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Is it to early for open water swimming

I know this is a strange question but when does everybody think is the correct time to start open water swimming. I was think at the end of april. Of course it will be wet suit, but the tri season is nearly upon us so enough of the pool swimming let get out there and get swimming


  • BlurredgirlBlurredgirl Posts: 292
    I'm lucky enough to live by the sea and am usually doing at least some of my sessions in the scary water by now (wetsuit!) but it has been so cold that I've put it off for a couple of weeks.

    I can only stay in for 15-20mins or so at this time of year, but it's great acclimatisation for open-water events, plus very enjoyable. I up the time gradually as the water warms up.

    By June I'm usually doing about half of my sessions in the sea. No turns and no people to annoy. Lovely.

  • Jack HughesJack Hughes Posts: 1,262
    Depends on the water temperature.

    Which depends on where you are. And what you are swimming in.

    The sea tends to be a bit more stable in temperature and gradually warms up through the year. A bit. The sea is warmer in Winter than lakes (all that salt and more stable temperature), but colder in the summer.

    Lakes depend on where they are, and how high up they are.

    The problem with swimming in the cold is that you might sieze up/cramp up/generally die.

    If you are with people the risks are a bit lower as someone might be able to pull you out.

    It depends on how fit you are, how insulated you are (body fat as well as a wetsuit) as to how long you can swim at a given temperature - if the water is colder then you are, then you will get colder, generally speaking.

    Open water swimming, unless you are really experienced, is best done as part of a club, IMHO. They will know where and when to go, and give be able to support you. If the club is well organised there will be someone with lifesaving skills etc. Not that I am a pessimist of course, it's just not worth taking the unnecessary risk!

    If you have a dog that likes swimming, you can use the "dog test". If it's too cold for him, then it's too cold for you

  • pacman2102pacman2102 Posts: 247
    You must be a very hardy sole to be doing open water swim in the sea this time of year. I have never done a sea swim yet, done a few lake swims, is it any different ???

    I presume sea swimming is wet suit, not like the people how grease themselves up to swim the channel
  • BlurredgirlBlurredgirl Posts: 292
    Hi Pacman,

    Jack Hughes speaks much sense. Certainly at this time of year I swim close to the shore and go backwards and forwards (rather than out and back) - more often than not in a depth where I can put my feet down should I get into trouble. In the summer (when my less stupid friends also start sea swimming) I will swim out and back in a group. I always check tides and weather conditions before plodding all the way down to the beach and don't take my wetsuit off until the end of April, usually. Obviously I mean for swimming purposes. It does usually come off for running, biking, sleeping, working, watching TV and that sort of thing. [:)]

    I adore swimming in open water and the thrill of bobbing about in the drink overcomes the cold for me. But I have notoriously been like this since I was a small thing - family stories exist of mum and dad having to make sure there was always a towel and dry clothes in the car if we went any where near water, whatever time of year. Not much has changed.

    Until the water becomes truly warm I also wear two swim hats - and the one on top is bright yellow so that I can be seen.

    Sea swimming is unique for two reasons - the salt and the swell. If you are not a regular sea swimmer, then it would be wise to get a bit of practice in if you can, as both of these factors can make a triathlete very miserable. I'm just very fortunate in that I not only have easy access to the sea, but also, perversely some think, love it.

  • pacman2102pacman2102 Posts: 247
    so where in the country do you sea swim, not in the cold north sea I hope . You are still very brave to swim in the UK sea's even in the summer without a wetsuit. Don't you feel the cold???

    do you only swim for tri's or are you a regular swimmer any way

    Got to admit I love swimming in the sea on holiday and in the lake during the summer I do find it a lot easier and more enjoyable than the pool.
  • BlurredgirlBlurredgirl Posts: 292
    I'm on the South coast - i.e. I swim in the Channel. Much warmer than people think, honestly. I do feel the cold, but I actually like it. Weird, I know. My biggest gripe with my local pool is not the grotty changing rooms, or the kids swimming across the lanes, or even the perpetual lack of a 'fast lane' - but the temperature of the water. Way too warm for me and I find it suffocating.

    I do still do 100% of my training in the pool in the winter, and then that will change gradually to about 50% in the summer. I still like to go swim training at the pool with DH and he won't put a toe in the sea unless the air temperature is 35+. Every July I also get the chance to do a lot of river swimming. Bliss.

    I swim for tris now, but before last year I swam distances for fun, did Swimtrek, did various charity long swims, entered sea swimming races etc.

    I do recommend that if any of your events this season involve sea swimming, then do give it a go prior to your event if you can. I'm a very average amateur triathlete but was acutely aware of my advantage over novice sea swimmers at the Brighton triathlon last year.

  • pacman2102pacman2102 Posts: 247
    So what they is true you woman are far tougher than us blokes when it comes to the cold (I don't really feel the cold but that unusal) . I got to admit not many tri have a sea swim involved But would imagine they are quite fun.

