General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Low water temp. for you to swim in wetsuit? Rss Feed  
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2010-10-06 12:47 PM

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Expert
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Pfafftown, NC
Subject: Low water temp. for you to swim in wetsuit?
I should be getting my wetsuit, this week.  Next week, and thereafter (until it gets too cold), I'm gonna have to get all the wetsuit adaptation I can get (I "might" have a small window in early April, but I'm not planning on it).  I've got access to a lake (buddy's dock).  I'm planning on buying a thermometer and leaving it in the water.

1.  What temps are you "comfortable" (I'm guessing this is relative to where you train) swimming in?
2.  At what temp is one of those neoprene swim caps advisable?  Comfortable?
3.  How many swims do you think is advisable to "get used to" the wetsuit?

If it makes a diff., my suit is a Blue Seventy Helix.

Thanks!

jeff


2010-10-06 12:55 PM
in reply to: #3136444

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Master
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Subject: RE: Low water temp. for you to swim in wetsuit?
For me:

1. Probably 50+ in a swimming wetsuit.  But I grew up waterskiing in a lot of very cold water.
2. I never wear them but saw a lot of people at CdA using them (60F this year).
3. Just a couple, if you're pulling the suit on properly so you have full flexibility in your shoulders.

Btw, maybe obvious, but don't do your open-water swimming alone.
2010-10-06 12:57 PM
in reply to: #3136444

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Pfafftown, NC
Subject: RE: Low water temp. for you to swim in wetsuit?
Btw, maybe obvious, but don't do your open-water swimming alone.

I really don't have a lot of choice, here.  I'll be swimming in a cove, where it's 20yds to either side (docks on both sides).  If this is REALLY dangerous, I need to know.
2010-10-06 12:57 PM
in reply to: #3136444

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Subject: RE: Low water temp. for you to swim in wetsuit?
It'll only take a couple swims to get used to it.

I've taken a shower in 37 degree water. I do NOT recommend it. I think 50 is about as far down as I'd go for water temp.

55 or so I put on the Tyr cold weather swim cap. Above that and keeping a good speed up keeps me warm enough. I will wear the Blue Seventy water socks from about 60 on down, though.
2010-10-06 1:00 PM
in reply to: #3136444

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Master
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Subject: RE: Low water temp. for you to swim in wetsuit?
1.  I OWS quite regularly and usually hang it up for the season when the temp goes below 63 or so.  2.  Under 60 I'd use a neoprene cap or 2 regular caps for extra warmth/comfort.
3.  A couple.  First time it'll feel different.  2nd time you'll get used to it.  3rd time, race. 
2010-10-06 1:03 PM
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Master
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Subject: RE: Low water temp. for you to swim in wetsuit?
OWS'ing with a buddy is overrated IMO.  Unless they're a trained lifeguard, you're more a risk to each other if something goes wrong.  I'd wager that all they're useful for is helping the authorities locate the body. 

If you're really concerned, get one of those SwimSafe devices. 


2010-10-06 1:05 PM
in reply to: #3136444

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Master
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Subject: RE: Low water temp. for you to swim in wetsuit?

I think you realize that your questions are highly driven by individual preferences, right?

1. 50F+ and my suit is sleeveless.  I could have easily gone colder with a fullsuit.  I have a friend who was in a fullsuit for the same swim and her hands and feet (wearing gloves and booties) were white after only 20 minutes.  It varies by individual.

2. Never worn one - I have a ton of hair and a reg swim cap keeps me plenty warm.

3. I needed 3 swims to get comfortable in the suit in the water.  It felt fine on dry land, but I really needed some swim time to get used to how I felt when swimming.  I also didn't have it up far enough the first time I wore it, so it was choking me the whole time.  Not fun.  Again, my suit is sleeveless, so I didn't have the shoulder issue to contend with either.  YMMV.

2010-10-06 1:13 PM
in reply to: #3136485

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Subject: RE: Low water temp. for you to swim in wetsuit?
nc452010 - 2010-10-06 10:57 AM Btw, maybe obvious, but don't do your open-water swimming alone.

I really don't have a lot of choice, here.  I'll be swimming in a cove, where it's 20yds to either side (docks on both sides).  If this is REALLY dangerous, I need to know.

Is there a high risk of something happening?  No.  But when something happens running or biking, you stop and sit down, maybe call for help.  When something happens swimming, you can drown.  I'd be especially cautious testing out new equipment and learning your cold-water limits.  See if you can get a friend to swim with or just a friendly observer while you're testing out the new wetsuit.  Just my $.02.
2010-10-06 1:13 PM
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Master
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Subject: RE: Low water temp. for you to swim in wetsuit?
Colder than 55 and I'm out...lol

55-65 full suit

65-70 depends on the distance...for a sprint, I will go in my tri suit..longer will be wetsuit still.

70+ tri suit or speed suit.

I swim all the time by myself. I grew up surfing by myself all the time, I don't see swimming any different.

