Why Talk about Swimming in Open Water?

You would think that, with water covering 70% of the earth’s surface, with most human populations living nearby a body of water, and human evolution suggesting that most life forms today evolved from the sea, that most adults should have a pretty healthy relationship with water. But most do not. In Western countries, less than half of adults are competent swimmers, and the rest have varying degrees of anxiety associated with being on, or in, large bodies of water.

Although swimming lessons are generally ubiquitous in most countries, they are not usually a mandatory part of the education curriculum, and often do not succeed in maintaining interest for long enough to develop swimming competence–enough to be able to swim a few hundred meters in open water.  This often leaves large numbers of adults with incomplete swimming abilities, which can leave them vulnerable to drowning even within 50 meters of shore, and even chronically anxious with spending time in watery environments–e.g., boating, paddling, fishing, spending time at the beach or the pool.  Such anxiety and lack of confidence can come to permeate other areas of life.

Fortunately, in recent decades, many adults have been willing to wade back into the development of their swimming skills, in part due to the growth and popularity of both triathlon and open water swimming. As a result, this site is intended to help adult swimmers on their journey to becoming competent open water swimmers. If this is your first time visiting this site, Welcome. We hope that the content shared here will help you complete your journey, and encourage you to share your perspectives on learning to swim as an adult, and in particular, developing competence and confidence in open water.

Mark Fromberg

60-something open water swimmer, trail runner, gym rat, retired MD, writer, consumed with optimal health in retirement

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