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Guvnah
April 29th, 2005, 01:50 PM
The closest I've come to an open water swim was a few years back when I was an adult leader at a boy scout camp. I joined in their mile swim. Their lake was really just a small trout pond, probably 200 yards wide. The swim was five across-and-backs. It was cold (it was in South Dakota, and the pond was fed by snowmelt runoff. Temp might have been about 70 degrees.) I was the only one to finish.

Recently I came across an upcoming 2.4 mile swim in northern Colorado. They say the water is usually 65-70 degrees at the time of year this is scheduled. They have both wetsuit and non-wetsuit divisions. I don't know why, but this one is calling me.

I do 4200 yards per day, 6 days a week. I do that in about an hour (or more often 1:05) including rests. I have no doubt I can do that non-stop (I actually have done that on a few occasions.) So I'm not worried about the distance.

But the cold! I just don't know what to expect. I don't want to use a wetsuit. (I don't want to put out the money for a one-time whim swim. And being 6'6", I wonder whether I would find a good fit anyway... I know nothing about wetsuits...) The pool I swim in usually has a water temp of 82-84 degrees. Once the temp was 79.1, and that was chilly but did not negatively impact my swim that day. (In fact, it was invigorating and I did one of my better swims that day.)

I seek voices of experience here. Will water that's 15 degrees colder than I'm used to sap all my energy? Am I wrong to assume that my ability to do the distance in a lap pool means that I can do it in a cold lake? Can I reasonably extrapolate my times from the pool in any meaningful way into an open water (fresh water) prediction of time? (For instance, I could guestimate that I might pick up a second per flip turn in the pool, so absent those 168 flip turns, maybe my open water swim might be 3 minutes longer or so.)

I'd love to hear from some people who've "been there, done that."

beireland
April 29th, 2005, 02:24 PM
From the amount of your training, I think you will be fine for the distance, of course, and the temperature should not be a problem. For open water races, the pool temps are always warmer. I train in 79 to 81, and don't mind open water races down to 57. Most people don't really have problems with water unless it is 62 or below. For some reason, fresh water feels colder than does salt water at the same temperature. I have no idea why but 65 for a lake will feel colder than 65 in the ocean. But I think it should be fine.

But I would try it without a wetsuit and see how it feels. If you are real nervous, try a test swim if you can get there.

Don't worry about converting your time from pool to open water. Distances are always off in open water swims, and there are so many independent variables that its really hard to predict times. The best way to predict a time is to pick a swimmer at your speed, and look at their time. Thats much more reliable than using pool pace time.

Two bits of advice for the swim--expect some physical contact at the start as everyone tries to get to the shortest line. Its not a big deal and nothing prevents you from starting a little outside if that bothers you.

Also spend some practicing sighting while swimming. Lift your head every 10 strokes or so. And know what you are looking for before you do the swim, if you can.

Good luck.

BruceGianniny
April 29th, 2005, 03:01 PM
Sounds like from your training pace, you'll have no problem with the distance and that temperature range is within most people's comfort zone (at least while swimming hard)....and, yes, all the variables will effect (affect?) your speed which wil be very tough to predict as wind, waves/chop, temperature, # of thrashingpushingpulling arms and legs all have influence....and therin lies much of the charm of open water swimming.
Don't wanna wear a wetsuit eh? Purist? Well, that's fine but man, is it fun to be long and strong riding that high in the water...whatta thrill.....A wetsuit can have have as much of an impact on speed as any of the other variables too...and, I'm a little more at ease knowing if anything happened to me, my body would still float.....makes me feel good when I'm a couple miles from shore...good luck

Leonard Jansen
April 29th, 2005, 03:32 PM
As the others have said, you have more than enough training to finish this and do well.

WRT the cold: You will probably be OK, but I suggest the following just before the race:
0) If you drink some sort of sports drink (e.g. Accelerade) just before starting, have it warm (not hot) and in a thermos. Even warm water is helpful if you can't tolerate other drinks. Obviously, try this in practice beforehand.
1) Splash a little water on your arms, legs and torso.
2) If you can, wade into the water to about waist deep and splash some more water on your torso. Then submerge yourself and stand up. Do the latter a few times.