I was totally comfortable in my wet suit after one swim. It's really not an issue to get "comfortable". I would suggest swimming in it before as race though just to make sure nothing is wrong....like fit or something of that nature.
2010-10-06 1:16 PM
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Expert
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Pfafftown, NC
Subject: RE: Low water temp. for you to swim in wetsuit?
FTR....I'm guessing the water temps right now are in the 70's.  Hardly "cold water", for now.
2010-10-06 1:22 PM
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Subject: RE: Low water temp. for you to swim in wetsuit?
OWS'ing with a buddy is overrated IMO.  Unless they're a trained lifeguard, you're more a risk to each other if something goes wrong.  I'd wager that all they're useful for is helping the authorities locate the body. 

If you're really concerned, get one of those SwimSafe devices. 


There is probably some truth to this, however, its still generally advisable to not swim alone or unobswerved from a common sense stand point. All it takes is one incident, right? that being said, let's remember that you are in a full wetsuit and literally will not drown unless someone or something is pulling you down. I wouldnt bother with a swim safe device...what is this going to do that the full wetsuit cannot do? BUT from common sense stand point, if at all possible, get someone to at least keep an eye on you. At least someone knows where you are and could call 911 if you are in trouble. At a minimum, let someone know where you are and what you are doing, and check in when you come back in. If they dont hear from you by a preset time, they should worry/call 911, etc.


2010-10-06 1:27 PM
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Subject: RE: Low water temp. for you to swim in wetsuit?
Fastyellow - 2010-10-06 1:13 PM

I swim all the time by myself. I grew up surfing by myself all the time, I don't see swimming any different.

I was totally comfortable in my wet suit after one swim. It's really not an issue to get "comfortable". I would suggest swimming in it before as race though just to make sure nothing is wrong....like fit or something of that nature.


qft
2010-10-06 2:04 PM
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NH
Subject: RE: Low water temp. for you to swim in wetsuit?
I'll swim down to 45 with the wetsuit.  No special cap.  This is VERY personal though.  I have tons of friends who swim and surf in the ocean up here year round, and it's COLD in New Hampshire in January.  I'd die, but they tolerate it. 

I also agree that it doesn't take long to get used to wetsuit.  The biggest adjustment is getting it on correctly or it chokes you.

I swim OWS in a lake alone all the time, but have people watching on the shore.  I go from point to point in our cove very close to shore.  I'm about 500 or so yards away at the most.  I know they couldn't help, but at least they know I'm out there and could identify the body.  I feel like I do things far more dangerous than swimming OWS alone all the time (cycling anyone?).
2010-10-06 2:17 PM
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Subject: RE: Low water temp. for you to swim in wetsuit?

Coldest I'm aware of swimming in--at least since I've owned a wetsuit--is 56F on a couple of occasions.  I've swum a half mile in training in that temperature with no wetsuit and a half mile in a sprint tri in a sleeveless.  Generally, under 60F, I'll wear my fullsuit, at least for Oly distance or longer, and usually wear a 2nd swim cap then.

Only time I've worn a neoprene cap was for the Alcatraz tri in August when we were being told the water would be 56...turned out to be 59 and wore it but didn't need it.

2010-10-06 2:40 PM
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Subject: RE: Low water temp. for you to swim in wetsuit?
wbayek - 2010-10-06 3:04 PMI also agree that it doesn't take long to get used to wetsuit.  The biggest adjustment is getting it on correctly or it chokes you.
Not meaning to hijack but how do you avoid this? I recently bought a wetsuit and have tried it on but haven't gone for a swim in it yet. Would love to avoid this little pitfall in advance if possible!
2010-10-06 2:44 PM
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Master
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Subject: RE: Low water temp. for you to swim in wetsuit?
Wow am I a wimp.   Anything colder than 70 and I will option for wetsuit (sleevless).   I have worn it in 75 during a race and wouldn't do again due to body temp.  When it is borderline, I have to weigh benefit of the suit for flotation etc vs. body heat.   They keep our indoor pool around 80 and some days I cringe when jumping in.   I need a few HTFU lessons for cold water swimming.   



2010-10-06 3:02 PM
in reply to: #3136444


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Subject: RE: Low water temp. for you to swim in wetsuit?
I have used mine down to 55 degF. Not sure how much colder water I want to swim in.

I have used used double swim caps and earplugs down when the water temp was below 65 degF
and it worked OK even down at 55 degF I have not used a neoprene cap.

I did 4 open water swims with my wetsuit before using it in my first triathlon. That may be overkill, but by the time I did the race, it was second nature swimming in it.

First time it I swam in cold water with a wesuit it took a little getting used to different body position and the sensation that it was restricting my breathing. After a couple of more OWS with it I was real comfortable.
2010-10-06 6:39 PM
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Subject: RE: Low water temp. for you to swim in wetsuit?
I have raced in water temps down to 52F (OD) and have trained in water that was mid 40's.  In the 50's if fairly comfortable once your hands, feet and face go numb (IMO) but the 40's gets to be painful.  Personally, unless I am doing an early season race, I will usually wait until the water gets to above 55F for training.

I am comfortable in my suit up to about 70F and then I start to overheat at race intensities and have to regularly flood the suit.

As to overall comfort, I am comfortable in the suit regardless of how much swimming I have done in it but I am fastest when I am doing at least a couple of swims a week in it.

Shane
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General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Low water temp. for you to swim in wetsuit? Rss Feed