View Full Version : Cold Water Swiming

May 29th, 2003, 09:44 PM
With the bay bridge swim around the corner and water temps not looking to be greater than 65 degrees I am wondering what advice you guys have for surviving the cold.

How long do you think someone can last in 65 degree water with a wetsuit?

May 29th, 2003, 10:29 PM
I just hopped in the water without a wetsuit and was thinking maybe 63 degrees; I stopped later to check and found it was 58 in the corner of the pool; and I'm positive that the water was 55 at points in the pool. It was still being filled with water from a fire hydrant that was pushing out 52 degree water. I lasted a good hour in the water, took a short break for water, then resumed for another straight 1/2 hour.

The next day I wore 2 caps and was in heaven. The water was a tad warmer the next day; like 3 degrees which makes a big difference, but my advice to you.

Acclimate to the cold water right now; like today. The sooner your body gets a dose of coldness, it will adapt...going cold turkey could be a grave mistake.

If your wearing a wetsuit, I see no problem.

Have fun and good luck
:cool: :cool: :rolleyes:

Leonard Jansen
May 30th, 2003, 10:10 AM
Yes, by all means, get in an unheated outdoor pool NOW. (The lifeguards at the local pool hate me because they sit on deck in sweatsuits shivering while I do my laps. Overheard from one lifeguard to another: "There's the nut again. What's he trying to prove?") It takes about 3 - 7 days to acclimate to the cold, just don't kill yourself or catch a cold by getting hypothermic. Since you are wearing a wetsuit (BTW, remember to use BodyGlide or some-such), it probably won't be much of an issue in the race, except maybe for toes and the forehead. Your excitement on race day will also hold some of the cold at bay, at least for a while. That, plus I swear that salt or brackish water feels warmer at a given temperature than freshwater - God alone knows why. Just don't be obsessive/compulsive about the cold, distance, sharks, or whatever hobgoblins are paying a visit right about now.

You'll do fine. Swim hard & make us proud.


May 30th, 2003, 01:48 PM
Well-I went to the outdoor pool and swam 1800 meters at 68 degrees. Oh my was that cold. First time swimming meters and I couldn't figure out why I couldn't hit my lap times(which were in a yard pool). At the end of these laps I asked and the guard said it is a meter pool. I thought it was the cold but I survived but now I can't get warm. After doing the math I figured I was hitting my 54 second 50 yard pace right on. BRRRRRRRRRRR though. I will be in a wet suit next week.

June 3rd, 2003, 11:44 AM
Do whatever you feel most comfortable with regarding wearing a wetsuit. However, you cannot simply carry over water temperatures from a pool to saltwater. Since you are swimming continuously and for some other reason I admittedly do not understand, I have always found that I have much better cold water tolerance in the ocean than in a pool. In the ocean, 63 degrees feels fine for most swimmers, while in a pool 73 is too cold.

If you get in the ocean, try swimming a brisk warmup pace for 400 yards. Most swimmers will find that as long as the water is at least 63, they will not have any trouble staying warm and comfortable. 68 is seemingly not a problem for most swimmers including the most cold water intolerant. Others, myself included, find that our easy tolerance runs down to 58.

I do ocean swims in southern california and my observations about water temperature is based on watching other swimmers respond to the water. Your cold water tolerance does improve with time, and experience.

Hope you enjoy your swim, and good luck.