A total immersion in the nature of a place. A real “bath” in its characterizing element: water.
And no help is needed to do it, just a little experience. We are talking about a sport within everyone’s reach and, perhaps, the most primal: swimming.
Many people still do not know that the waters of Lake Garda are safe for swimming, but also a perfect “gym” for invigorating body and spirit.
To understand how to enjoy this experience to the utmost, we have interviewed two experts for you: Cornelia Rigatti and Marco Ischia.
Cornelia is not only Visit Trentino Ambassador but also a national ocean rescue athlete, bronze medalist at the paddleboard world championships and absolute Italian surf ski and board champion.
Marco, on the other hand, is a lifeguard master, a Federal Trustee of the Italian Swimming Federation, Rescue Section and an athlete specialized in open water swimming.
We immediately ask both of them if swimming in open water is an activity within everyone’s reach and what are the tips to keep in mind.
They explain that, as with many other activities, also for swimming in open water one of the fundamental aspects is undoubtedly safety. Swimming in the marvellous stretches of water set among the Trentino peaks of the Alto Garda is as inviting as it is sometimes treacherous.
But what advice can you give to those who want to try their hand at open water swimming?
The first piece of advice, they explain, is not to become impromptu swimmers. “If you really have a passion for strokes, start with a good basic swimming preparation. Open water swimming generally involves at least one or more kilometres, often without the possibility of stopping as you can in a pool. So swim all year round to be able to enjoy the summer season surrounded by nature “.
Another important aspect is that of environmental conditions. Water temperature, the wind, currents and weather conditions can be insidious, the wind can change quickly, the wave motion suddenly increases, and the temperature of the alpine lakes is often not high.
If you have followed the first two tips then you are ready to enter the water without forgetting the safety equipment. Wetsuit, signal buoy and brightly coloured cap are essential.
The wetsuit because, as we have already said, temperatures often reach twenty degrees, with unpredictable currents.
The buoy, in addition to being an element of identification by those who are involved in other activities in the same body of water, can also be a useful float in case of a moment of difficulty.
Furthermore, the cap not only allows you to be more visible, but also protects you from any low temperatures. Perhaps few people know that we lose about 30% of body heat from our heads.
Moreover, as Cornelia and Marco explain, you cannot always swim wherever you want, also in this case there are some rules to respect and some advice that you should follow.
The rules for safe swimming
– always swim skirting the coast, possibly within 100 metres from the shore, so that, if need be, you can reach the beach and be noticed by someone on land more quickly, and you will avoid passing boats;
– always swim in company, every activity done in company is not only more fun but also becomes safer, even a companion in a canoe or a SUP can be a valid support;
– we repeat this because it is really important, always signal your presence in a visible way using a floating buoy tied at the waist;
– choose bathing beaches, steer clear of port areas and the launching corridors of motor boats and windsurfers;
– avoid rivers, especially river mouths, where the current can suddenly change in intensity and temperature and the seabed is not clean and safe.
Where to swim?
Now that the rules are clear, thanks to the advice of the experts, it only remains to choose one of the wonderful lakes of the Alto Garda. Lake Tenno and Lake Garda are among the best situations in which you can literally immerse yourself. To love them, however, it is good to know them, Cornelia and Marco explain.
The Trentino side of Lake Garda must be tackled with caution and some foresight.
The experts explain: “Choosing the right moment of the day is essential. Early risers can enjoy the rising sun with a mostly flat body of water until at least ten in the morning. Avoid the central hours of the day when there is usually a significant wave motion and a traffic of boats that increases due to the presence of the wind. Latecomers can swim in the late afternoon until sunset, when the swell subsides and the boats return to shore. Choosing where to swim is not easy, given the vast presence of beaches, so it is good to know the points to avoid. You cannot swim in the port areas, it is not a suggestion, it just cannot be done. It is better to avoid river mouths where currents can be treacherous and the water temperature drops quickly. Finally, remember that mainly two winds blow on Lake Garda. Their behaviour is similar to that of the sea breeze. At night and during the first hours of the day (until about 11-12), the Pelèr blows from the north towards the lake creating a sort of “current” that leads offshore. From noon until sunset, the Ora blows from the south towards the shore, however, creating a very significant wave motion. The crossings are out of the question, to enjoy a nice swim it is better to skirt the shore, as always with a wetsuit, buoy and a good friend”.
Route (1,3 km)
From the beach of the Pini (pine trees), swimming along the coast to the weather buoy in front of the Sabbioni beach to return to the starting point.
Route (approx. 2 km)
From the Porto San Nicolò diving area, towards the Baia Azzurra beach, always skirting the shore, up to Surf Segnana, returning to the starting point with the same route.
After a nice and exhaustive chat with our two super swimming experts, we just have to treasure these precious tips and discover that ancestral emotion that makes us all feel like children again and makes us discover how wonderful it is to swim in an immense freshwater mirror called Lake Garda.