MyTriEvents has a range of open water swims suitable for beginners and experienced seasoned athletes.
Our base at Capernwray Dive Centre is home to our Wednesday evening series. With distances varying from 500m to 3.8K complete with our chip timing system. The water quality is excellent and safety cover hard to beat anywhere else.
Our Swim Series includes four locations, Capernwary, Coniston, Semer Water and The River Lune.
Latest blog by KMF Triathlon director Tasha at My Tri Events
Open Water Swimming in the cooler months
I am not a cold-water swimming specialist, coming from a swimming club background many of my first swims were in either overheated swimming baths or the warmer open waters of the south coast where I grew up. I developed into open water swimming through triathlons at university, and thanks to the vast amount of triathlons available I now have a huge amount of experience in cooler open water both with and without a wetsuit.
With the recent growth in open water swimming athletes are not only looking for the longer endurance events, shorter distances are becoming popular in cooler waters which of course test a different type of stamina.
Last season some friends and I took part in the Chill Swims at Salford and Windermere, shorter distance events, which do not allow the use of wetsuits. So how did we prepare and cope with this? And how can you keep swimming open water in the winter months or prepare yourself for an early open water swim start in 2015?
Firstly realise that our bodies can do amazing things, cope with extreme stress and pressures. We have a great ability to survive in the toughest of conditions. By training and preparing your body (and mind) you will be able to continue enjoying swimming in the cooler months.
Winter swimming puts our bodies under physical pressures not to mention the mental battles we can face. So I’d ask you to honestly check your health. Are you carrying any injuries that could lead to problems swimming in the cooler waters? Do you feel well? If you feel unable to check your health then it’s probably best to seek medical clarification.
Once you have given yourself the all clear then start preparing your mind. Fill it with positive thoughts, think of all the challenging situations you have been in and praise yourself at the outcome. Keep putting these thoughts in your mind through the days leading up to your swims.
Swim location is more important in the cooler months as you will ideally like somewhere sheltered, space to change and warm up afterwards. With a café perhaps! If you’re not swimming with friends you will certainly need a swim spotter, someone to look after you in and out of the water. Capernwray Dive Centre (http://dive-site.co.uk/) is a perfect location, safe with fully trained staff on hand should you require any assistance and with full facilities for changing and recovering. Check out our 2015 calendar and join us in the water (http://www.mytrievents.co.uk/swim-series/swim-races-18062014-09072014/)
Next prepare your equipment. Wetsuit or non-wetsuit? Whichever you choose you will still require a swim hat, bright in colour to be visible to those sharing the water. Swim hats can be doubled up for greater protection form the cold and some wetsuit swimmers like wearing swim gloves and socks. The choice in googles can also change in the cooler months. Moving away from racing goggles and using a mask type goggle will cover more of your face and might help with the ice cream headache some swimmers may experience.
Wetsuit or non-wetsuit you will still need warm clothing for when you exit. Maybe a warm hat or buffs are great for pulling over your head and warming your neck. Base layers, gloves and a thick coat. We found the Robie Robes great for keeping the chill out. Pulling them around as you enter and exit the water.
Think about you entry and exit to the water, how your feet will feel? Try some fury lined crocks as you may struggle with the flip flops. This makes the walk to the changing rooms pleasant instead of staggering.
So you’re ready, you have a chosen location with all equipment packed. You have a swim buddy or someone to look after you. Set a target, time or distance, remembering it doesn’t have to be far or for long. Try and stay near to the shore for obvious safety reasons. Keep your clothing on for as long as possible. (Don’t stand around chatting in just your costume as you will certainly lose body heat.)
Walking to the water’s edge remind yourself it will be cold and it may well sting, but you can do this. Resist the urge to turn back from the water. You can cope. As you walk into the water avoid the temptation to fully submerge or jump in as this will shock your body. Walk into the water breathing out it will take a few seconds for your body to adjust, concentrate on your breathing and try to relax! Some swimmers may experience hyperventilation this is where breathing will naturally increase. The pleasure of cold water swimming may not be instant as the blood is moved to your internal organs. Head up or head down will depend on your breathing and strength. Remember realise your limits and beware of the early signs of hypothermia.
Keep moving from the water making your way to the changing facilities or area pulling on clothing as you go. The Robie Robes are great for this. A warm shower might seem like the finest idea but it will slow your heating process up pulling the blood back away from your vital organs, you can look forward to one of those later. The priority instead is to add to your layer clothing warming up your body slowly but surly. Recovery could take a few minutes or a good couple of hours depending on your swim. Share a warm drink and talk though your experience with fellow swimmers and enjoy your accomplishment.
I hope you have enjoyed this read do get in contact if you have any comments or questions, we have a Facebook group site and a page which we regularly update with information about our 2015 events. Hope to see you in the water soon.
Please note this is an overview and please visit your doctor before throwing yourself into cold water swimming!
Top Tip **whilst taking your daily shower turn the temperature down for a few seconds let your body react to the temperature change. **
We have both the standard and Robie Pro Max which are available through MyTriEventscomplete with our logo and even your embroidered name if you choose. We also have Blue Seventy in both sizes. If you are interested in purchasing do get in touch.