Went for an ocean swim yesterday. Group Classes. Hard bloody work. Plenty of theory on reading beaches, rips, tides, wind etc and techniques on diving, sighting and swimming. Learning is one thing, doing something completely different.
I am not ready for a competitive ocean swim.
However I am confident in the pool and have some new techniques to integrate in my lap training that will help the next time I am in the ocean. Baby steps.
Worth it just for the boost in confidence with swimming past the breaks.
The great thing about Bondi Beach is that it is easy to read rips. There are some that are consistent with their location and you can use these to your advantage to help get you past the breakers. The best advice on the day was when you are learning to swim in the ocean, if you get caught in an undertow, do not panic. Relax and swim towards the side of the current, not against it. Generally a rip that pulls you out will have a current that draws you towards the shoreline beside it.
A few other lessons learned were on how to ‘sight’ when you are swimming. Sighting ensures that you are heading in the right direction while you are swimming in the ocean. At Bondi there are several landmarks that you can use to help you swim along the beach. Icebergs is great to use. Sighting in effect is when you lift your head forwards during a stroke instead of to the side, this action allows you to see what is in front and you correct your course accordingly.
Diving under waves and water in the correct manner is also taught to you by your tutors. I struggled a little here.
Oh and make sure you bring a good set of goggles. You’ll need these. It’s amazing how nice and clear Bondi Beach is once you get past the breakers. Worth it just for these underwater views.
I would recommend you are able to at least swim two kilometers in a swimming pool before heading out to an Ocean Swim class.