5 Tips on How to Overcome Open Water Swimming Challenges by Dina Levačić

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5 Tips on How to Overcome Open Water Swimming Challenges


BY DINA LEVAČIĆ

At the tender age of 22, Dina Levačić is an open water swimming phenomenon, with a Triple Crown within 90 days (20 Bridges Manhattan, Catalina Channel, and The English Channel) and many more successfully completed swimathons under her belt. This rarely gifted swimmer is also a student of Rehabilitation and an active humanitarian, making her the ideal person to share tips on how to overcome initial OW swimming challenges.

5 TIPS ON HOW TO OVERCOME OPEN WATER SWIMMING CHALLENGES


BY DINA LEVAČIĆ

At the tender age of 22, Dina Levačić is an open water swimming phenomenon, with a Triple Crown within 90 days (20 Bridges Manhattan, Catalina Channel, and The English Channel) and many more successfully completed swimathons under her belt. This rarely gifted swimmer is also a student of Rehabilitation and an active humanitarian, making her the ideal person to share tips on how to overcome initial OW swimming challenges.

1. Swim a Lot and Then a Bit More

As one would expect, one of the most important things you need to do when preparing for an open water swim is to swim a lot during training. Naturally, the distances you swim in training will depend on the distance you’re preparing for, but you should set some goals in order to check your level of fitness and readiness, just as if you would if you went running. Before deciding to give long-distance swimming a shot, you should be well aware of the distance you can manage, because if you get tired or have to take a break, you can’t just stop and sit down like you could if on land.

2. Deep Waters & Darkness

Fear of deep water and darkness keeps a lot of people from even attempting open water swimming. Best advice here is to start swimming in the deep waters when you’re a child because fear doesn’t exist at young age. Unfortunately, this isn’t an option any longer for most people, in which case the best would be to start swimming in deeper waters in an area you’re very familiar with and know it’s completely safe. This will help you relax and realise that there’s nothing to be afraid of.

3. With Nature & Not Against It

One of the biggest challenges when it comes to open water swimming are the waves. Many swimmers waste a lot of their energy trying to battle waves, and consequently face a lot of problems during their swim. Like anything else, in order to become the wave master, one should practise in the pool, as well as in real-life conditions where waves occur. Waves are often the reason why swimmers lose a lot of their strength because they fight against the waves/sea instead of just working with them.

4. Use Your Head When Swimming

Besides being physically ready for an open water swim, it’s of paramount importance to be mentally prepared for the challenge as well. More often than not, it’s easier to get yourself physically rather than mentally fit. Developing psychological readiness takes a lot of time and experience. You need to learn how to get over a crisis and how to block your fears, if they exist, and not let them get the best of you while swimming. The best advice I can give to get over a crisis is to set yourself a number of smaller goals during a swim.

5. Swimming in the Dark

In some extreme cases, during a long-distance swim, you will be required to swim during the night, i.e. in the dark. Here swimmers encounter yet another psychological burden to get over. Fear of the unknown and lack of orientation make swimming in the dark very challenging. When you swim during the night, safety is crucial. It starts with appropriate equipment, such as signal lights and entourage. As previously mentioned, it’s important to adapt, like you would to swimming in deep water. That’s why I would suggest you start swimming in an area where you feel safe, do short swims at first and then prolong them as you improve.

ABOUT DINA


At the age of 22, the young Croatian swimmer Dina Levačić is safely en route to becoming a legend of open water swimming.

In 2017 Dina became the sixth person ever (second woman) to swim the big three - 20 Bridges Manhattan, Catalina Channel, and The English Channel - in a 90-day period! In addition, she completed some of the world's most challenging swimathons, including the Molokai Channel, Hernandarias - Parana, Santa Fe, Capri - Napoli and Lac St. Jean, to mention just some.

Is she a professional swimmer? Far from it. Dina is currently completing her Master's degree in Rehabilitation at Zagreb University and using every opportunity she can to run humanitarian events for children with special needs and people with disability, thus combining her swimming prowess with her passion for helping people.

Is there a better person to lead you into the world of OW swimming? We don't think so.

Learn more and follow Dina on Instagram.

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