If you can't do #2 (start off a dock or whatever), at least do #1 and consider #0.

Below 70 degrees, you may feel a bit cold at the start, but you will warm up. If it's below 65 degrees, you will have to do a bit of negotiation with your body/brain, but it is tolerable. Below 60 degrees, you should have some training in water at that temperature to physically adapt.

Good luck!

-LBJ

Rob Copeland
April 29th, 2005, 03:43 PM
“Recently I came across an upcoming 2.4 mile swim in northern Colorado.” ?? The Wingshadow Horsetooth swim? I’ve heard good reports about this swim.

“I seek voices of experience here. Will water that's 15 degrees colder than I'm used to sap all my energy?”

While will most likely not sap your strength, 65 will literally knock the wind out of your lungs of you’re not prepared. If you can get to the lake the day before the swim and get in for a 10-20 minute swim, do it. Otherwise make sure to get in the morning of the race to get somewhat acclimated.

I love cool water swimming 55 – 65 and what I like to do when swimming in 60 or below, before first submerging completely take a deep breath and hold it, then take 10 – 12 fast strokes without breathing, then slow down the stroke and start my warm-up. (assuming you call swimming in 60 degree water a warm up)

GO FOR IT and GOOD LUCK!

Guvnah
April 29th, 2005, 04:05 PM
Originally posted by BruceGianniny

Don't wanna wear a wetsuit eh? Purist? ...

LOL. Well, I guess I can pretend to claim that moral high ground... But I just don't have a couple hundred dollard to stuff into a wetsuit right now. (Is that what they cost?) Nor do I know anyone who has one that I could borrow. (Do people even lend wetsuits to others? Seems to me that would be like lending underwear or something like that...)

If I were to be doing this with a wetsuit, I would be having no second thoughts whatsoever right now.

But so far I am highly encouraged by the feedback I've gotten so far.

swimkim
April 29th, 2005, 04:21 PM
are you considering the wingshadow? if so, go for it!

i did it 2 years ago. i did not wear a wet suit and i did get a little chilly towards the end of the swim. i don't think the water temp affected my swim speed though. i think a bigger issue was sighting...

good luck! maybe i'll see you there this year...

Guvnah
April 29th, 2005, 04:39 PM
Originally posted by Rob Copeland
“Recently I came across an upcoming 2.4 mile swim in northern Colorado.” ?? The Wingshadow Horsetooth swim? I’ve heard good reports about this swim.


Yup. That's the one.

There is a second half to this event. A 10K swim (about 6 miles.) I don't believe I'm ready for that one. The reservoir they do this in is a long, thin lake. The 10K is one straight line. End to end of the reservoir. And no wetsuits for those guys. Maybe some day...




While will most likely not sap your strength, 65 will literally knock the wind out of your lungs of you’re not prepared. If you can get to the lake the day before the swim and get in for a 10-20 minute swim, do it. Otherwise make sure to get in the morning of the race to get somewhat acclimated.


I'll try to contact the organizers and see what access I might have to the lake the day before. Good point!

Guvnah
April 29th, 2005, 04:59 PM
Originally posted by swimkim
are you considering the wingshadow? if so, go for it!

i did it 2 years ago. i did not wear a wet suit and i did get a little chilly towards the end of the swim. i don't think the water temp affected my swim speed though. i think a bigger issue was sighting...

good luck! maybe i'll see you there this year...

Kim -- What can you tell me about sighting?

Don't you just follow the line of people and boats and all? Others have warned about so many swimmers at the start that you have to watch for elbows and arms... how can you get off course in a pack like that? Seems to me that it would only be a problem for the leader. After that, we all just follow like lemmings...

I've thought about sighting because I have very poor eyesight without my glasses. Now you have me concerned. But I guess even with my glasses off I won't be able to miss whatever mountain peak I use as my reference point... They're big enough, after all...

