Dr. Mohammed Marouf gives us three key tips to better manage open water swimming challenges and reach for the next level. Dr. Marouf is an Egyptian marathon swimming legend, Canadian University Head Swimming Coach, Marathon Swimmer Hall of Famer, multi-World Open Water Champion, and former Head Coach of the Canadian National Open Water team.
With nearly two decades of experience both swimming at the elite level and coaching, Dr. Marouf is responsible for developing a generation of open water champions succeeding in his footsteps. He breaks down the top three key elements swimmers need to get their open water racing to the next level.
Tip One: Build Adaptation
1. Gain experience swimming in all types of weather conditions. Rainy, cold, warm, choppy waves, windy, foggy, etc. This gives swimmers the ability to adapt and get a feel for the constantly changing conditions in the water. Don’t skip a training session because the weather isn’t perfect. That being said, make sure the conditions are safe enough to swim.
2. Gradually increase your open water swimming distance.
For example, swimmers should start with a 2-kilometer workout, then 2.5-kilometer workout, and graduate from one distance to the next with the goal of setting achievable goals.
Tip Two: Pay Close Attention to Nutrition
1. Get the right sources of energy. Fuel your body by having in mind the effort that is about to take place.
2. During the race, don’t reach a state of fuel depletion. It is crucial in open water to supply your body with nutrition frequently to avoid energy depletion and to maintain a high level of energy. Swimmers who haven’t refueled properly before, during, and after the race can be in real danger.
Tip Three: Don't Forget to Recover
Post-race recovery is crucial as the body has experienced incredible effort from racing and the changing temperatures may leave certain swimmers in a state of exhaustion. Recuperation is crucial in recuperating from such a feat. Nutrition, massage therapy, and sleep are essential to help the body bounce back.