Swimming with your eyes open is not always advisable. This is especially true for those who swim in open water events. Swimming with your eyes open in an open water swim race can alter the body position, and the salt water can leave your eyes red and sore. Swimming with your eyes open in a pool can also have negative effects, especially if you are a racer in training who is not wearing goggles.
Open Water Swimming
Open water swim races are becoming more popular. Many of these events are two miles or longer and the impact of racing with your eyes open can be a bit of a problem. The key to competing effectively is developing a consistent stroke that will help you pull a significant amount of water with every stroke you take. There will be times that you will want to sight your target so that you remain on target. However, every time you open your eyes and look up, your head comes out of the water and you are altering and shortening your stroke. By keeping your eyes open under water, you will increase the tendency to look up and that will keep you from swimming consistently.
Correct Sighting Technique
When you swim in a triathalon or other open water races you can help your performance by sighting your target in the correct manner. If you are right-handed, you will most likely turn to your left to breathe. When you do this, lift your eyes out of the water just before you come down with your left arm. Lift your eyes just enough to get them out of the water. This will be especially helpful when there are other swimmers in the water and markers like buoys on the course. Seeing swimmers and markers by opening your eyes will ensure your safety when you compete.
Most swimmers who spend significant time in a pool swimming use goggles. However, if you don't use goggles and you spend more than 30 minutes at a time in the chlorinated waters of the pool you will need to rinse your eyes for one to two minutes after you finish swimming to get the chlorine out. Leaving chlorinated water in your eyes without rinsing will make some people feel as if they have broken glass in their eyes.
Article Written By Steve Silverman
Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.