    I am a reasonably good swimmer normally in the first dozan out of the lake even at the nationals, my bike the weakest but had a winter training and getting a lot better up to doing the 40K just over the hour

    How many tri have you done.

    The channel is pretty cold for most people, pool swimming is boring as you go just up and down. But luck as we have two nights a week club swim when we have the whole pool and a coach
  • BlurredgirlBlurredgirl Posts: 292
    My first ever season was last year - 4 triathlons and a duathlon. One pool swim, two sea swims and I did the London tri - so in the Docks. I tend to do tris with sea swims because I like local events i.e. Brighton, Worthing, South Coast etc.

    I think it's just a case of what you're used to, and what your personal preference is.

    They've cancelled Brighton this year though - I'm really angry about that. With the council, not the organisers.

    You sound like you know what you're doing! I was very lucky last year though - I was the very last person in the water in my wave (I get panicked and have to start very slow) and came out of the water in 6th place. Came third in my age group. Delighted!

  • pacman2102pacman2102 Posts: 247
    You have done more tri then me I have done two sprints and two relays, but down to do 4 olympic and 3 sprints this year all lake swim as well as the relays, the relays are 1 in the lake (national) and cleveland in the pool.

    Got to admit wouldn't mind trying a sea one sounds like it could be fun

    It sounds like you are a decent swimmer coming out of the water sixth

    I am not surprised that you are annoyed when they call off the local tri, it mean not as early start.

    Is the suit as easy to take off after a sea swim as a open swim, wasn't sure on the salt

    Still think you are brave or (foolish) to swim in the sea most of the year, got to admit would freeze my bit off. It's cold at the beginning of may on your hands and feet and then get's cold after mid september
  • BopomofoBopomofo Posts: 980
    Eh? Brighton cancelled? Is that the Marina one or the proper OD along the front?
  • BlurredgirlBlurredgirl Posts: 292
    Sadly yes, it's the proper one. I'm still trying to find out which event it is that the council have deemed more important than triathlon: http://www.urbanrace.co.uk/brighton_triathlon.htm

    I'm gutted, as it's my local race, and it's a good one. I'll be doing the Marina one instead, I guess.


    Foolish is the correct terminology.

    The suit seems to come off fine, but anything over sprint distance can cause a lot of rubbing, so I use BodyGlide at the neck and cuffs.

    The tri-suit is usually white with salt when I've finished though - particularly if the run is very hot!


  • pacman2102pacman2102 Posts: 247
    Do you know of any more sea tri in the Uk I like the sound of swimming in the open sea

    I would call anybody who takes up tri foolish (only joking) as it take so much of your time and takes over one's life

    Doesn't the salt ruin the tri suit, I understand with the hot condiction I am off to a train camp in spain in april and the weather going to be pretty hot been told to take in lot's of fluids

    On the rubbing side using cooking olive oil (spray) which worked really well last season and have no problem with getting the suit on or off , the only problem was as I wear a two piece when take off the kit it does tend to move the other kit around and can be embrasing as can revel more than you expect . But solved that this season with a all in one suit

    what races are you planning this year
  • BlurredgirlBlurredgirl Posts: 292
    I totally agree - triathlon has robbed me of time, money, sanity and social occasions! Bonkers, but I so love it.

    The tri-suit seems fine, it gets a good wash after each race and is still intact. The major issues with the salt are the chafing and the fact that it can make some people nauseous if they accidently swallow sea water, which is easy to do if there's a bit of a swell.

    My season is not yet totally set as I'm expecting to have an operation soon - but so far I have commited to:

    Sussex Triathlon: May 31st

    Beaulieu Triathlon June 29th June

    South Coast Triathlon August 15th (Olympic distance)

    Brighton Marina Triathlon September - TBC

    I'm looking for something to do next month and for another Olympic distance race; and then there's an off-raod duathlon at Friston forest in October.

    How about you?


  • pacman2102pacman2102 Posts: 247
    I am only 1 season into tri but think why didn't I do this years ago rahter than run marathon. It's a lot more fun and a lot more freindlier people.

    I wasn't sure on the tri suit thing as the salt does tend to ruin things a lot quicker then normal water . Haven't had the problem with chafing yet , but I do make sure I am oiled up well before I start. I know what you mean with salt water making people feel sick, I wouldn't fancy having a mouth full of sea water.

    I am aiming to do at least 6 races this year

    rother valley or little beaver (olympic in may/june)

    ripon/ northumberland July Olympic

    hatfield (home race ) sprint

    bala olympic septmeber

    national relays sprint in august (holme pierrepont)

    I would also like to do another sprint one some time in the year

    I have a 10 day training camp in april so wont compete , but may look for a sharpner in early may

  • pacman2102pacman2102 Posts: 247
    I have tried to reply to your other reply about training . but it got bounced back

    It's good that you can train with your other half as tri take up so much of one's time . Also you can movitate each other

    As with most tri people all I seem to do is train, eat, work and sleep

    but this week I have done the following

    saturday 10k interval run

    sunday 60k bike ride mostly hills

    monday 1 hour swimming with the club did over 4,000 metre

    tonight is gym night so interval run and weight and stretching

    wednesday 10k run, easy

    thursday 1 hour swim and 1 hour spinning

    friday day of rest

    another week gone
  • pacman2102pacman2102 Posts: 247
    sorry if offended with the last email.

