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Swimming question (when the water is cold)

Old 09-08-08, 07:20 AM
  #1  
mrmcmasty
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Swimming question (when the water is cold)

So my swimming has really picked up and I am finally comfortable in the water (whew the race is in two weeks)

I did my second open water swim this weekend, wore a wet suit, but it was still cold when I got in (low to mid 70's). Once I got warmed up i was good to go... but the first 200 hundred yards I spent alternating between back stroke, breast and side stroke because I just couldnt get my breath.

I have my first race in two weeks and expect the water to be close to the same temp as yesterday. How do I overcome the semi-hyperventalating/Im cold phenomenon when I start the race?
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Old 09-08-08, 10:57 AM
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Low to mid 70's water temperature was cold? Maybe you should change your screen name to mrsmcmasty.

Did you jump in and do some warm-up strokes before the race started? That usually takes care of the initial shock. The temp was around 62 in my race yesterday and it was fine a few seconds after my original plunge.
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Old 09-08-08, 11:35 AM
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ok ok so I know low 70's is not cold (the woman who invited me says the water was 73) but I am a wuss and very new to swimming. The pool I swim in is usually 78-80 and this was second try at open water (which messes with my brain anyway)

Warm up.. no, i just jumped and tried to start swimming, which was when I realized I was having a hard time getting into a breathing pattern.

Thanks for the feedback... and the errr umm words of wisdom
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Old 09-08-08, 09:19 PM
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I gotta agree with cj, this isn't that cold of water. The obvious thing from your post though is, warm up before the race starts. I would also guess that it is a general comfort thing that leaves you thinking about the water temperature. All in all, as is the case in most scenarios, more experience is probably the best solution.
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Old 09-09-08, 08:35 AM
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Thanks for the feedback. I have gotten some advice from swimmer in my area and met up with a group this am. It rained last night so the water was colder (ok colder being relative to my disposition... 70)

I did a breathing exercise when I got in the water. Basically at the dock I went under, exhaled, bobbed up inhale, went under exhale repeated for a minute or two and it really helped. Then I started out much slower than my training pace... and I was able to to swim the whole 2000yds without the semi-freakout.

I felt much better (more confident) after this swim and have one more open water swim in my schedule before the race.

Thanks again for the responses.
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Old 09-09-08, 12:38 PM
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When the water is cold, I usually let out a few girlish screams, and I'm able to breath fine. I think that let's the tension out and relaxes my body.

If you can, I would do some warm ups in the water before the race starts to get used to the temp.
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Old 09-12-08, 09:05 PM
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If you are a newer swimmer with less endurance, I would suggest jumping in and out of the water. We used to wear tight during open water swims, it helps a little and gives you more movement in case you need to egg beater or something.
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Old 09-13-08, 12:52 AM
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Pee in the wetsuit

No seriously, It tends to warm things up.

I've swam in 58 degree water before, just warm up as much as you can before hand.
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Old 09-15-08, 08:55 PM
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Also know that on race day you'll be a bit more excited and probably won't notice the water temperature as much.
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Old 09-15-08, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by KyleKranz View Post
Pee in the wetsuit

No seriously, It tends to warm things up.

I've swam in 58 degree water before, just warm up as much as you can before hand.
That's what I do. Usually when the water's really cold, I don't have any choice.
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Old 09-17-08, 11:15 AM
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What everyone else said, plus make an effort to start your race swimming with long, slow strokes. Don't worry about trying to go fast. That will help keep your breathing under control. Speed up after a 100 or 200 yards if you're feeling good!

FWIW, I usually finish in the top 10% of my swim wave, and am amazed how many guys start their swims way too fast (race overexcitement and/or hoping to find someone fast to draft off) and have to drop their pace after a couple of minutes. At 100 yards I'm probably only in the top 50% but am passing lots of people between 100 and 500 yards.

Brian
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Old 09-23-08, 06:08 AM
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70 degrees. Ah you big woss. Grow a pair... and then loose them again when you jump in the water but that's hardly the point.

I played the saxaphone for a long time though so my lung muscles have gotten very strong. It may not be viable for you but there is probably an alternative breathing excersie you can do that has a similar effect. I've been swimming in water thats probably around the 50 mark and had no problems with breathing.

Definatly try and get really used to the water before hand though, even just standing with your feet in can help greatly.
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Old 09-23-08, 06:22 AM
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Is therea "standard" temp where wet suits are allowed vs not?

I am interested in doing a sprint this weekend where they say the temps should be around 74. Its my first tri and I certainly don't have a wetsuit. Lots of swimming experience albeit many years ago.
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Old 09-23-08, 06:27 AM
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It varies by race but generally 76-78 is where wetsuits aren't allowed
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Old 09-23-08, 07:36 AM
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So I'll be ok in 74, swimming w/o a wetsuit? It is my first tri and a) I don't have one and b) I think it's just going to make things more complicated for me the first go around...
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Old 09-24-08, 11:07 PM
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Originally Posted by pjcampbell View Post
So I'll be ok in 74, swimming w/o a wetsuit? It is my first tri and a) I don't have one and b) I think it's just going to make things more complicated for me the first go around...
I did my first one about a month ago with that water temp in tri shorts and a swim shirt (the kind you use for waterskiing), and was plenty warm.

I did another last weekend where the temp was about 65, also without a wetsuit. I got a bit cold on that one.
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Old 09-25-08, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by famelec View Post
FWIW, I usually finish in the top 10% of my swim wave, and am amazed how many guys start their swims way too fast (race overexcitement and/or hoping to find someone fast to draft off) and have to drop their pace after a couple of minutes. At 100 yards I'm probably only in the top 50% but am passing lots of people between 100 and 500 yards.

Brian
This is excellent advice. I'm usually in the last third on the swim (usually in the top 25% on bike so I get to pass A LOT of people that way ) but I make a point to start the swim slower so I do end up passing people at my level in the water who made the mistake of starting off to fast.
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