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8 Ways To Beat Open Water Nerves


The swim is probably part of the triathlon that beginners fear the most – despite being the shortest of the three disciplines. Here are some ways how to overcome your fear in an open water swim.

1. Trust your ability, you have to believe in yourself even if others doubt you. It’s your belief that counts!

2. Don’t talk about failure – if anyone asks you how you feel about the swim race or triathlon, dismiss any negatives and say “I’m looking forward to the challenge.” It is human nature to protect ourselves from disappointment. I found that being positive, even when at times, in reality, I wasn’t quite as confident as I made out, I could almost trick my brain to shut out any negative thoughts and emotions.

3. Avoid negative people – they can be like emotional vampires and sap the positive life out of you and make you doubt yourself.

4. Never say negative words such as cold or failure – don’t make them real. Tell yourself constantly that you were warm, comfortable, and enjoying being part of something different and memorable. If you are thinking positive thoughts you can’t be thinking negative ones at the same time. There are thought-stopping techniques you can use if you find you’re drifting into negative ones.

5. Think about why you are doing the event – whether it’s a personal challenge, for charity, or something else entirely, you’ve got to keep reminding yourself of those reasons and how much you want it!

6. Visualize about the feeling of achieving the swim, how accomplished you will feel, and how proud everyone will be of you. Focus on the end goal!!

7. Always have the next event planned, then the immediate one isn’t the only challenge and is just part of a process.

8. Laugh lots – enjoy the experience of open water swimming. It will be tough at times but if it was easy everyone would be doing it. No, you are not alone, others are feeling the same way you do. Always try and joke through any nerves and enjoy the moment. Be proud that you are different and unique. Remember this is your destiny and you are in full control of it!!

Stuart has competed in triathlons from Sprint to Ironman distance. As a qualified Triathlon Australia, Australian Athletics Run Coach, and a certified Ironman coach, he is aware of the importance of balancing training with lifestyle, thus complementing other important aspects of an athlete’s life (family, work, study commitments, etc.).

Contact Stuart at



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