Long Distance OW Swim



  • Looks like the rest 2nd half of my post got lost somewhere. So contiuing on the OSS River Dart 10K

    I did say Officially

  • Whats happening to my posts? they keep getting cut off!

    OK I discovered using the 'less than ' arrow ends the post!

    officially less than 14 degrees, but felt like 12.

  • Slugs wrote (see)

    officially less than 14 degrees, but felt like 12.

    12 is less than 14 though isn't it?

    Sorry, couldn't resist.

    I did some OW swims earlier in the year that were 11 or 12 degrees and it was rather chilly.....

  • I did the Dart 10K too... and it was very cold indeed! Ok once I got over the initial shock though! It was pretty choppy in places too! Great day out image

  • Love the thread guys!!

    I have signed up for my first ow swim doing Eton 10k next May. Never really swam outdoors so any tips much appriciated. + wetsuits optional so dont know the best way forward? Im reasonably well build and padded image so dont know if the cold will be an issue. 

    Did a 5k pool swim at the weekend which went ok but time of 1hr 55mins was a fair bit slower than I expected/wanted. 

    If anyone knows any decent training places in the North West I would much appriciate some info. Saw a blue lagoon by LLangollen in N. Wales it looks nice but is quite small (too small for 10k practice). 

    Anybody from my neck of woods (Wirral/Merseyside)?? 


  • Welcome Jamie! If you can do 5k in a pool you'll be well able for 10k in open water. The mental side of long distance in a pool makes up for the extra distance outside! On the wetsuit question, I haven't done much swimming without a wetsuit in open water. I did 1,500m a couple of weeks back in a lake. It was very cold starting off, warmed up after a couple of hundred metres and was getting cold again towards the end. You would definitely need to get plenty of practice of swimming without a wetsuit between now and May but I'm sure you'd be fine without.

    One of the beaches I practice at is only about 400m long. I think that is enough to train for any distance really. Its more about getting used to the choppy conditions and swimming in a straight line etc. so any open water location should be a great start. Just think safety first image

    I have a 2k swim this weekend in Irelands only Fjord. We get brought out by boat and swim back to shore. Looks like a good turnout and there's a couple of top swimmers signed up. Interested to see just how much they hammer me by!! Wetsuits are mandatory which I think is a bit strange. Water temp is probably still pretty decent.

  • Thanks for the info B. Good luck with your swim at the weekend. 

    Its nice to hear that the boredom on ow is less. I was getting a bit fed up in the pool after 5k. 

    I was debating some training this weekend but didnt know if the water would be too cold at this time of year. Will have to man up and give it a go image 

    Im excited to get outside and experience swimming in the great outdoors. 

  • Jamie, hi. I am in southport, I have been swimming at Pennington flash in Warrington. Session Mondays/Thursdays and Saturday. Sessions now finish, bit cold. Check out the Mersey tri web site they organise sessions in Crosby. Check out Head to the hills in Ambleside, they organise training weekends. They organise a great 10k and 5k swim in buttermere in September .
  • Jamie, I did the Eton 10k this year. The majority wore wetsuits, only the hardened few went without rubber. I am contemplating going without if I do it next year. I've done a few 3ks 'naked' this year, so it'll be the natural progression. Its surprising how much slower you are with out the wetsuit, but as a stepping stone Dorney is probably the best place to try the distance first, with or without rubber. This year the water temperature suddenly shot up from 14 degrees about 2 weeks before to 18-19 degrees on race day.

  • That swim at the weekend was cold!! Really don't know if it was doable without a wetsuit. Paramedics were waiting at the finish line rushing away anyone who was in for over 50 minutes. The winners were still shivering 30 minutes later. Good swim for me though. 37 minutes for 2k. The winners were around 26 minutes!! Finished 85th out of about 280 which is great for me.

    I found it interesting to see that 5 of the top 10 were female. Big difference from any running event I've ever done.

  • Congratulations on the swim!! Very good time.

    I wouldnt have thought it would be 50/50 male-female split in the top 10. 

    Let me know if you decide to do the Eton swim. I am leaning towards a wetsuit now with what everyone has said. Going to have my first outdoor dip this sunday in my suit so can test it. 

    Thanks slugs, i thought if anything the suit would constrict and slow you down if anything. 

    Do you guys carry on swimming through the winter months? 



  • I'm still swimming.  I managed about 40 minutes today in the Cam without a wetsuit.  Soon I might have to double hat though.

  • Impressive! I haven't been in since my last post. It was hard enough just to go running this morning image

    I'll be in for the annual Christmas day swim though, no wetsuits allowed of course!

  • Swimming in the cold is easier than running in the cold.  The water tends to be warmer than air temperature, and you are out of the wind.  You just have to convince your mind of that when you get in.

