Swim training, it's not as simple as lacing up and heading out for a run. Hunting down pools with lanes or beaches without waves, can be an interesting challenge while traveling. However, if you pepper in a bit of research, an understanding partner and some blind faith, it's actually pretty achievable. Here are my suggestions for planning and executing pool and open water swim sessions while traveling:
Jump on the Google machine and look for pools in the area. Next, do a bit of research to see if there are any triathlon clubs or masters swim clubs in the area. I typically aim for the pools that the clubs train in as that's a solid guarantee that there will be lanes and (fingers crossed) less rogue canonball-throwing kids, unless you're into that sort of chaos. You may also stumble upon a masters training session or group swim. Why swim alone if you don't have to?
Pro move - Look up the pool's Google listing to see when the busy times are and/or call the pool up and ask the reception.
The Open Water Beast
Searching for places to swim in the open water gets a bit tricky. I start by searching maps of the local area. Google Maps will give you a good indication of where more shallow zones are. Suunto's Movescount (the platform behind my GPS Watch) will display heat maps of areas where other swimmers have logged swims. If you don't have access to GPS data, check Strava to see if there is a history of long distance swimming in the region. Lastly, search for any triathlons or swimming races in town. Tuck into the race website to find a race map as an indicator of safe places to jump in.
- Rotorua is a fantastic place to swim. There are dozens of lakes to chose from but some are off limits. After doing some research, I found that a beautiful lake near town wasn't open to swimmers. Green Lake is a sacred place to the Maori people. Nevertheless, Blue Lake and Lake Rotoiti (see below) were close by with good water clarity.
- Raglan, the famous surfing region has a pretty rad little swimming harbour. Unfortunately, there are some challenging currents and tidal changes. Luckily, I had a trustworthy team to keep an eye on me. When the current got too strong to swim against, I changed course and headed for shore.
- It wasn't until Abel Tasman, that I discovered the beauty of swimming during slack tide when the current is at it's most gentle state and the water level is high. I found near perfect conditions throughout our time in the area.
- Cable Bay, near the town of Nelson introduced me to swimming in windy conditions. The best way I managed the waves and wind spray was to swim in zig zags in and out from shore. The rolling waves made it too challenging to swim from end to end of the beach. Bonus points, if you manage to catch a wave!