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Has anyone suffered from an itchy rash after open water swimming?

Hi Folks....its my first post so let me introduce myself.

I've been cruising the pages of this forum as a guest for a while now, soaking up all of your invaluable advice since fooloshly agreeing to do the London Sprint with a group of buddies and as seems to be a common problem, Tri appears to have completely taken over my life!

I've always kept a baisc level of fitness and have ran the odd half marathon but had never considered tri because basically I couldn't swim. I slipped a disc in my neck last year and after months of having an excuse not to excercise I hit my all time body weight record (nearly 15 stone!!). Well, its now some 3 and a half months of training later and about 8 swimming lessons and I can just about hold my own in the pool, dropped almost 12 minutes off my 10k time, have had an excuse to buy a road bike which gets more attention than my poor tri widow of a wife and I'm now tipping the scales at 13 stone 7.

As the training has been going reasonably well, I decided to sign up for the May 220 evening race at Dorney as a first race and to get some practice in before London. This spurred me into visiting a local open water venue last Thursday. This was my first open water swim and I encountered all of the usual problems of over excitement and knackering myself in the first 200m, burning shoulders and a moment of sheer panic about half way round when I couldn't do my usual pool trick of hanging off the side for a few minutes. After some intermittent crawl/breaststroke and lots of steely eyed swimmers flying past me I made it round in a rather slow 21 mins. Everyone at the centre was super friendly. Lots of advice was on hand from fellow swimmers and the supervising staff. I went home with a buzz and a determination to shave the minutes of my time.........but........and its a big but!

I woke the following morning covered in a wicked rash. Now, I've never had any form of skin complaint but this is itchy as hell and looks like all my hair follicles are inflamed. Its on my legs, arms, torso, scalp and is driving me insane. I don't think I'm allergic to wetsuit rubber as I'm a novice diver plus I've worn my swimming wetsuit in the pool with no issues. Has any one else experienced this or know of anything in water that may effect certain folk. Antihistamine is helping but 3 days have passed now and I'm still scratching?

I'm desperate to get back down there this week but am now a little worried I may react again. Any ideas will be greatfully accepted.

Cheers all.. and great forum....sorry about the long winded post

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