    Do you know of any more sea swim tri in the Uk

    I think it would be fun to try
  • BlurredgirlBlurredgirl Posts: 292
    Hi there,

    It's great having a partner who is into it too. But I am at a different standard to him, which can be a bit frustrating as we can't run together and when we cycle I have to stop for him to catch up!

    Sea swim triathlons:

    Worthing: http://www.rawenergypursuits.co.uk/HTML%20Pages/eventsPages/worthingStandardRelayTriathlon/worthingStandardRelayTriathlon.htm

    South Coast: http://www.fun2tri.co.uk/Southcoast-new/index.htm

    East Coast: http://www.activeoutdoorsport.co.uk/?page=10765

    Should be something there to keep you happy! The South Coast is a great race - very fast. I've not done Worthing befroe, but it looks good, with a nice bike course.

    Let me know if you want to do any of those - might see you there!


  • pacman2102pacman2102 Posts: 247
    That pretty unusal to have the female part of the partnership strong then the bloke. But at least he as something to aim for and somebody to try and catch up to , also in some ways it's good for you to aim to always keep one step ahead of him.

    My other half just run and unfortunately Mu slow run is her flat out, but last year I got her round her 10k under 55 minutes which is what she wanted.

    Where is the south coast one , is it down your neck of the woods

  • gunforhiregunforhire Posts: 457
    Is it to early for open water swimming
  • BlurredgirlBlurredgirl Posts: 292
    He's not sporty by nature - but really enjoys it. He a good road cyclist over distance and likes climbing on the bike - but yes, all round I'm the better athlete. He's cleverer than me, so it all pans out!

    The South Coast race is at Seaford, which is just a few miles along the coast from Brighton, where I'm based. I did it last year and loved it, despite having to do it on my MTB as my road bike had been nicked.

  • pacman2102pacman2102 Posts: 247
    So he's a good training partner on the bike then over the winter period when you have to get the milage in.

    is it a full olympic or sprint , what was it like last year. It may be good for a weekend away. It's a long way from the grime north but I used to live in london so may be able to make a long weekend of it and visit some friends as well

    That bad have your bike nicked hope it was insured
  • bennybenny Posts: 1,314
    gunforhire wrote:
    Is it to early for open water swimming

    come on gun, 4.16PM is not too early!![8D]
  • BlurredgirlBlurredgirl Posts: 292
    Have a look at the website - there's a range of distances so you can choose. If the weather holds, it's a very nice day out.

    I did the sprint last year and it was hot, friendly, fun, lots of spectators, well organised - really good. the bike and run are back and forth along the sea front, so nice views etc.

    Bike was insured and was replaced by an upgrade, although I was very sentimentally attached to it...hope someone is enjoying it.

  • Jack Hughes mentioned using the 'dog test' earlier for whether the water is too cold. My dog was still trying to swim in our local lake whilst it was frozen. Anyone got a dog with some brains that I can borrow???????
  • ScibbyScibby Posts: 55
    Bumpety bump and more specifically: are the lakes in the South East currently open - such as Heron, Datchet, or even Tooting Bec? Websites seem to suggest that they don't open till end April...
  • pacman2102pacman2102 Posts: 247
    Would like to try it yet looking to start after easter , got to admit carried on last year to the end of september but got cold at the end, all things like fingers and toes got really cold . Would like to try any lakes at the moment unless we get a hot spell
  • graham33graham33 Posts: 265
    ConspiracyTheory wrote:

    Jack Hughes mentioned using the 'dog test' earlier for whether the water is too cold. My dog was still trying to swim in our local lake whilst it was frozen. Anyone got a dog with some brains that I can borrow???????

    NO! my dog is always in the water - never even winces! I'm really gagging to get in the water, esspecially with all the good weather we've been having!
  • Did my first sea swim on sunday.

    Double hat and rubbed vaseline on my hands and feet to insulate from the cold water was around 10 degrees

    Two more club members where supposed to go but chickened out they where good enough to watch me from the pier.Also had my Dad sailing around in a small boat so felt very safe-DO NOT SWIM OPEN WATER THIS TIME OF YEAR ON YOUR OWN!!!!!!!!!!

    All except for one of the tri's i'm doing are sea swim (first one in may) live in kerry (Ireland) great place to holiday paceman if you want to do a sea swim tri[:)]
  • clarkey30clarkey30 Posts: 270

    The lakes, heron etc, usually open in the last week of April, and they are freezing!!!!
  • ScibbyScibby Posts: 55
    Hmmm. Eton tri is mid May, open water... That means only 2 weeks practice (maybe 2 sessions) but more crucially, not alot of time for the lake to warm up...

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