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Thread: Water Temperature

  1. #1
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    Water Temperature

    Greetings, I am a regular distance swimmer, 3 - 6 miles a week. At my current YMCA pool they keep the water temperature at 82 - 83. That is fine. It takes 30 - 45 seconds to adjust after jumping into the water. Swimming, no problem, 2700 yards yesterday.

    However, we are in the process of relocating to another part of our metropolitan area, Columbus, OH. I checked out the pool in the new area the other day-- the water is Cold. I swam a thousand yards, and was cold the whole time. I'm gonna try again tomorrow. I was told by their aquatics director that they keep the temp at 80 degrees for competitive swimming.

    Well, it is cold. I am also a 69 year old Heart Patient. I may be more susceptible to cold since my heart attack and bypass surgery 19 months ago. Not sure.

    I am wondering if others give much thought to water temperature or if they ever have problems with it being too cold.
    Thanks
    Skip Cornett
    Columbus, OH

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    Re: Water Temperature

    Skip—you are going to get a lot of replies from know-it-alls who will tell you 80-81 is the appropriate temperature for competitive swimming. Don’t listen to them. You have it correct: 82-83, even 84, is perfect. Those who disagree are not spending enough time on the wall recovering from fast swims.

  3. #3
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    Re: Water Temperature

    Quote Originally Posted by Skip View Post
    Greetings, I am a regular distance swimmer, 3 - 6 miles a week. At my current YMCA pool they keep the water temperature at 82 - 83. That is fine. It takes 30 - 45 seconds to adjust after jumping into the water. Swimming, no problem, 2700 yards yesterday.

    However, we are in the process of relocating to another part of our metropolitan area, Columbus, OH. I checked out the pool in the new area the other day-- the water is Cold. I swam a thousand yards, and was cold the whole time. I'm gonna try again tomorrow. I was told by their aquatics director that they keep the temp at 80 degrees for competitive swimming.

    Well, it is cold. I am also a 69 year old Heart Patient. I may be more susceptible to cold since my heart attack and bypass surgery 19 months ago. Not sure.

    I am wondering if others give much thought to water temperature or if they ever have problems with it being too cold.
    Thanks
    Skip Cornett
    Columbus, OH
    I suppose my first question is do you swim with a cap? I don’t usually, but it does help retain some heat. Other possible alternatives include a swim shirt or wetsuit. Folks at my local pool regularly swim with these. Perhaps you’ve already excluded these though.

    To directly answer your question, cold is a trigger for asthma for me, so a small handful of times over the past seven years, the cold has triggered coughing. Not a bad issue though for me.

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    Re: Water Temperature

    Skip--As a fellow 69-year-old, I empathize with your discomfort in cooler water.

    Doug--With respect, I have this nagging feeling that your attempted pre-emptive response might actually define know-it-all. Despite your effort to head it off, there is much room for a conversation about appropriate water temperature and honest differences of opinion here.

  5. #5
    Very Active Member Gary P's Avatar
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    Re: Water Temperature

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Martin View Post
    Skip—you are going to get a lot of replies from know-it-alls who will tell you 80-81 is the appropriate temperature for competitive swimming. Don’t listen to them. You have it correct: 82-83, even 84, is perfect. Those who disagree are not spending enough time on the wall recovering from fast swims.
    83-84* adversely affects my performance in a sprint set. I start to overheat.

    If you're getting cold after a fast swim, maybe you're spending too much time on the wall. I'd recommend you get going again sooner

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    Re: Water Temperature

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Martin View Post
    Skip—you are going to get a lot of replies from know-it-alls who will tell you 80-81 is the appropriate temperature for competitive swimming. Don’t listen to them. You have it correct: 82-83, even 84, is perfect. Those who disagree are not spending enough time on the wall recovering from fast swims.
    80-82 IS ideal for fast swimming...so much so that is a USA and USMS rule. Your perfect 84 is unhealthy for most, and a guaranteed asthma attack for me. there is no amount of reasonable time to cool off after a fast swim.

    What is boils down to for training is personal preference. If 80 is too cold, try wearing a silicon cap to retain heat in your body. Try exerting a little more during your swim, or unlike Doug's advise, take LESS time between reps.

