Introduction To Open Water & Triathlon Swimming Workshops 2021

A session to spark your passion for open water, ignite your open water skills and help you simply enjoy the water for pleasure, exercise or competition.







Helping You Train, Be Safe and Get Into The Amazing World Of Open Water Swimming

We are pleased to offer you our Introduction to Open Water Swimming Workshops for 2022.  We believe these sessions are unrivalled in content and delivery.  

The South West Swim Introduction to Open Water Swimming Workshops are aimed at athletes who are looking to get into Open Water Swimming for the first time or those wishing to improve basic skills and confidence levels in Open Water.


This workshop session will provide you with the skills and confidence to tackle your first Open Water or Triathlon swim event, or just educate and improve the swim of the non competitive swimmer looking for that new and exciting challenges.

We also provide a Introduction to WILD swimming workshop for those not interested in front crawl or event swimming, click for more details.

These workshops are multi ability for front crawl swimmers aged 16 and above (junior sessions available from May), however we do ask that you can swim at least 400m non stop front crawl in a pool environment.  If you are unable to swim this distance please contact us as we can provide alternative sessions for you or your group.

Introduction session dates

The All the below workshop dates are one off sessions, cost of workshop is £40 per swimmer .

30th April 12:00 Midday – 14:00 (approx) – Lake32
21st May, 12:00 Midday – 14:00 (approx) – Lake32
28th May 12:00 Midday – 14:00 (approx) – Lake86
25th June 12:00 Midday – 14:00 (approx) – Lake86
More dates will be published if needed






Your introduction to open water and triathlon swimming workshop includes

Professional coaching with experienced and open water qualified coaches

The session is led by South West Swim head coach Jason tait, and assisted by our assistant Swim England open water Coach Colin Jones (dependant on number of swimmers in the session)

Total session time of 2 hours (approx)

Lake Entry Fee

South West Swim Silicone swim hat

Loan of Swim Secure Tow Float or Woggle

This is a great bit of safety and visibility kit.  If you wished to purchase your own to keep then you can add this bit of kit to your session when booking

South West Swim Introduction To Open Water Swimming Guide

A week before your session we will send you your South West Swim guide to Open Water Swimming so you can read up about getting into this amazing sport.

Access to online content after your session

Your session will come with trial access to the swim smooth guru.  We will provide further reading, videos and the swim smooth guide to open water so you can continue to learn and practice after the session.

Swim England Level 1 Open Water Award

This session works inline with the Swim England Open Water Swimming awards, we will be working towards level 1.  A certificate and badge is available at extra cost should you pass all of the criteria in the session.

Discounts from our retail store and off of a further SWS Session

South West Swim aims to provide the complete swimming solution so we offer you a 5% discount off of products from our online retail store.  This discount does not include wetsuits or Tri gear, but the good news is we can normally do a better than 5% discount on these products.  If you need a wetsuit please get in contact with us as soon as possible (we order these in and they are not kept in stock).

Your session will also come with a 15% off voucher for a 1-to-1 session so we can develop your swimming even more, or work through any skills that you are struggling with.

Safety in the water, and our own RLSS lifeguards in some sessions.

South West swim takes safety very seriously.

Our sessions are held in lakes that have their own safety and support facilities for emergency water extraction.  We use safety equipment whilst coaching your session such as Tow floats, Restube life saving devices and safety whilstles.

Our coaches are also first aid trained and hold NRASTC pool qualifications, as well as having open water safety cover and rescue experience.  Some of our group sessions will also have our own dedicated South West Swim RLSS Lifeguards on SUP or kayaks.  By the end of April head coach Jason, alongside some support coaches and swimmers, will hold the RLSS Open Water lifeguarding qualification and FSRT rescue qualification.

NOTE: Water temperature

Our early season sessions may need to be adapted or postponed if the water temperature is not suitable at the time.  Sadly this is only something we can advise on around 5-7 days before the session date.  Please bare this in mind when booking your session and any accommodation that may be required,

Actual water time will vary depending on the water temperature at the time of the session. 


What experience and kit do I need for this session?


What swim ability do I need to be at to join this session?

We ask that swimmers are able to swim at least 400m of non stop front crawl.  This should be with your head in the water.

The sessions are multi ability and skills based so it does not matter how fast you are.

If you do not meet this requirement do not despair, we can host you in one of our 1-to-1 based sessions which will provide you with individual attention.

If you are not interested in front crawl swimming and want to swim breaststroke for mental health, relaxation and simply swimming in beautiful environments then we also offer an introduction to WILD swimming workshop. 

Please click here for more info on our WILD swimming workshop.


All swimmers will need a wetsuit for this session.  Coached sessions are very start-stop so even in warmer weather swimmers can get cold whilst we go through instructions in the lake.

We would highly recommend a swimming or triathlon wetsuit as these are built for swimming and offer greater flexibility, buoyancy and warmth.  A swimming wetsuit will make swimming easier than if you were to wear a watersports wetsuit, which is much harder to swim in.

However, if you are unsure of open water and don’t want to invest in a swim wetsuit for this session then you can use a watersports wetsuit, these are cheaper to source and we find many people already have one.

