8 Reasons Why Outdoor Swimming Is the Best (and Worst) Type of Training

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

By Taylor Padington, Swimming World College Intern

Summertime: the months that involve driving in a convertible with the windows down, blasting the latest Justin Bieber hit. Summertime: also known as the time for inevitable one-piece suit tans, burnt faces and bleached hair.

Here is a list as to why we swimmers have a love/hate relationship with swimming outside in the summer.

1. One Piece Suit Tans


Photo Courtesy: Erin Earley

Yay the sun is out, no more looking like a ghost! We swimmers love the sun, and the tanning that comes with swimming outside four hours each day. After about a week of training we pull on our cutest top only to reveal that we have a killer one piece tan which we will complain about to our friends but secretly admire. Guys, if you’re smart you’ll start to wear a brief. Less clothing = less tan lines.

2. Missing the Wall in Backstroke


Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Swimming under the sun can be awesome; it can also lead to broken fingers. Backstrokers especially know the pain of ramming their heads against the wall as they miss seeing the flags for the fourth time in practice.

3. Outdoor Pool Jets

Photo Courtesy: S-Taylor Productions

Photo Courtesy: S-Taylor Productions

I have yet to come across an outdoor pool that does not have jets. Swimmers know the struggle of being placed in lanes 1 or 8, also known as the “jet lanes”. Swimming with the jets will cause you to feel extremely fast going one way, then feel like a whale when trying swim in the opposite direction.

4. Morning Fog


Photo Courtesy: Annie Grevers

The morning fog can be a blessing to most swimmers. The fog the envelopes the pool can hide swimmers from the coaches’ viewpoint, aiding in skipping the last 10 meters of a length. Butterfliers live for the fog since it typically means skipping out on the last few strokes of the 100 fly.

5. Sunrises and Sunsets


Photo Courtesy: Annie Grevers

Sure, getting up at the crack of dawn can be tiring, and swimming late into the night makes your stomach churn with hunger. But nothing can beat those sunrises and sunsets you see as you pull into the pool or finish your last fast 100. The beauty of the sky casting orange and red light onto the pool surface is a special moment or magic.

6. Goggle Tans


Photo Courtesy: Jason Deana

The inevitable goggle tans. Backstrokers get it, freestylers get it, everybody gets it! These tan lines that make us swimmers look like a raccoon is just a daily reminder of the countless amount of hours put into the pool.

7. Lightning Storms


Photo Courtesy: Taylor Padington

These very rare storms are a blessing to swimmers. About once or twice a year, depending on where you live, a thunderstorm will appear causing practice to be delayed or cancelled. Bonus points if the storm appears during a distance practice.

8. Sunscreen in the Pool


Photo Courtesy: Swimming Pool

Sunscreen, sunscreen everywhere! The amount of sunscreen that is leftover in the pool from the public swimmers appalls many swimmers, but for the fair-skinned swimmer, it is a reminder that they aren’t the only ones effected during this hot time of the year.