  7. #7
    Very Active Member srcoyote's Avatar
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    Re: Water Temperature

    There is certainly plenty of room for debate on this subject. I often swim in pools over 83, and it gives me a headache. It's too hot for me, but for many of those who share the pool with me, this is their ideal temperature. Each body reacts differently to water temp. I think of the open water swims I've done in 62 degree water. I go without a wet suit and am fine, but many, very fit people wear one and get out early. (Note my avi is me in the 61 degree Thames sans wet suit and being trailed by someone with one on).

    Give me a pool at 75, and I'm happy. Unfortunately the only way I get one of those is if the heater breaks.

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    Very Active Member ForceDJ's Avatar
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    Re: Water Temperature

    Skip -- Maybe a thin swimming wetsuit could be the answer.

    Dan

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    Re: Water Temperature

    For speed swimming, slightly warmer temperatures are optimal. Olympic racing and FINA events mandate a water temperature between 77 – 82 degrees (25 – 28°C), whereas synchronized swimming requires an 81-degree (give or take a degree) pool. For diving, they set the pool water temperature to a moderate 79 degrees (26°C).
    C.J. Rushman
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    The opinions expressed in the above post are mine and not those of U.S. Masters Swimming.

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    Re: Water Temperature

    The pool I train in is kept around 84-85. I'd prefer it a couple degrees cooler, but you can get used to that temperature. Just be sure to keep your water bottle filled. 80 will definitely feel cold if you aren't used to it, but I suggest trying it a few times. I think your body will adapt. It's not really that cold.

    I'm hoping Doug Martin's reply was meant to be tongue in cheek.

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    Re: Water Temperature

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Martin View Post
    Skip—you are going to get a lot of replies from know-it-alls who will tell you 80-81 is the appropriate temperature for competitive swimming. Don’t listen to them. You have it correct: 82-83, even 84, is perfect. Those who disagree are not spending enough time on the wall recovering from fast swims.
    I am of the vast minority here that agrees 100%

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    Very Active Member Kurt Dickson's Avatar
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    Re: Water Temperature

    83 and above is good for water aerobics and a myocardial infarction/heat stroke for fatties like me. High 70s for racing is optimal. Best 1 hour postal ever for me was when the heater broke and it was low 60s. The coach for the kiddies told me he would turn the heater off for a night for my next postal if I planned it for the weekend...yay!

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    Re: Water Temperature

    My nearest pool is kept what I consider quite warm, but, they do have water aerobics classes, so, I guess Kurt, that confirms your first point! I don't love that temperature (it kind of felt like getting into a lukewarm bath, to me, while summer was still warming us outdoors). But, as knelson said, you can get used to it, and it makes that cold water or sports drink really delicious!
    Just enjoying swimming for fitness and relaxation, in Maryland


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    Re: Water Temperature

    I too am 69, but not for much longer. I have an artificial aortic valve, which keeps me on a blood thinner drug. You would think that might make me more cold sensitive, but I don't seem to be. What I am is naturally very well insulated.

    All the pools I swim in are 80-82 and very comfortable whether I'm doing 50yds fast or continuous 2500yd. I used to swim at a local college pool (not part of the school team) 30+ years ago and it was always cooler than that. I'd guess it was between 75-80. I never had a problem with that either. The outdoor town pool, the only 50m pool I have nearby, is quite cold at the beginning of the season, below 70, and yeah, I have a problem with that until I get a lap or two done.

    From June-Aug I also swim a mile or two with a Tri club each week at a lake which is in the 60s early on, and 75 at best in mid-summer. Most triathletes use wet suits, but not I. Again, I only have difficulty jumping in to start but once under way, no problem. One fitness center where I swim regularly had an annual cleaning last month and refilled with 50 degree water (normal city water temps in October). I went over there two days after reopening, don't know the temperature but the lifeguard on duty said no one had stayed in past 10 minutes that day. I lasted an hour.

    I actually have no idea what 83-84 would feel like for either speed or distance.

