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Top tips for your first open water event

By Zone3 | July 11, 2022, 12 p.m. (ET)

Zone3 Swimmer Running to Open Water


Top tips for your first open water event by Zone3 Ambassador Daniel Evans 

I recall my first open water event to be quite daunting and filled with nervous energy at the same time. So here are a few of my top tips to help you get the most out of the day.

Pre-event Wetsuit Test:

  1. If your wetsuit is new, try it on to test the fit and take it for a swim. I recommend making sure you have done a few good practice swims in your wetsuit before event day.
  2. Whilst you’re swimming, take note of how it feels to make sure it fits properly. If you can’t get to a lake, some pools allow you to wear a wetsuit. A good fitting wetsuit should feel like a second skin.
  3. I use ZONE3 anti-chafing balm around my neck and on any exposed areas of skin. This helps when getting in and out of the wetsuit.

The Night Before – Preparation: 

  1. Eat well and don’t eat anything that you wouldn’t normally eat before a big race. I’d also recommend consuming fluids high in electrolytes just to top up from the weeks training and to keep the body hydrated.
  2. If you can, it’s always beneficial to scope out the venue and have a look around the expo to get a feel for your surroundings. The energy around these events is normally amazing so take it all in get involved. Speaking to new people can settle nerves and even boost confidence.
  3. Make sure everything you need you have. I personally do a “flat lay” and take a photo. Your mind can play tricks on you especially if you are traveling a long distance to the event. I look at my photo and the stress is put to bed.
  4. Have a look at your race schedule and get an early night if need be. A good night’s sleep cannot be underestimated.

The Day of the Event: 

  1. Get to the venue in good time, this will avoid any potential panic and help you relax the nerves. We don’t want to be rocking up last minute, stressed out. So, help yourself out with the things that you can control.
  2. Get your wetsuit on in good time – I also take flip flops for pre and post event.
  3. If it is allowed, get into the water. This has multiple benefits including allowing you to acclimatize to the water and adjust your suit if it isn’t fitting perfectly.
  4. Continue to take on fluids and eat. Your nerves won’t want to but try little and often.
  5. A short warm-up will go along way, even if it’s just pacing around, get the blood moving into the right muscle groups and this will also help prevent injuries further on down the race.

Going to the Start Line: 

  1. Make sure you have all the necessities. Goggles, swim cap, buoy, and smart watch. I set mine to auto lap every X meters depending on the distance – I then use as a little milestone which helps me break the swim down.

The Swim Itself: 

  1. If you are a confident open water swimmer seed yourself accordingly, if however, you are not, hold back or swim towards the outer side, your time doesn’t start until you cross the timing mat. This is your event, so do what makes you feel most comfortable.


  1. Boom its done, we survived. Well done! Get the medal and t-shirt if there is one.
  2. Take warm, dry clothes to change into after your swim. Zone3 Heat Tech Changing Robe is great for getting changed underneath whilst staying warm.
  3. Time to treat yourself. Do whatever makes you happy, you’ve earned it!

Now you have some top tips from our very accomplished ambassador, Daniel Evans, you can attack your first open water event with excitement and confidence. Explore our collection and receive 40% off your next ZONE3 order with code ZONE3YJN40 and be even more prepared for your first open water event. Offer expires 14 August 2022.