View Full Version : Do you keep eyes open or closed underwater?

August 3rd, 2009, 02:12 AM
I'm used to close my eyes, but wonder if in open water I should open my eyes to watch for anything harmful or interesting (jellyfish etc). Of course I wear goggles/mask.

Thanks for taking the poll :)

August 3rd, 2009, 02:41 AM
you were goggles in a pool and still close your eyes?

I swim with goggles (eyes open), but would keep my eyes open even with out them.

depending on how clear the lake is you won't see much past your own hands under water.

August 3rd, 2009, 03:19 AM
Yes, I close my eyes even with goggles. It makes me concentrate on my movements and I can swim better this way. If I look at the pool bottom, it would make me slow down, reason being that anything you look is still. I do open my eyes when breathing, and occasionally underwater to how observe how someone kicks :)

August 3rd, 2009, 03:41 AM
I always swim with my eyes open. Would have an immediate accident if I didn't. There are just too many swimmers where I swim. But I can see your point about being able to concentrate better with your eyes closed. On the rare occasion when I have had a lane to myself, I have closed my eyes for a second or two and just concentrated on entirely on my stroke. It can be quite mesmerizing. I would imagine, in open water, you would still have to open your eyes occasionally to make sure you are not veering off course.

August 3rd, 2009, 05:52 AM
Yes, I close my eyes even with goggle

I voted for open eyes. It never even crossed my mind that anyone would close their eyes. That's like asking, do you walk with open or closed eyes.
Even without goggles I used to open my eyes. The only thing that prevents me from opening my eyes without goggles nowadays are my contact lenses and chlorine.

August 3rd, 2009, 09:09 AM
I swim with my eyes open, mostly because I swim in pools and it helps me to swim straight (by watching the line along the pool bottom. If you train in a pool and have learned to swim straight with your eyes closed that's probably a significant advantage in OW swims where you can't sight off the bottom any way. On the other hand, it must put you at a distinct disadvantage in the pool if you have to sight by lifting your head out of the water...

August 3rd, 2009, 02:05 PM
Almost always open, but sometimes when I push off a turn on a long set or interval (400 or 500) I'll close my eyes, usually to calm myself or gain a little focus. Unfortunately, I usually end up either hitting or just missing the lanelines (I never do this if I'm sharing a lane). I used to do it more in the outside pool in the early mornings - it was actually very peaceful - but between shoulder cuts, jammed fingers and the beating my watch took I've stopped. Just a bad habit.

August 3rd, 2009, 02:11 PM
I had a teammate in h/s that swam with his eyes closed everytime he would take a breath, then open them underwater. Yea, he wore goggles too. He said he got into the habit during the summer long course season. He got tired of having the sun blind him in his distance races, so he just closed his eyes.

I swim with mine open, goggles or not. I don't like goggles on backstroke and will keep my eyes open underwater on the starts and turns. Closing them on the turns like one person said might be a calming effect, even if just briefly. I will have to experiment with that one.

August 3rd, 2009, 03:02 PM
This confirms the necessity to open eyes in open water swimming. I especially relish this statement:

"I have a nice variety of small brown scars fomr all these encounters and keep trying to look all around while I swim so I'm getting a sore neck-help!"


August 3rd, 2009, 03:15 PM
I keep them open but I seem to blink a lot for some reason. I know where your coming from though, staring at the bottom of the pool makes you feel like your going really slow even if you are going fast.

August 4th, 2009, 04:02 PM
As a kid, I used to be afraid to open my eyes underwater (I learned to swim in a bay), but once I did, I wondered why I'd ever want to have them closed. It was such a revelation to be able to see underwater.

Granted in some open water, you can't see much, but I still prefer open-eyed swimming. Sometimes when my goggles fog up, I take them off and swim without them--not when I'm in a pool, though, because the chlorine irritates my eyes. Salt water for some reason doesn't bother them at all.

In the pool, there's often traffic and I have to swim defensively. Even with looking, I can get people who suddenly stop or wade through lanes to get out on a particular side. Don't dare close my eyes!

August 4th, 2009, 04:08 PM
How do you watch your stroke ?? I always look @ my hands/arms when I swim!!

August 4th, 2009, 08:13 PM
I keep them open, but I do blink.

Chicken of the Sea
August 4th, 2009, 08:28 PM
Mostly open but if I'm getting a little freaked out in OW I close them for a while

August 4th, 2009, 08:39 PM
Always open. I am too clumsy to do otherwise!

August 4th, 2009, 09:41 PM
This question brought up something I do.

Until I left Egypt (for Canada) 20 years ago, I had never worn goggles.
I always swam with my eyes open (and, man, did the chlorine ever burn afterwards!)

However, there was always one infinitesimal moment when I closed my eyes; that was on a dive-in (from starting blocks or from pool side) and I kept my eyes open long enough to even be able to see my toes (and feet) up to the moment when my hands entered the water, at which point I would automatically close my eyes and re-open them mid-way through the glide.

Now that I have been using goggles for the last seven or so years (when I took up swimming again) I realize that I STILL close my eyes for that 1/10th of a second as my head enters the water. Theoretically, it should make no difference but I guess it's a built-in reaction. Just as it is a reaction, while wearing goggles, to turn the face/head away while resting at the end of the pool when another swimmer does a flip turn and splashes water in one's face (even though we KNOW that the eyes are covered and protected.)