Swimming in a pool is a very different experience than swimming in a lake, river or ocean. If you are training for an open water race, duathlon or triathlon, check our tips in the video below for how to prepare while training in a short course pool.

How to Train for an Open Water Race in a Pool:

Open Water Swimming vs Pool Swimming

  1. Water Temperature
  2. Air Temperature
  3. Other Swimmers
  4. No Black Line
  5. No Stopping

Training Tips

There are a few key points to focus on in training to prepare for an open water race. One of the easiest skills to practice in a pool is sighting. This is where you physically lift your head above the water mid-stroke to see ‘spot‘ the upcoming buoy and ensure you’re traveling in the right direction. Below are some other training tips explained in the video above:

  1. Practice Sighting
  2. Swim In A Group
  3. Mentally Prepare
  4. Hip-Driven Freestyle
  5. Endurance Training

Related: Open Water Swimming vs. Pool Swimming

Example Workout

The following workout incorporates some of the training tips mentioned above. It’s 4,200 meters and should take less than 90 minutes to complete. The goal of the third set in the warmup (4 x 75s) is to practice sighting.

The Main set is essentially a broken 3,000 swim with the assigned rest intervals. On this endurance-focused workout, it’s important to keep in mind the concept of a hip-driven freestyle stroke. Really think about engaging the core (without overusing the legs) to increase distance per stroke.

Try this workout in the MySwimPro app and sync it with your Strava account!

Warm Up

  • 1 x 500 Freestyle
  • 4 x 50s Backstroke
  • 4 x 75s Freestyle (focus on sighting)

Main Set

  • 1 x 1,000 Freestyle @ 60s Rest
  • 2 x 500 Freestyle @ 30s Rest
  • 4 x 250 Freestyle @ 15s Rest

Related: Sync Your MySwimPro Swim Workouts with Strava 

4 Awesome Training Plans To Try:

We hope this helps with our open water swimming training! For more workouts, drills and swimming tips, download the free MySwimPro app and start your free trial of ELITE here >



  1. I found alternating between sprints and distance works well if you want to improve your time. Ex:
    500 warmup
    5 x 100 free sprint
    1 x 1000 free endurance
    10 x 50 free sprint
    2 x 500 pull
    Cool down

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