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First Time Swimming the Narrows? Six Tips on How to Prepare for the Cross-Channel Swim

by Lou-Ann Jordan Mar 6, 2023

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Findyello article on St Kitts and Nevis Cross Channel Swim with image of woman swimming in open water.

So, you’re thinking of swimming the Narrows. Well, a new year is an excellent time to try something new and exciting, so why not an extreme sport.

In its 21st edition, the annual Nevis to St Kitts Cross Channel Swim draws waves of open water swimmers each year. You, too, can participate in the exhilarating adventure of crossing the Narrows. All you need to do is prepare well.

The 2.5-mile (4.1km) swimming competition, organised by the STK Swimming Federation, occurs between Oualie Beach in Nevis and Cockleshell Beach in St. Kitts. The event will see locals and visitors suiting up to cross the channel. As all are invited to participate, we thought it would be beneficial to share preparation tips for those attempting the swim for the first time.

We want to ensure that you enjoy a safe and gratifying swim. The time spent should test your endurance and sharpen your skills, leaving you with a sense of accomplishment and wellbeing. However, to have this outcome, preparation is needed as there are several things you need to do before the big day.

Findyello article on St Kitts and Nevis Cross Channel Swim with image of man treading water in the ocean.

Here are six tips to help you prepare for the Nevis to St Kitts Cross Channel Swim:

Practice in open water. It’s best to begin training in open water to familiarise yourself with the environment. Pack your gear and head to the beach. While out there, pay attention to the currents and practice ‘sighting’ using any flags or buoys in the water. Doing so will be helpful practice for the big event.

Hone your breathing technique. During your practice, focus on strengthening your breathing technique. Smooth, well-paced breaths will keep you from tiring quickly. Aim to create a rhythm by aligning your breathing with your movement. Also, alternate sides as it helps in staying on course.

Work on your stroke. Decide beforehand which stroke(s) you’ll be using. Whether you decide to freestyle all the way or alternate with a breaststroke, butterfly, or sidestroke, practice them. Spend time refining each style, maintaining form, and coordinating your breathing.

Establish a workout routine. In addition to practising in the water, you should incorporate a workout routine. Focus your training on building endurance and stamina. Jogging, running, and weight training exercises help increase energy levels.

Eat right. It’s critical that you maintain a well-balanced diet during training and the days leading up to the swim. A nutritious diet entails meals high in carbs with lean protein and healthy fats. Bananas, berries, nuts, and veggies are excellent options. 

Gear up. Invest in a good pair of goggles. You can wear a wet suit, but the water is warm. Additionally, you can use this and other ‘assistance’ like fins, mask and snorkel, but it does mean you will race in the non-award ‘Assisted’ category. Lastly, always train in what you will race in (unless it’s cold, of course!)

Now you’re set to swim the Narrows. 

We wish you success on your adventure as you join the other thrill-seekers in the Nevis to St. Kitts Cross Channel Swim 2023.

Sources: All American Swim and Swimming World.