Maybe we can chat offline. if you want you can email me at guv_nah@hotmail.com

Ken Classen
April 29th, 2005, 09:44 PM
I'm intimately familiar with the Wingshadow race and Horsetooth reservoir as I've swam the 10K race 4 times. The last two years you would not have needed a wetsuit. In fact you may have overheated wearing one. In addition a good friend of my mine swam the 2.4 the last two years. She is thin and sensitive to cooler water. In 03 she swam with a wetsuit and said she became very warm. Last year she swam without the wetsuit and did fine.

Meli
April 30th, 2005, 01:38 AM
Woohoo! I'm getting all psyched up to do the Wingshadow swim this year. Granted I'm totally out of shape for it, but hey, I have time, right?

I'm planning to do some of the swims with the COMSA folks out at Chatfield reservoir early in the season. They're supposed to have their first dip into the water tomorrow, but after all of this snow and icky weather, I think I'm going to wait a bit before attempting that.

I agree with Rob, though, 65 degrees will definitely take your breath away, and your heart will start racing. You just have to let your body adjust and try to relax.

swimkim
April 30th, 2005, 11:41 AM
Originally posted by Guvnah
Kim -- What can you tell me about sighting?

Don't you just follow the line of people and boats and all? Others have warned about so many swimmers at the start that you have to watch for elbows and arms... how can you get off course in a pack like that? Seems to me that it would only be a problem for the leader. After that, we all just follow like lemmings...

I've thought about sighting because I have very poor eyesight without my glasses. Now you have me concerned. But I guess even with my glasses off I won't be able to miss whatever mountain peak I use as my reference point... They're big enough, after all...

Maybe we can chat offline. if you want you can email me at guv_nah@hotmail.com


about sighting - i can tell you i am horrible at it! i'm not very experienced at open water swims. the wingshadow was my 2nd one...

going out, i did follow the line of people and that worked well. but, by the turn-around i got dropped by the wetsuit pack. everyone was pretty strung out by then. i was with 2 other swimmers for a while, but i was breathing away from them and ended up going a ways into the wrong cove! i had to breaststroke a lot to see how to get back onto a good line.

didn't mean to worry you about sighting. i just think sighting is a bigger concern for an open water newbie in this race than water temp. i also train in a warm pool (82-83), less than you, and i too was worried about the water temp at horsetooth. the water tempturned out to be okay - people have some great tips how to deal with it. i think sighting turned out to be a bigger issue for me.

the race is very well run and a great swim!

BruceGianniny
April 30th, 2005, 01:48 PM
don't think I'd like to follow like lemmings....where'd it ever get them? Choose your own landmark.

geochuck
April 30th, 2005, 02:37 PM
Just go with the flow, if you are not in first place other wise sighting is important. Pick a point to sight on land and head for it. Every race usually has a lead boat you can sight off it. Water temperature hey, I scream when I get into a swim pool after I get out of the hot tub. The original shock can cause you a little concern but 57 plus is not a concern. When swimming in colder water most heat loss is through the head. Wear a cap. Real concern when the water is under 50. Good Luck to all.

George

Bobber
May 2nd, 2005, 04:02 PM
If it were me (hey, it will be me as I'm going to race a local 2 mile swim where water temps are expected to be in the same range - no wetsuits allowed), I would do some swim training in lakes of similar temp prior to the race. You can increase your tolerance for cold water. One year, I did 90% of my triathlon swimming in lakes and I kept swimming into late September when the lakes got down into the low 60s.

Guvnah
May 2nd, 2005, 04:46 PM
Originally posted by Bobber
If it were me (hey, it will be me as I'm going to race a local 2 mile swim where water temps are expected to be in the same range - no wetsuits allowed), I would do some swim training in lakes of similar temp prior to the race. You can increase your tolerance for cold water. One year, I did 90% of my triathlon swimming in lakes and I kept swimming into late September when the lakes got down into the low 60s.

