way.
- No need to sight! You will always swim in a straight line!
- Can swim almost any time when the pool is open, except in bad weather due to lighting alert. No need to limit to daylight hours or during high tide.
- Should anything happen to you, the lifeguard is less than 50m away. The deepest part in most pools is only 2.5m – you can sink down then push off from the bottom easily and continue to shout for help. It’s really hard to die in a pool.
Pool swimming is familiar and safe. Your workouts will be precise.
What is it about sea swimming that so many swimmers love?
- It is in the nature! The sea, the waves, the wind, the sun, the joy of being out there.
- You can ‘freestyle’ and just swim rather than to just follow the black line, keep to your lane or do flip turn.
- With clearer water, you can see other living creatures in the water. In some places, it is like swimming on top of a very big aquarium.
- You can be swimming against the current or riding the waves, not unlike cycling with a tail wind!
- Have a party after, legitimately. You can’t even drink from your water bottle in most pools.
- It usually costs nothing to swim at the beach; no need for membership, no entrance fees, no restriction in the use of any gear.
It can be spontaneous, fun and a bigger challenge! Who wants to swim 20km in the pool? That’s like someone who would rather run a marathon on the treadmill instead of traversing across Tokyo (in the Tokyo marathon for example) passing the palace and city center amongst other sights en route.
Obviously you need to be quite confident in the water to enjoy swimming in the sea and you also need to know what to do if you encounter any danger in the sea. Learn to do the right things – safe entry, beach safety, swim along the shore line or how to sight, check when the tide is coming in, watch out for riptide, undertow and make sure someone can see you from the shore and help you when it is needed.
For me, it is not a choice, because I enjoy both!
So can you – but get your technique right and learn up on safety rules and precautions first, then get out there and have fun!