In the long term a swimming wetsuit will be much better for you and your swimming.


Don’t forget your goggles, you will need to be able to see us and others both above and under the water.  If you need any advice on goggle selection then please give us a call or drop us an email.

Generally speaking we would recommend;
Clear goggles for very cloudy days
Tinted / polarised goggles for brighter weather
Coach Jason likes a blue lens goggle as this provides all weather clarity

Tow Float (we can loan if needed)

This session requires the use of a tow float.

We can loan tow floats to you as part of the session fee.  This bit of kit provides visibility to your coach and others and also offers some safety for your swimming should you need to rest (it is important to note these are not sold as rescue devices)

If you wish to purchase your own tow float, tow bag or town donut you can do so when booking your session and we can bring this with us on the day.

We highly recommend the use of tow floats for open water swimming, especially if you are new to the sport.  We stock the Swim Secure range of products.


Swim Hat

You will need a swim hat for your session, and it is an important bit of kit for all open water swimmers as it offers both a way of keeping you warm and provides visibility to other swimmers and rescue personnel.

Your Introduction session fee includes one of our super funky South West Swim hats, made by Swimzi

Swimming Costume

Yes, we have had swimmers not wear a costume under a wetsuit before as they did not think it was needed.  Unless you like a bit of chafing or some exposure when you take your suit off then you need to wear a costume under your wetsuit.

This entry is here as a part comedy based on previous experience, but also as a genuine statement and reminder to wear a swim costume, 

How to book Your Session

You schedule and book your intro session online, easy as that.

We offer this session from two lakes, both Waterland Outdoor Pursuits (lake32) and Cotswold Water Park Hire (Lake86).  The session is the same at both venues.

To book simply click on the link below where you want your session to take place  below and it will take you to our booking system, or you can book via the booking widget on this page (requires cookies).

You will need to create an account in our system using either method.

If you wished to add any kit into your booking please do so as you move through the booking process.  We will then bring this along to your session.  Please drop us an email if you do add kit to your session so we do not miss it. 

If you have any questions then please do contact us to discuss on the button below.


Book Your Intro Session Now

Introduction To Open Water & Triathlon Swimming Workshop

Cost £40

This intro session is simply second to none.

Before your Intro session you may also be interested in

Open Water Safety Essentials Mini Session

With the rapid rise in popularity of Open Water swimming in 2020 we have developed a new safety essentials mini session for swimmers looking to get into the water for the first time. This session is lake specific and will cover basic safety elements to ensure you know the important basics to give you the knowledge to be safe in the water.

This small group session is hosted by South West Swim head coach Jason Tait.  Jason is a respected expert in open water swimming and a fully qualified teacher, coach, open water coach and open water coaching tutor with vast amounts of experience in coaching and swimming himself.

More Details

The session itself can be held at lake86 or Lake32 and will advise on:

– Swim Kit
– Entry into the water
– Breathing control
– Acclimatisation– Safety positions
– Self Rescue techniques
– Relaxing
– Lake specific guide for rescue
– Exiting the water and post swim.

The session is around 45 minutes long and we would be in the water for around 20-30 minutes depending on water temperature.  Please note this session does not get you swimming very far and is mostly about the safety aspects of your swimming and acclimatisation to help you swim better.  If you wanted to learn swim skills for Open Water Swimming then pair this session up with our Full Introduction to Open Water Swimming Workshop. 

After this session you may also be interested in

Weekly Open Water Squad / Group sessions

Back for 2021 our open water group sessions will work on your swim skills, endurance and open water skills.  Swim in a small and friendly group with other like minded swimmers of similar ability.  Whether you are training for an event or just want a structured group session then these are the sessions to help compliment your swimming.

More Details

Our squads are broken into two groups, please select the appropriate group for your current ability.  This ensures the group are swimming in a very similar ability level and makes the session run much smoother. 

Junior squads are also available, please see the SWS juniors webpage. 

South West Swim Open Water Skills Mini Workshops

These mini sessions develop an individual open water skill in small groups.  These sessions run throughout the season, with more dates added as we move through the summer months as demanded.

We will be running sessions on:

– Improve navigation – Sighting and swimming straight in the open water

– Group swimming with confidence –  Starts, Turns and Drafting

These sessions are development sessions and ideal for most levels of swimmer.  They will compliment our introduction sessions or squad sessions well.

More Details

These session are led by Jason Tait with support from our own lifeguard team and other assistant coaches where needed (dependant on numbers of swimmers etc)

SWS Junior Open Water Sessions

We can support your junior swimmer in the open water environment and can offer a number of sessions including:
– Junior Open Water 1-to-1 (includes lake sign offs)
– Junior Introduction to Open Water Swimming (includes lake sign off)
– Junior Squad sessions

We start to offer our coaching for swimmers who are 12 years old (by the end of the year) and who hold a county qualification time for a front crawl distance.

We are also able to support clubs and can offer bespoke training sessions for their swimmers in the open water.


Find out more by visiting our SWS Juniors page.


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