Chafing in a River vs Lake vs Ocean

abbygirlroseabbygirlrose Los Angeles and Palo Alto, CASenior Member

Hi all! I am planning to swim stage 4 of 8 Bridges next week and have a question about chafing in the Hudson.

For some context, when I swim in Lake Michigan I use no vaseline or lanolin at all and do not chafe at all, when I swim in the Pacific I need to put grease on any rub spot or I will rub raw within even a few minutes in the water. I swam 20 Bridges last year but cannot remember at all how much grease I used.

I am hoping to use as little grease as possible while still not chafing. Any thoughts/suggestions/personal anecdotes about swimming in the Hudson or other rivers are appreciated!


  • JustSwimJustSwim Senior Member

    I chafe in fresh water. For stage 4 I used Vaseline on all my standard chaffing spots. Not huge globs but enough to get me through 5 hours. If you don't really chafe in fresh water you could try just using Body Glide.

  • MLambyMLamby Senior Member

    I did NYC Triathlon twice and used Aquaphor and Body Glide. Had no issues. Only a one plus mile swim though. The smell was a bigger issue than the possible chaffing. :)

  • SydneDSydneD Senior Member

    I didn't chafe much during my stage of 8 Bridges. I did, however, forget to sunblock my face well enough. So that was cute. ;)

  • ChefKenChefKen Charleston, SCMember

    I had my first bad chafing experience this year during Portland Bridge Swim.... luckily I didn't feel any of it at ALL until I got out of the water! I was very surprised, but I'm used to swimming in salt water where it SHOULD be more of an issue... I was a bit perplexed!

    Ken Immer
    IG: @siopswimtraining

  • ArgentArgent UtrechtMember

    It is a very personal thing I found out. I'm very prone to chafing and need bodyglide for every pooltraining. I never go without and immediatly notice if I missed a spot. For anything in salt water, I always need vasoline.

    On the other hand, I know people that don't chafe even after an hour of sea swimming.

  • ColmBreathnachColmBreathnach Charter Member

    I've found no hard and fast rules re chafing, other than that you tend to chafe more in salt water than in fresh water. Also, I've found you chafe more at "seaweed spawning time" (there's probably a techical term for that).
    Why are you reluctant to use grease? Do you specificaly mean lanolin? Why not just go with vaseline?

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