Interested in ocean swimming, but not sure how to start? Here are some ideas

Swimming has many benefits and the ocean is a special place to us and we are extremely passionate about ocean swimming. We have been competing in the ocean since we were in our early teens, completing 1km – 5km swims.
Growing up in Australia in the swim and surf life saving culture, it comes second nature to us. However, many people fear the ocean and could never comprehend swimming 1km around a headland.

“I just can’t swim in the ocean”

“I could never swim that far”

“I am too scared of the ocean”

We hear these “can’t” phrases time and time again. And we return a patient smile when we hear them, because we have witnessed first hand, time and time again, people with the above attitude, completely conquering their fears and embracing ocean swimming.

I met a 30 year old girl who had never submerged her head in water. She had never even blew bubbles in the bath. She completed a 1km ocean swim.
I met Mark when he couldn’t swim 50metres without stopping. He now competes in 10km ocean swims and is currently in training for the 20km Rottnest Island swim in Western Australia.


  1. Start Pool Swimming to get your technique right. Sign up for swimming lessons or join a squad (depending on your level) at your local pool. Some pool squads may offer ocean sessions, depending on your location.
  2. Enquire at your local surf club or beach club if they hold ocean swimming sessions
  3. Your local beach may have private initiatives running ocean swimming sessions. Our local, Manly Beach, hold a few. There is the Bold and Beautiful swimmers, a large group who swim return Manly to Shelley Beach every morning at 7am. Look out for their pink caps! Start with fins if you’re a beginner. There is also Babewatch.
  4. Join an Ocean Swim Program, complete with scheduled training sessions and goal swims. Can Too is a non-profit program that offers professional ocean swimming coaching in a fun, safe and supportive environment. Participants are provided with a training schedule, information about nutrition, gear, injury prevention and race strategy for their goal swim. They are also taught ocean swimming skills such as wading, body surfing, how to identify rips and use them to your advantage.
    In return, participants raise sponsorship dollars that go towards funding Australian scientists working in cancer research through Cure Cancer Australia and Cancer Council NSW.

    We have volunteered to be a Can Too coach for the last eight years and have been lucky enough to witness some pretty incredible journeys of those who have overcome their fear in the ocean to complete 1km or 2.7km swims after just 12 weeks of training, including our mum and Bec’s partner.

    The participants haven’t grow up in the ocean like us. For them to achieve their goals and cross that finish line with a huge smile is a true inspiration, and what keeps us involved in the program!

October 08, 2018 — Bec Mangan

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