open water swimming

Tried to go open water swimming today. The lake was empty which I thought was great. Guy who owns the lake warned me it was 11 degrees. I laughed, he laughed, I parted with my cash. I put on my wetsuit jumped in and couldnt feel my limbs. I convinced myself it was too dangerous for me. "Fuck that" I thought as I quickly changed and got a refund and left out of embarrassment. went for a harvester instead

Whats the coldest youve raced/ trained in? How do you increase tolerance?


  • Just man up and get on with it

    Or take up knitting
  • not many will train open water all year around.i did the year before last but had gloves and booties and it was bloody cold.....

    i will occassionally this year as i am in tough with an open water group.

    I would never swim on my own or without someone spotting for me as you can get into trouble pretty quickly in the cold water.

    so eityher find people to go with or wait until spring

  • I've not raced in really cold water, but have sailed all my life, throughout the entire year, spending considerable amounts of time in freezing water. (clearly i'm not a very good sailor!)

    Once the water gets cold (~24deg) then for anything other than a very quick dip, a much heavier wetsuit is needed, or indeed a drysuit, neither of which are particularly well suited to swimming.

    If you do wish to continue, then a neoprene balaclava, gloves and boots and a decent 4 to 6mm wetsuit will be in order... or very short swims!

    The real question is why bother? image

    lets be honest.... its all prep for an Ironman on my 100th birthday
  • That should read 14 deg..... image

    lets be honest.... its all prep for an Ironman on my 100th birthday
  • D0MD0M ✭✭✭

    14 degrees, maybe slightly colder.  For 11 degrees, think you would need booties, gloves, neoprene hat etc.  Are you new to OW swimming?  The season is generally April til end September.

  • Only answer to increase tolerance is do it regularly, you do build up.  You'd probably have found if you'd swum about a bit you wouldn't have been so cold very quickly.


    Quite surprised you found a lake open.

  • lake in bristol will open all year around.I swam there in december year before was cold.but not as cold as the river I was swimming in most weeks...when the snow melted off the mountains and the icy water made its way seaward then the water was very very cold.......

  • Lakes close???? Aaah I love Scotland, we have the Right to Roam... our lochs never close!!! Although sometimes they do freeze over!image

  • 11 degrees was about the temps when the Cotswold lakes started. I wore bootees and a thick swim cap. A neoprene (wetsuit type) gimp hat is better.

    Last week I swam at Bristol and that was 16 degrees and that was just fine. No bootees, one standard swim cap. No problems with hypothermia. The lakes do start to cool down with heavy rain though. Last week the Cotswold lake was quoted as 14.5 degrees. Today's Tenby (North Beach) sea temperature is 15.9 °C.

  • I have done a bit of open water but in summer. This thread has made me sound extremely wet and feeble haha. Im not that bad. There were 3 of us all intending to swim at our own pace with nothing but a race cap and a basic tri wetsuit wetsuit and the owner wasnt watching us. There was a high risk of injury or one of us going and no one seeing it. Also we are training for "a" 70.3 event in lanza in 2 weeks...while we wanted ow experience, getting a fever wasnt our preferred outcome so I think we will stick to the pool. We could have probably managed but decided it wasnt beneficial. It was the bristol one

  • yes you swim in bristol...if that was me I would have swam in very small loops near the entry and that way you could keep in touch with each other..or just take someone to watch..but you will not get any long sessions done this time of year.....

  • The coldest I have swum in was 2 degrees C, and I lasted about 5-10 minutes.  Building up a tolerance is easy if you can get in twice a week, but it much harder if you swim less often.

    The important thing is to make sure you are safe.  Never go in alone, take more warm clothes than you think you could possibly need, have a hot drink and a ceramic mug (warms up your hands and insides at the same time) but never fill the cup more than half full as you don't want your shivring hands to get burnt when you spill it.  Also look for somewhere indoors you can warm up in - a pub or cafe is the best option if there is one locally, and most importantly, KNOW YOUR LIMITS and don't take risks.  We don't want any dead heros.

  • You can increase your tolerance, just by getting in there and lasting a bit longer. I swim sometimes with Seren and our river group is still going. Last Friday the temperature was 10.5 degrees, but with a few gasps & complaints all 3 of us managed a non wetsuit swim. 2 of us managed 800m up the river & back in about 40 minutes.

    Get over the initial shock, get your face cold & get over the hyperventilation before you start trying to swim, Try ducking under the water, exhaling under water, 5-10 times, rest then repeat. Resort to switching to breast stroke for a couple of strokes or head up front crawl, until you feel comfortable with your race in the water. Expect to swim a bit slower.

    We've been swimming non wetsuit since early summer so have got used to the water as its got colder. Not sure how much colder I can go without rubber. We'll see.  Sea swim at Barry Island this Saturday evening, wonder how cold the sea is? You coming Seren? Full moon swim.

    There was some crazy shaking & shivering going on in the carpark as we tried to drink the hot chocolate.image

  • we have to get up early for abingdon sunday so will have to wait till the november one .....

    unless my hubbies manflu develpos and then we will abandon abingdon

  • Say hello at Abingdon, Seren. I'll probably be in Pirate attire.


  • Still swimming at Frensham Great Pond in Surrey. It's cold alright but do-able with a tri wetsuit.

    This was on a nice sunny day last week....


  • cracking vid Chris....  is that a gopro camera you are using?

  • yes  - brilliant piece of kit. Though it did worry me slightly that it would slip off my head and sink into the murky depths of Frensham - never to be seen again!

  • I never made it to Frensham when I lived down that way.  I turned up once but it was late summer and there was blue/green algae and I didn't fancy it

  • No algae today but very choppy - like swimming in the sea!

  • I miss the sea image

  • Swam at Frensham today and met some other swimmers who'd recorded the water temp at 11c. 

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