Open Water 101: Distances
Estimating how far things are in open water is tricky. The gradual curve of a shoreline, angle of the sun, and other subtle factors influence distance perception. A buoy or island can seem closer or farther away than it is, Melgaard says. Here’s how to suss it out.
Ask for Help
Ask a lifeguard or a local swimmer the lay of the land.
Use a smartwatch to keep track of how far you’ve gone.
In a 25-yard pool, count the strokes it takes to cover one length and multiply it by four to estimate the number of strokes you need to cover 100 yards. In open water, use that number to estimate distance covered. If the stroke count gets high and you’re not making enough progress, consider shortening the route. Safety first.
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