Since there are quite a few of us who are interested I am going to start a series of articles to stimulate our thinking about adapting to cool/cold water swimming.
Here is the objective of our conversations: to maximize our safety, our enjoyment and our longevity (duration and frequency) for swimming in cool/cold water.
And let’s set this standard for the sake of our discussions:
Cool Water = 20 C to 16 C (68 to 61 F)
Cold Water = 15 C to 10 C (60 to 50 F)
Extreme Cold = Below 10 C (Below 50 F)
Granted, 21 C could be as uncomfortable and deadly to one un-acclimated swimmer as 10 C is to an acclimated one. Suffering is quite relative to your acclimated state. So please do not feel discouraged because you suffer cold at 22 C. Everyone has to go through an adaption process, and you and I can do it also with a thoughtful plan.
For open-water swimming I divide our training and preparations into these three categories to help us break up the project and organize our thoughts:
1) Preparing the body
2) Preparing the mind
3) Knowing the environment (your chosen waterway)
The three categories are just a simplification, while the actual knowledge, skills, and experience are intertwined, and developed together. It will help us to having something specific to focus on while we prepare.
So my assignment for you is to make a list of all the things that are needed in terms of knowledge, skill, and experience in each of these categories as you think about preparing for your chosen open water swimming venue. You can send these to me if you like, and I will blend with my own list to share what we come up with.