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Open Water - what is cold?
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rocky79




Joined: 19 Apr 2017
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 12:47 pm    Post subject: Open Water - what is cold? Reply with quote

Hi All,

New to the forum and triathlon but have been reading lot for advice, so hi!

I'm about to start open water training and have now got my wetsuit - but was wondering what is actually cold in terms of the water temp.

Training will be in a lake (Queenford, Oxfordshire) which from looking at the website is around 12c currently but is this cold? Do I need gloves/socks/hat?

I know the question is subjective and have seen pictures of people in just swimmers in the same lake but was paddling in the north sea this weekend and couldn't stay in for a more than 30 secs or so - assuming that is colder than a lake.

I would say I dont feel the cold particularly but I would wear gloves running up to about 10c as tend to get cold hands.

Thanks


Last edited by rocky79 on Wed Apr 19, 2017 1:11 pm; edited 1 time in total
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blindcider




Joined: 12 Sep 2013
Posts: 228

PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

12 degrees should be fine if you have a decent wetsuit. The key is to acclimatise, don't just expect to get in and swim several kilometres like you might in the pool. Get your face wet first and let some into your wetsuit. It might take a few sessions to get used to it.

Booties and gloves are not allowed in races so I have never bothered to try them. I also make do with two swim hats rather than a neoprene job.

One thing I find helps massively with my OW swims is earplugs. I used to get dizzy and seasick in OW but with earplugs in haven't experienced this at all.
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SGreg




Joined: 30 Jun 2010
Posts: 856
Location: High Peak

PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 1:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

12 DegC is cold

Painfully cold, but bearable.

I never wear anything other than a hat and wetsuit and have swum in much colder.

Despite the initial PAIN, it does pass. your extremities and face go numb and the pain recedes, but its awfully uncomfortable, and fairly unproductive from a training point of view.

Really as a new swimmer to Open Water I would wait a few weeks till the temps eek up a bit further, there will be little to be gained from subjecting yourself to such discomfort. Honestly you will have enough on your plate adapting to the environment.

at 14DegC it just feels cold but not uncomfortably so you can get on with the business of overcoming the other myriad of open water demons you are likely to face.


TBH I would be surprised if your lake is 12DegC yet, things up here are MUCH colder ATM
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SidSnot




Joined: 02 Sep 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To be honest, I'd wait a bit until its warmed up. It'll be much more enjoyable.
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salad_dodger




Joined: 29 Jun 2009
Posts: 52
Location: Bristol

PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To me 12 degrees is bloody freezing and will result in ice cream headache in less than 60 seconds. I'd happily go surfing in that temperature but I'd be wearing a winter wetsuit not a silly thin tri wetsuit. As far as I'm concerned swimming is meant to be an enjoyable experience so I'll be waiting at least another month before I venture into my local quarry.

Cotswold Water Park were saying the water temperature there is 14 degrees and I know quite a few went in over the Easter weekend. They haven't stopped shivering since. Probably.
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leahnp




Joined: 25 Jan 2005
Posts: 1902
Location: Scottish Borders

PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It was 12/13 degrees at Challenge Iceland last year, they said it was 14 when they tested the water in the shallows to ensure that the race went ahead. 1900m later I struggled to do anything with my frozen fingers
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Doca




Joined: 27 Feb 2014
Posts: 109

PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I swam in our local lake on Monday, I think it was 11 degrees. I managed a lap but it was pointless from a training perspective, my form was crap and time was slow. I'll wait a bit before I get back in.
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PCP




Joined: 13 Oct 2012
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Location: Manchester

PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hopefully non of you ever come up and do Slateman, it would give you nightmares!

I'd say the opposite to most above, get in there now. Spend a few minutes stood/sat/sculling in the shallows and acclimatise. Then go and swim a loop. I really, really dislike the cold water but as horrible as it is it will only get better as weeks go by. When it gets to 14 then 15 then 16 it will feel great.
Wait a month till it gets to 15 and that will feel really cold to you and you will still be lacking in OW skills.

My first OW race is in 3.5 weeks and I'll be in the Quays 1-2 times a week preparing, starting on Saturday morning. Really not looking forward to the first 5 minutes but it is what it is.

