The exciting season of Open Water Swimming is (almost) here! A few brave souls have put a toe or more in the water already. Here are a few thoughts about getting yourself ready - written especially with the new OW swimmers in mind. We're excited to see you out there!
First - a word about the current water temps. Usually by early May, many triathletes would have done a couple of OW swims by now, but 2022 is a different story. As of today (May 10, 2022) the water is much colder than usual. Look at the temperature of Lake Meridian in Kent, WA the last few years according to Lake Monster:
5/10/2019 - 62.7°
5/10/2020 - 67.5°
5/10/2021 - 67.0°
5/10/2022 - 56.7°!!
That's a big drop from normal and not a surprise given April's crummy weather. Is 56° swimmable? Sure. Is 65+° better? Absolutely. 65° allows your body's energy to focus on effort instead of staying warm. When your body gets cold, it sends the blood to the interior to keep our vital organs warm. (They're not called 'vital' for nothing) Our brains don't consider arms and legs to be a priority when our body temperature drops, and the time you spend training in the very cold water won't yield the same training benefit you get in warmer water. So if you can stand it, wait until we have a good warm stretch of warm, dry weather and keep training in the pool.
Raise the Bar has been hanging out with open water swimmers for almost 20 years now and we've been producing events with swims since 2008 so we've met a ton of new OW swimmers. Often those first few swims bring some unexpected challenges because the conditions are so different from the pool. Here are a few thoughts that could help you have fun & productive early-season swims.
There are many more great tips in this article Blueseventy posted on Open Water Swimming a few years ago and the info still applies. If you are gearing and psyching up for some early open water swims, read it! They suggest some super helpful open water accessories (thermal caps, gloves, booties) that are in full supply at Northwest Tri & Bike. Head over and stock up and we'll see you on shore soon.
Submitted by Patty Swedberg. firstname.lastname@example.org. Please submit your own tips and suggestions in the Comments!
Raise the Bar
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