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another openwater question

Last year I bought an ex rental foor wetsuit from triuk. I used it three times in a small loch last sept as I cpoudnt find anyone to swim with. I found it very cold on my hands and feet (not in a whimpy style).

I'd liketo try an openwater tri this year but really am a novice in a wetsuit.

What time of year do people start to go out? temp up here at the moment is zero degrees centigrade rising to about 7degrees through the day.

Any advice whatsoever is much appreciated.


  • jonEjonE Posts: 1,113
    Hi,all year round swimming is possible,the body generally takes about a month of swimming reularly to aclimatise.Always have someone about if open water swimming ,just in case.Use a neoprene hat,neoprene socks are available from most diving shops,get a tight fit as the might flip off,and neoprene gloves are also available,often used in aquarobics classes with webbing between the fingers.Hope this helps.
  • It does help a lot.What sort of training do you do in open water? I found the wetsuit very bouyant but a bit restrictive. Took me about 20mins to get it on and off.
  • jonEjonE Posts: 1,113
    Hi Hound dog,I do not get much chance to swim open water if you are just looking to practice using the wet suit then a swimming pool is adequate,it does take time and it is always going to be restrictive in the arms.Each open water race is different,still water,fast river,lake ,sea will provide you with a different race time for the same distance.Rules state that the water temp must be above a certain temp or the swim will not take place so swimming in cold water is purely a personal quest,again if the temp is above a certain temp then wetsuits are banned.

    Best hints I can give are exhale hard each time until the body adjusts to the temp generally after the panic stricken first five minutes and try to get in a natural groove.First open water Tri,which was my first Triathlon I turned up in a borrowed long john diving wetsuit,coloured bright blue that filled up with water so I swam very slowly and looked a tadge ridiculous but it didn't put me off.

  • Thanks a lot for info jon.E. Im going to dust off my wetsuit and start seriously looking for some people around here to swim with (Inverness if anyones reading this). Take it you upgraded the diving suit heh heh.

    Any other tips more than welcome.
  • Hi Terry

    Only tip I can give is that you should get in the water and acclimatise before you start swimming. I did my first open water race at Blenheim last year and it was pissing with rain and cold, so I tried to leave it till the last minute before I got in the water. That just meant that I was still hyperventilating and trying to catch my breath when the race started and I never really recovered. For either a race or for training it's worth spending about 5 mins in the water gently warming up before you start swimming at full pace - it's almost impossible to sink in a wetsuit so it won't tire you out before the race starts. I've swum in the sea (S.Wales) from about late March onwards, which is cold but ok in short bursts (and with someone else watching out for you). Any earlier than that is a bit masochistic but there are plenty of hardy souls who manage it.

    On getting the wetsuit off it's probably worth trying bodyglide or some other non-? lubricant on the wrists, ankles and lower wetsuit (I've had a memory blank - it's non-petrol based or something! i.e. not vaseline). You should also make sure the wetsuit is pulled right up to your groin and your armpits in order to minimise the restrictive feel. No idea how to warm the hands and feet up - Jon's suggestion sounds a good one, though the gloves are probably not allowed in a race (? - fine for training though).


  • Hey Hounddog

    A wee tip is to avoid the freshwater lochs as they are always too bloody cold up here. Stick to the sea (although the Moray firth is a lot colder than the west coast!) it tends to stay a bit warmer especially earlier on in the season.

    We tried to get out about late April last year in a freshwater loch (at the other end of the canal to you) but lasted about ten seconds! By early may the sea lochs are just about bearable. If you want to come west in the spring you are more than welcome. E mail me directly at gregormuir at btinternet dot com and I will give you dates when we are doing some stuff. There is nothing really happening until April. Everyone does their own thing up until then but they all start training for the big triathlon then.

  • Just the sort of advice I was looking for one and all. Suddenly the racing season looks very short with so much to do. Ive read about body glide and have heard some people use baby lotion (good idea or not?)

    Ive got myself a pair of neoprene gloves and a hat which I think the chin strap is going to strangle me! Looking forward to trying a swim now. I'll contact you near the end of March Gregor. Im in the middle of changing jobs to a rolling week and some backshift, I'll have a better idea of timesI can get down to Ft William by then.

    Thanks again guys, any other useful tips much appreciated.

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