I wish it were that easy for me. You may find easy availability out there in the land of 999 lakes and all, but in Colorado the lakes are few and far between. I can't think of a single one in easy driving distance for me. (The lake in question is about 2 1/2 hours away from me.) Most "lakes" around here would be considered ponds or even puddles out your way. And rivers? Out here you can wade across almost any river -- if it's not dried up! :)

But seeing some of the replies in this thread has prompted me to be on the lookout for open water opportunities to test out myself beforehand if I'm going to do this event.

Guvnah
May 4th, 2005, 01:51 PM
Hey, here's another "what to expect" question...

What do open water swimmers think about when they swim?

"Just stay warm... Just stay warm..."

"You can catch that guy... You can catch that guy..."

"One, two, three, ..., ninety nine, one hundred, ..., one thousand four hundred and twenty one, ... "

"Were's that reference point..."

"Was that a shark?"

???

Just curious...

Sabretooth Tiger
May 4th, 2005, 02:04 PM
From the 2003 Waikiki Roughwater:


1. Wow, the current is strong;
2. Wow, the current is strong;
3. Wow, the current is strong;
4. OK, I should be near buoy 12;
5. Sh**, why am I just at buoy 5?
6. Man the water's clear;
7. That piece of bottom is interesting . . .
8. Why am I looking at the same piece of bottom?
9. OK, head down, pull hard, breath every 4 strokes;
10. Why am I looking at the same piece of bottom?
11. Wow, the current is strong;
11. Is it too early for a Mai Tai?
12. This is no fun . . .
13. Look, there's a boat.
14. This is no fun . . . look there are swimmers on that boat.
15. Hmm, swim for the Royal Hawaiian or take a boat ride?
16. Boat ride it is,
17. Wow, the current is strong.
18. Boy, I can't wait to have a Mai Tai.
19. Wow, this Mai Tai is strong.

carl

Guvnah
May 4th, 2005, 03:12 PM
Originally posted by botterud


7. That piece of bottom is interesting . . .



Please elaborate. Is this about the attractive swimmer you're drafting behind? (Whatever you find attractive...)

Sabretooth Tiger
May 4th, 2005, 03:38 PM
Very funny Guvnay, if only that was what it was all about . . . here's a blurb that explains:

Strong currents wreak havoc with the 2003 Waikiki Roughwater Swim

By Timothy Carlson
Senior correspondent

This report filed September 18, 2003

The 34th Waikiki Roughwater Swim, a 2.4-mile competition that became one of the blueprints for the original Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon, was hit by vicious ocean currents Labor Day. In conditions locals called the "worst ever," 590 of 947 entrants did not finish the race. Of those, 361 required ocean rescue, according to Honolulu Coast Guard officials.

Plowing through swift currents that made an unprecedented 60-percent of the field quit, Australia's Grant Cleland won the September 1 race in a record-slow time of 1 hour 4 minutes and 25 seconds -- about 16 minutes slower than an average winning time. Further, a record-low 357 swimmers managed to finish the 2.384-mile swim from Sans Souci Beach to Duke Kahanamoku Beach in front of the Hilton Hawaiian Village hotel. The slowest finisher, Joseph Nagi of Kailua, Hawaii, competing in the male 65-69 division, fought the currents and managed to finish in 3 hours 22 minutes.

"This was the strongest current we have had in 34 years," Ted Sheppard, Waikiki Roughwater Swim Committee president, told the Honolulu Advertiser newspaper.

The National Weather Service reported that it was not certain if any connection could be made between nearby Tropical Storm Jimena and the water conditions.

Hawaii state senator Fred Hemmings, a former surfing champion and surf-contest promoter, told the Advertiser that the event began at a time, 9 a.m., when the tide was changing. "The best time would have been either 7:30 a.m. or 12:30 p.m.," Hemmings noted, "but instead the weaker swimmers got caught in the worst part of the outgoing tide."

Six-time Ironman Hawaii champion Dave Scott won the Waikiki Roughwater Swim in its early years before he took up the sport of triathlon. Ironman founder John Collins handed Scott a flyer about the Ironman on the beach at Waikiki after Scott had competed in the Roughwater.