General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Water Temperature - Open water swim Rss Feed  
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2008-02-15 9:19 PM

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Extreme Veteran
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Houston, Texas
Subject: Water Temperature - Open water swim
What's the conventional wisdom on the lowest OWS temperature that is comfortable to swim in. The area lakes are ~58 degrees and I was wondering if this is too cold to swim for an hour while wearing a wet-suit. I know that the Channel swimmers and members of the Polar Bear club wouldn't think twice at this temp but I'm a Texan with an aversion to cold.


2008-02-16 12:21 AM
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Veteran
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Kailua-Kona now in Oregon,
Subject: RE: Water Temperature - Open water swim
58 degrees? ouch! If the water gets below 76 I'm outie ... I have a real aversion to cold. If you have a local dive shop or maybe find one online, they might be able to tell you about wetsuits and hypothermia and safe temps/times.

I don't know if a tri wetsuit is insulated enough for that temp, (at least for me), but I just have a BlueSeventy nonwetsuit-wetsuit.
2008-02-16 2:28 AM
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Pro
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Los Angeles, CA
Subject: RE: Water Temperature - Open water swim
I've been in 54 degree water temp for 40 minutes in an 1/2 IM with a full wetsuit. Also had a neoprene cap with my race cap over it. And wax earplugs.

Edited by auto208562 2008-02-16 2:28 AM
2008-02-16 6:27 AM
in reply to: #1215505

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Elite
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New City, New York
Subject: RE: Water Temperature - Open water swim

Maybe not optimal but definately not dangerous. I've raced in 58 degree water in a sleeveless ws and neoporene cap and was fine. Now I don't know if I'd want to train in it and w/ your admitted aversion to cold Im thinking you might want to wait till it warms up to say 65

2008-02-16 9:28 AM
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Expert
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Long Island NY
Subject: RE: Water Temperature - Open water swim
58?? Get the heating blanket.
2008-02-16 11:50 AM
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Champion
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Evergreen, Colorado
Subject: RE: Water Temperature - Open water swim

I've done hours in 70-ish degree water, and an hour as low as 65-68 or so, both without wetsuits...but I would say 58 degrees is something you need to get your body used to, wetsuit or not...

I'd start with short bouts.  Water that cold HURTS when you get in.  Like, really hurts...your head.  But if you just swim for a few minutes the pain goes away.



2008-02-16 1:26 PM
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Lethbridge, Alberta
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Subject: RE: Water Temperature - Open water swim
Last fall I swam for maybe 15 minutes in 49 degree F, in a full tri wetsuit, just to try it. Especially if you're not used to cold water, I don't recommend that. A few seconds after climbing out I got very dizzy for a minute or so. You should be fine at 58 but start with shorter swims. It may help to do some kind of warmup exercise before jumping in. Once you get moving and working a bit even 49F didn't feel that bad.
2008-02-16 4:25 PM
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Master
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Subject: RE: Water Temperature - Open water swim
58 is cool but not dangerous and really not that bad. I have done a HIM in 62 and was more than fine.
2008-02-16 5:01 PM
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Veteran
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NYC
Subject: RE: Water Temperature - Open water swim
I did Malibu last year, the water temp was 59. Definitely not dangerous but I would start off with some shorter times, not and hour. I wore a full wetsuit but no cap. Make sure you wear ear plugs!
2008-02-16 7:52 PM
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Regular
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North Plains, Oregon
Subject: RE: Water Temperature - Open water swim
We start our OWS in early May out here at Hagg Lake, and the water temps are usually in the low 50's. Some wear neoprene caps. Although one girl goes sleevless with her arm warmers. At this time of the year I wear ear plugs to cut down on the dizziness. The first couple of times some may be shivereing afterwards, but we get used to it. We take breaks to let slower swimmers, like myself, catch up, and to make sure everyone is OK.
2008-02-16 8:04 PM
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Master
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Atlanta, GA
Subject: RE: Water Temperature - Open water swim
Back in the day, I life guarded on Cape Cod. We had to do a OWS in Atlantic each day from June to Aug. It was about 58 to 62 and cold. We were not allowed wet suites! I think the head guard knew how to knock a hang over out of us. Any way, dangerous, absolutely not. You should get use to it with some short 30 minute swims.

If you do not have an early IM or HIM, OWS this early is not really needed. Are you looking for a challenge? I would do it. Just doing a head check on motivation.


2008-02-16 10:43 PM
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Veteran
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Arlington, VA
Subject: RE: Water Temperature - Open water swim
I've also raced in 54' water with full wetsuit and neoprene cap. It was pretty cold, especially at first, but doable.
2008-02-17 10:12 AM
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Extreme Veteran
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Houston, Texas
Subject: RE: Water Temperature - Open water swim
Thank you all for your replies. Swimming less than a year I wasn't sure about water temperature and the effect on the body. Based on your suggestions I do believe that I'll wait until at least ~65 degree water before even attempting this.

My motivation for wanting to get into the open water are two-fold. One; boredom in the pool. Two; my goal of a 10K OWS. My terrible swim performance in my first triathlon made me promise to beat the swim monster into submission and the goal of a distance swim was put near the top of my list. The Horsetooth 10K swim in Colorado (where my sister lives) is held each fall and I'd like to race it this year. If I cannot achieve it 2008 then 2009 (or 2010) will be great. To train for this I want as much OWS as possible. Three to four hours of swimming is daunting to say the least and pure pool time just ain't gonna cut it.

This race has water temperature 65-70 degree range and wetsuits are NOT allowed. So my logic said that is equal to 58 with a wetsuit.

Anyone care to join me?
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General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Water Temperature - Open water swim Rss Feed