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Friday, February 5, 2016

How To Teach Open Water To The Next Generation

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Parents and coaches often ask how their young athletes can develop a passion and yearning for the open water. We think there is plenty of advice, but these 10 steps are a good start.

1. Develop a love for the coastline and shoreline. Allow the children to play at the lake, sea, beach, ocean, and river - rather than look at it as a workout.

2. Share stories with them about the heroes of the sport and their fantastic accomplishments: Lewis Pugh swimming at 17,000 feet on Mount Everest or across the North Pole, Lynne Cox across the Bering Strait, Sally Minty-Gravett completing an English Channel swim once every 5 decades, Maarten van der Weijden's 2008 Olympic 10K Marathon Swim after coming back from leukemia, Natalie du Toit's qualification for the Olympic marathon swim despite not having a leg, and Craig Dietz's open water swims despite having no limbs.

3. Watch some open water documentaries: Defeating Oceans Seven, On A Clear Day, Two Swimmers, Driven, The Other Shore, and Tactics & Techniques of Elite Open Water Swimmers.

4. Teach them about sailing concepts, tides, currents, and eddies.

5. Teach them about marine life: sharks, jellyfish, whales, dolphins, turtles, and deep sea life.

6. Introduce books on open water swimming by Lynne Cox, Sylvia Earle, Linda McGill, Des Renford, Lewis Pugh, Lynn Sherr, Diana Nyad and others.

7. Watch TED Talks on open water swimming by Lewis Pugh, Diana Nyad, Maarten van der Weijden, Ori Sela, Vicki Keith, Dr Peter Attia, Tim Ferriss, and Dr Angel Yanagihara.

8. Ask the kids to paddle or kayak for their teammates first; enable them to guide/escort other swimmers. This will give them an appreciation for helping others.

9. Teach them excellent technique, both for the pool and open water.

10. Teach them the vernacular of open water swimming: 2,604 terms are posted here.

Photo shows renowned coach Siga Rose teaching the next generation of Mission Viejo Nadadores swimmers about the open water.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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