Many competent swimmers who have no difficulty swimming reasonable distances in the pool do experience difficulty in the open water. But, whether the open water is smooth or rough, any difficulties are likely to be psychological. This is not to say that these difficulties are not real. They are real enough, but they tend to relate to anxiety. Anxiety-related issues include ‘it’s a long way to swim’ (it’s probably no longer than one of your pool swims); ‘I can’t touch the bottom’ (no, but you can’t in the deep end of the pool either); ‘there is no wall to turn around on’ (that’s right, and it’s one of the great joys of OWS); ‘there is no black line to follow (see the previous comment)’; ‘I’m afraid of what’s down there; there are things that will eat me or at least sting me’ (live a little on the wild side – also see the articles on sharks). So the trick is to relax, commune with nature and (as Dory said to Nemo) ‘just keep on swimming, that’s all you have to do’. Use OWS as a relaxation exercise, an exercise in developing patience (you just have to hang in there and eventually you will get to your destination); even as a meditation exercise (more about that in later editions).