    And get changed very quickly when you get out.  That's when you really get cold

  • Entered the 5k swim at the great north swim, thnk I will need a neoprene hat if it is as cold as last year. Very brave still swimming, wet suit in the loft for he winter.
  • Hello everyone! Let's get this thread going again image.  SuperCaz is an ace OW wetsuit-free swimmer so she knows what she's talking about.

    I can't believe how much I've done since tentatively asking a few questions back in the summer.  Caz pointed me in the direction of a group who swim from Southbourne in Bournemouth and, to cut a long story short, I'm swimming through the winter in the sea, wetsuit-free.  It's the most scary, invigorating, life affirming thing I've done for years (even though I've had a few moments in big surf recently where it was anything other than life affirming...).  I've been asked to blog about it for 220 Triathlon if anyone's interested:


    Next challenge: the Cold Water Swimming Championships at Tooting Bec Lido on 26th Jan where the water will be the coldest I've ever swum in - could be as low as 2 or 3 degC.  The sea's still relatively warm although we don't really know what the temp is.  My inaccurate watch said 9.6 yesterday but it could have been colder. It'll prob get colder in the next two months but am so looking forward to April when the sea should start warming up again.  Meanwhile I might be one of the nutters I've always thought were bonkers swimming at the start of the OW season in the lake without a wetsuit.  If it's 13degrees it'll feel tropical!


  • I take back what I said about Caz knowing what she's talking about. Just re read her comment re swimming in the cold is easier than running in the cold. She's lying. image

  • B_Kins - where do you do your Christmas day swim?  Did you enjoy it?  Ours was very rough and tumble so we sort of just bobbed about a bit and sang jingle bells.  Yesterday's New Year swim was better - we actually swam somewhere because the sea was a bit calmer. And it was sunny which made a huge difference.

  • You must be mad. The entries will be open soon for the utterly Buttermere swim in June, did the 5 k last year, going to do the 10k this year if my shoulder holds out. Cleanest water I have ever swam in.
  • Clean water. How lovely...


  • Just entered the 10k swim at the utterly Butteremere swim in June, time to get training. The 5k was amazing last year.
  • I'm doing the CWSC too and then the following week I'm doing the ChillSwim in Windermere.

    In April I am doing a 24 mile swim - 1 mile per hour on the hour for 24 hours


  • SuperCaz wrote (see)

    In April I am doing a 24 mile swim - 1 mile per hour on the hour for 24 hours


    image  Where's that?  Don't you get cold waiting for the hour to restart?  That's a serious sleep deprevation challenge.

  • Guildford lido, ITB.  I'm doing it solo, but lots of people are doing it as a relay instead.

    Its going to be a huge challenge for me.  Nutrition will be an issue, sleep won't happen, the cold will be a big challenge and putting wet swimming costumes back on.  If I can do that then I think I will be well prepared for the Channel.  I'm using it as a training session for my Channel crew too

  • SuperCaz that swim sounds like an epic challenge!! Good luck with it and the training.  Sounds like perfect pre channel training.

    Im psycing up to finding somewhere outdoors to train for my swim in May. Got to get me used to outdoor swimming and make a wetsuit or no wetsuit decision image 

    anyone else got any challenges on the horizon? 

  • Oh anyother question. Has anyone used one of these Garmin swim watches. I quite fancy the one that counts pool lengths and total distance swam in a week (£110 ish) and I like the look of the GPS one but cant afford really image 

    Just wondering if anyone has any recommendations. 

  • I think they are great. Well I haven't used the swim, but I have the gps one. The swim watch is probably better in the pool as its a much slimmer watch. Not as useful for OW swimming obviously. Though it probably gives you a stroke rate in OW as well so still better than a normal watch. Tracking the total distance swam is a good motivator as well. I usually set a monthly target of say 30k and it helps get me to the pool!

    Any reviews I've seen put the garmin watches ahead of the competition and at pretty reasonable prices too.

  • I've got the Garmin 910 I think.  I love that it counts the lengths for me, now that I'm doing significant distance in the pool.  It isn't 100% accurate but its more accurate than I am capable of counting for distances over 100 lengths.

    I'm less worried about distance in OW as so much depends on tides, currents, wind etc so the distance can be quite decieving.  For example I did 1.2k in 9 minutes in the river last month whereas it would take me about 21 min in the pool.  The difference was because the river was flowing particulrly fast that day and had nothing to do with the level of effort I was putting in.

  • Thanks for the info B. Gonna buy the pool one for training and attempt to save for the GPS in time for swim in May image I like the idea of getting performance stats online. Nice way to track progress. 

  • I did my first swim in the snow today.  In fact I loved it so much that I did 3!

    Not sure whether that is worthy of a Long Distance thread though, as I only did about 400m total


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