Swimming in Cold Water

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I’ll be the first to say, I hate the cold! Cold air, and especially cold water.
14 years of competitive swimming, I never once got used to or enjoyed jumping into a cold pool.

These days, I prefer open water swimming to pool swimming, but refuse to get in our local Pacific Ocean until it gets up around 66 degrees or so. Anything below that and I’m known to turn various shades of purple!

There are many triathlons where cold water is part of the challenge- especially the early season ones, like April and May. What can you do about cold water? There are several things. Here is a list of tips to minimize the negative affects and the uncomfortableness of cold water swimming.

1. Wear two caps. You lose most of your heat through your head, and doubling up your capage helps keep you warm.

2. Wear a neoprene cap. Neoprene is meant for cold water more than standard latex.

3. Wear a wetsuit, but more specifically, a full suit. The sleeveless suits allow heat to escape through your armpits.

4. Put in earplugs. When the water drops below 60 degrees, I think earplugs become necessary- and they do work well in keeping your core temperature up.

5. Practice swimming in cold water before your race. It can be a shock to your system that can lead to hyperventilating or a panicked feeling. You will want to swim slowly until you get your breath. The first time you experience this it can throw you off, but with practice, you will get used to it- and be able to relax into your swim.