The fears and concerns related to open water swimming are very real. But It can be a wonderful experience but you must be aware of your surroundings and practice safe swimming.
Here are some tips !!!
1. Have the right equipment- make sure your wetsuit fits. It will tight but it should not be constricting your breathing. Use bodyglide - especially on back of your neck and other parts that rub against wetsuit. Wear the appropriate googles!! Tinted googles or ones that work with sun glare are best. Bright colored caps - help your fellow swimmers , guards etc. make it easier to spot.
2. Get Out There in the Open Water and Practice, Practice, Practice – As obvious as this may sound, it really is the best way to get used to swimming in open water. And you will learn very quickly that swimming in open water is much different than in a pool. There is no thick black line running along the bottom of the ocean or lake to help guide you as you swim. Unless the water is crystal clear, you will have to lift your head to "sight" or see where you are going. And you will probably take a swig or two of water during your swim. So the more you hit the open waters to swim, the better the results.
3. Practice Your Sighting – As previously mentioned, you will not have a thick black line running along the bottom of the ocean or lake to help guide you in a straight line. You must sight certain points in order to stay on track. If you are out for a training swim, you will want to look for various land markers. It may be a tall tree, a water tower, or the top of a building, something that you can see each time you lift your head to look forward.
4. Have Faith in Your Training and Your Stroke!! - It is not uncommon for all of us to get a little overwhelmed during an open water swim. We get so used to swimming in a nice clear pool that we tend to "freak" a little when we realize we can only see a few feet in front of us! And as a result, we tend to lift our head and check our position much too often. Unfortunately, the more we look, the more disruptive we are to our own stroke and pace. This will not only physically wear you out, but it can mentally tire you out as well. My word to you is – RELAX and have faith in your training and your stroke.
5. Learn Bilateral Breathing – Breathing on Both Sides: If the swim course is an open rectangle whereby you swim out for a short distance then head left or right along the shoreline then back in again, you can use the shoreline as a means of marking your position. However, this may require that you breath to a particular side that may be uncomfortable. So practice breathing on both sides during your freestyle swim training. Also, breathing on both sides will keep your stroke in balance and allow you to swim straighter for more strokes. During your swim training, practice breathing every three strokes. This will force you to breath on both sides.
6. Start out relaxed- I suggest building your speed throughout the swim. Start out swimming long and relaxed. Find your pace. And once you have found a good pace, then you can turn it up a notch if you want. This will keep your heart rate lower and leave you better prepared for the bike ride.