Brief History Open Water Swimming

Open water swimming, in modern day, is generally perceived to be related to the sport of triathlon, in part due to the increasing growing popularity of the competition. Many brands such as Ironman, Life Time, WTC and USAT organize triathlon competitions all over the world. It is estimated that over four million people participate in triathlons worldwide and the number is growing.

Open water swimming was popular long before triathlon, in bodies of water such as lakes, rivers and oceans. Some date the modern age of open water swimming to May of 1810 when Lord Byron swam several miles from Europe to Asia, across the Dardanelles.

Swimming across the English Channel from England to France was first achieved by Capt. Matthew Webb in 1875. Capt. Webb completed this 21 mile plus swim in 21 hours and 45 minutes. There have been almost 4000 channel swims since this date with an average time of 13.5 hours. An Australia man, Trent Grimsey, holds the speed record at 6 hours and 55 minutes.

The 1896 Olympic Games in Athens Greece held a swimming competition in open water. Beginning In 2000, the Olympic Games included a triathlon with a 1500 meter swim. In 2008, a 10 kilometer swim was added to the games.

The FINA World Aquatics Championships began including open water swimming events since 1992.

Competitors aside, There are a large number of swimmers who participate in the sport of open water swimming for their own personal enjoyment as well as the physical and emotional benefits of what some call “wild swimming”.  Outdoor Swimmer Magazine chronicles many of these swimmers and swim locations all over the world and several books have been published about open water swimming

Open Water Swimming Technology

Swimming caps, swimming goggles and wetsuits are all basic pieces of technology that can improve swim efficiency and are familiar to most people. Technology such as the Garmin Watch now exist to help competitors keep track of their performance. Swimming goggles were first commercially manufactured in 1968-1969. While advancements were made over a period of 50 years to lens coatings and gasket materials, not much changed over this period of time, until the creation of OnCourse Goggles.

Most swimmers find it very difficult to swim straight in open water towards a buoy or other target without sighting constantly.  In open water, with the absence of swimming pool lines, swimmers lose their sense of direction and tend to “zig-zag” through the open water. This wastes precious energy and slows their performance.  Bad form can cause the swimmer to sight constantly and correct course in order to reach the target.

Many athletes avoid both the sport of open water swimming and competing in triathlons because of the swimming component, simply because they cannot swim straight in open water or master sighting.  A large number of swimmers suffer from anxiety when they become disoriented in the open water of a lake or ocean. In addition, some triathletes are disqualified because they cannot complete the swim component in the time allotted by race rules.

OnCourse open water swimming goggles began shipping in November of 2019 to solve these problems and help swimmers overcome their anxiety,  reduce sighting and swim straight in open water. The patented technology is the only technology that tells you where you are going and will bring new people to the sports of  open water swimming and triathlon. OnCourse Goggles have a built-in micro controller, electronic compass, and GNSS module that provide feedback to swimmers and keep them on course.

OnCourse Open Water Swimming Goggles Feature Electronic Compass

OnCourse Goggles Get Results


Performance Gain 1500m Swim

Minutes Shaved Off 1500m Swim


Anxiety Reduction


Cost Compared to Others

  • OnCourse Goggles Performance Boost 15% 15%
  • Swim Skin Performance Boost 5% 5%
  • Wet Suit Performance Boost 8% 8%
  • Aerodynamic Helmet Perfomance Boost 1% 1%
  • Aerodynamic Wheels Performance Boost 4% 4%
Swim: 1500m at a pace of 2:00/100m - Bike: 40k at a pace of 18 mph

Open Water Swimming Goggles with an Amazing Advantage

OnCourse Goggles get results. At half the cost of a wet suit, and less than one tenth of the cost of aerodynamic bicycle wheels, OnCourse open water swimming goggles will help you swim straight in open water and can deliver up to a 15% performance improvement, even for an accomplished swimmer. We analyzed a variety of performance enhancing gear such as swim skins, wet suits, aerodynamic helmets and aerodynamic bicycling wheels. Nothing compared to the time savings that are realized during triathlons by swimming in a straight line in open water with OnCourse Goggles.

*USAT is a registered trademark of USA Triathlon. OnCourse is a registered trademark of On Course Technology Inc.
*Ironman is a registered trademark of World Triathlon Corporation. LIFE TIME is a registered trademark of Life Time Inc.

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