Jack Burnell's training tips

British open water swimmer Jack Burnell offers some training tips for beginners ahead of Swim Serpentine, where he will join thousands of swimmers in the heart of central London.

Read our full Q&A with Jack Burnell here.

How to get started

Just give it a go. It is something that you need to just try to find out if you enjoy it. It is very hard for someone to explain the feeling you get when you complete a challenge like this, it is just something you need to do and when you get that overwhelming sense of achievement, you will definitely be coming back for more.

Top five tips for beginners

  1.  Enjoy it, it’s not something you get to do every day so embrace it, take time and look around you, take it all in.
  2.  Don’t be worried about your speed to begin with, just get comfortable with your environment
  3.  Being in close contact with other swimmers can freak people out. Just relax, no one is out to get you.
  4.  It will feel cold when you first get in, that is just your body reacting to the change in temperature, and it will get better
  5.  Be mindful of others. If you see someone struggling, give them a hand, we all react differently.

Turning buoys

Try and keep to the inside / middle line. Try and accelerate into the turns to get yourself around safely and quickly.


It is very individual but I sight forward by pushing my leading arm straight down levering my body up so I can look forward.

Coping with crowding

I just stay very alert to my surroundings. Very much like boxing, protect yourself at all times.