Our top Tips for Open Water Swimming in the Cold

September 10, 2018

The water may still be warm in some places, but for some racing later in the season, the water temps might be a bit chilly for training and racing.  Cooler water temperatures may seem pretty inviting to some after a long hot summer,  but it’s important to make sure you dive in with caution. While cold water isn’t something we should fear, it is something we should respect and prepare for. Like any swim race or triathlon we do the work before hand, preparing yourself for a cold water race is exactly the same.

 

 

Wear your wetsuit


Wearing your wetsuit is the pretty obvious choice and it is important. You need to keep the heat in!  If you find your core is still getting cold, look to get a thicker training wetsuit or even layering with a Neoprene Warmth Vest underneath for some extra insulation. Our Neoprene Warmth Vest can be used under your wetsuit or you can wear it without. The 2mm thick layer is tight fitting and this vest has a high neck with just a single seam for extra comfort. There is a titanium coating applied to the internal material to help maintain the body's warmth.The product is predominantly aimed at the outdoor swimmer, however, the vest can also be used during pool training to give extra buoyancy or warmth where needed. View our wetsuit lineup here> Zone3 Wetsuits

 

Put a cap on

 

By this we don’t mean a warm wool beanie. If you really suffer from the cold you’ll want to make sure you have a Neoprene Swim Cap. Anyone who has experienced 'brain-freeze' when swimming in cold water will know how valuable triathlon skull caps can be to get you going! We have two styles to choose from. Our Strapless Cap which is made with our warmest 4mm smoothskin material and our Skull Cap with chinstrap which is made with 3mm smoothskin material. Both of our Neoprene Swim caps provide ultimate thermal protection for open water swimming.  They provide warmth while maintaining good hydrodynamics through the water.  If you prefer a more traditional swim cap then make sure you’ve got two to layer up with.

 

Keep your fingers and toes warm


You lose a lot of heat through your hands and feet so it’s important to keep them warm in cold conditions. The primary function of  Zone3 Swim Gloves is to keep your hands insulated from the cold. The body's extremities such as hands and feet always feel the cold the most so these gloves are designed to allow swimming in cold water to be more manageable. We have two types of neoprene swim gloves and booties – our Standard Neoprene version and Heat-Tech for the coldest conditions. Check all of our Neoprene Accessories here > Zone3 US Neoprene Accessories 

 

 

Practice makes perfect


If you’re not used to swimming in cold water then why not work your way in gently. Look to see if you’ve outdoor pool in your area and do a session (in your wetsuit) here before taking the plunge into the open water. When jumping into cold water, it can be a shock to your system that can lead to hyperventilating or a panicked feeling. You will want to swim slowly until you catch your breath. The first time you experience this it can throw you off, but with practice you will get used to it and be able to relax into your swim.

 

Be prepared


It’s going to be cold. Mentally prepare yourself for that initial shock to the system and plan your first few strokes. Enter the water slowly and take a few deep breaths. If it’s the first time you’ve really swam in colder water then it can throw you off, but stay calm and don’t panic.

 

Wrap up when you're done


Make sure you bring your Zone3 Swim Towel to wrap up and dry off as quickly as possible. You’ll also want to get something warm on which is why we have developed our polar fleece lined Parka Jacket.

 

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