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    Re: Water Temperature

    "Ideal" water temperature is going to be different for everybody, depending on several factors: Age, body fat composition, health factors (arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, Raynaud's, and more), your age, how fast you swim, how long you swim for in a session, how long you rest in between sets, what type of sets you are doing (Kick Set? Sprints?), whether you wear a cap (and, if so, what type of cap(s) ), air temperature, wind (if outdoors), how many other people are in the pool with you churning up water to contribute to the humidity level in an indoor pool, your body temperature, if you are tired or not, if you are sick or not, if you are sunburned or not, if you are hungry or not, ETC.!

    In other words, there is no right or wrong answer; only recommendations and guidelines based on any or all of the above.
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    Re: Water Temperature

    Lots of good pools are around 80F. If you find that temperature too cold, a cap is your first line of defense and earplugs are your second. A guy on my team wears a thin shorty wetsuit to every workout and you could try that if earplugs and a cap aren't enough.

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    Re: Water Temperature

    78 - 82 is what H S meets are to be held in that range. A cap is a very good suggestion. Some slender [not me ] types wear a light nylon type shirt.

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    Very Active Member Swimspire's Avatar
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    Re: Water Temperature

    This is a question that often stirs up controversy! Of course, there are individual factors that will determine what the "ideal" water temperature is - but as some of the forumites have mentioned, the USA Swimming/FINA mandate is that a pool temperature between 77 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit is mandated for competitive swimming. That's generally the ideal temperature. But temperatures at pools, in many instances, will depend upon the clientele. If the pool is geared more towards lap/competitive swimmers, the temperature will be within the mandated limits. If it's for general use, it will normally be kept higher. The best facilities are those with two pools held at different temperatures for different uses. The most challenging situation is actually when the pool temperature is too warm. If the pool is too warm, you need to stay vigilant, adjust your workout, and keep hydrated. If it's too cold, as others have suggested, you can wear a cap, earplugs and even if necessary a light wetsuit.

  19. #19
    Very Active Member srcoyote's Avatar
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    Re: Water Temperature

    The pool heater at a local Y is broken. Water temp today was 73. Miracles do happen!

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    Re: Water Temperature

    Quote Originally Posted by Skip View Post
    Greetings, I am a regular distance swimmer, 3 - 6 miles a week. At my current YMCA pool they keep the water temperature at 82 - 83. That is fine. It takes 30 - 45 seconds to adjust after jumping into the water. Swimming, no problem, 2700 yards yesterday.

    Well, it is cold [80]. I am also a 69 year old Heart Patient. I may be more susceptible to cold since my heart attack and bypass surgery 19 months ago. Not sure.
    I'm 68 with not heart problems and feel the cold much faster than when I was younger too. We don't have a thermometer at our pool, but I've become pretty good a guessing the water temp between OW and pool swimming. In the early summer growing up on LI the outdoor pools would be pretty cold (below mid-60s) and it would take more than a few laps to get warmed up. But, my metabolism was about 50x faster!

    At least in my opinion 84+ gets too hot, and as others have said, it can push your heart rate up. Our Y kept the water at 85+ and it was way to hot for me and other swimmers doing sets and I stopped swimming at the Y. At I think about 80 and below (before they turn the pool heater on in the fall) I need to keep moving in our current pool. At about 80 if I hang on the wall for a couple of minutes talking after the main set and before the cool down, I start to get cold and stiffen.

    In open water I don't have any problem down to low 70s as long as I keep swimming; I wear a shorty wet suit below that, but prefer a full suit at below 65 or 67. You would want a wet suit designed for swimming, not surfing. They do change your buoyancy (body position in the water) and many swimmers don't like that. Personally I think you would find just about any neoprene wet suit to be too warm in a pool.

    Some Tri swimmers use swim "skins" (I think that's what they are called), which must have some minimal insulating capability and drag reduction, but are nylon and not neoprene, and surfers use rash guards (nylon tee shirt, some have 1mm +/- insulation too). Rash guards tend to get baggy and might not last long in the pool before becoming problematic, but guess it's worth a try - get poly for durability and not nylon or lycra, if you can find it.
    Some guys they just give up living and start dying little by little, piece by piece. Some guys come home from work and wash up and go racin’ in the street. (Bruce Springsteen, 1978)

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