A lot of races will let you wear neoprene hats, socks and gloves but won't pay prize money if you wear them
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KingstonGraham




Joined: 21 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My niece went for a swim in the sea in Devon on Saturday in just a cozzie. She did say it was cold, but stayed in for quite a while.
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kevb




Joined: 11 Aug 2010
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 3:30 pm    Post subject: Re: Open Water - what is cold? Reply with quote

rocky79 wrote:
Hi All,

New to the forum and triathlon but have been reading lot for advice, so hi!

I'm about to start open water training and have now got my wetsuit - but was wondering what is actually cold in terms of the water temp.

Training will be in a lake (Queenford, Oxfordshire) which from looking at the website is around 12c currently but is this cold? Do I need gloves/socks/hat?

I know the question is subjective and have seen pictures of people in just swimmers in the same lake but was paddling in the north sea this weekend and couldn't stay in for a more than 30 secs or so - assuming that is colder than a lake.

I would say I dont feel the cold particularly but I would wear gloves running up to about 10c as tend to get cold hands.

Thanks


Rocky, I've sent you a PM.
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Cheshire_set




Joined: 21 Mar 2012
Posts: 84
Location: Wilmslow

PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I now swim regularly in the winter but its taken time to learn the signals from the body, what is right and what is wrong and to get used to the cold water and crucially - to know when to stop. I agree 100% that if you are not experienced this is not the time to be starting out. OW swimming can be a daunting proposition to some and dealing comfortably with cold water is a difficult thing to grasp. If you can wait just a few more weeks the shallower lakes will quickly warm up. Slightly different if you are in for an event such as the Slateman, then it maybe worth very short supervised sessions but the only benefit will be to acclimatise. Its quite an unusual (and tough) event, the lake is cold & deep plus its early in the year (both times I did it they cut the swim short due to water temp).
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SGreg




Joined: 30 Jun 2010
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 3:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PCP wrote:
Hopefully non of you ever come up and do Slateman, it would give you nightmares!

I'd say the opposite to most above, get in there now. Spend a few minutes stood/sat/sculling in the shallows and acclimatise. Then go and swim a loop. I really, really dislike the cold water but as horrible as it is it will only get better as weeks go by. When it gets to 14 then 15 then 16 it will feel great.
Wait a month till it gets to 15 and that will feel really cold to you and you will still be lacking in OW skills.

My first OW race is in 3.5 weeks and I'll be in the Quays 1-2 times a week preparing, starting on Saturday morning. Really not looking forward to the first 5 minutes but it is what it is.

A lot of races will let you wear neoprene hats, socks and gloves but won't pay prize money if you wear them




Most people really struggle with their first open water experience and often its very off putting, The last thing they need is the feeling of their hands feet and face aching from cold while they uncontrollably flap in the water unable to do anything remotely resembling a "stroke" all for 20 mins where near hyperthermia means they need to get out.

You won't be stood, sat or sculling in 12DegC water if you are not well acclimatised.

I'll be hitting the open water really soon too, and might even consider a dip in my local Ice hole, but I have hundreds of hours under my belt, and have swum in 8/9/10 degC water

Telling a Newbie to just suck it up really is poor advice. I just can't see what can be achieved, unless your first OW A race is REALY early, just wait until things are more pleasant. Rushing into the Cold could easily see you ending your journey there.

Save Freezing your face off for next season.
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Gus




Joined: 07 Sep 2007
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Location: Freezing my nads off in Aberdoom

PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

8 degrees up our way at the moment.

And no, I haven't been in yet. I'm not bloody stupid.
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stenard




Joined: 04 Sep 2013
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did my first (UK) OW swim of the year on Sunday morning in the London Docks. Apparently 10.4 degrees. It was seriously cold initially, and took me a good few minutes of acclimatising and breathing out with my face under water to get comfortable.

But once I started swimming, it was fine. Ended up doing 3.5k.

I'd sit somewhere in the middle of the above advice. It will be unpleasant initially, so if you're easily put off stuff, wait until it warms up a bit. That said, it is safe to swim so long as you properly acclimatise, and if you really want to get in the water and accept the first 5mins will be a shock, then you'll probably enjoy it by the end. Distance passes so much faster in OW - I struggled to motivate myself through 2k in the pool last Thursday, yet the 3.5k in the docks flew by.
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fat buddha




Joined: 13 Jul 2004
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

12C is bloody cold - I tend to wait until it's 14C before getting in.

also factor in the air temperature - at the moment it's pretty cold and often sub 10C so add the chill of that to the chill of the water, and you could be heading for hypothermia if you don't get warm quickly after the swim!! so, if you do swim in cold water don't hang around too long after
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