cold water vs hot water swimmers
I'm now wondering what's the difference between cold water swimmers and hot water swimmers. Let's use 16°C (channel temperature) and 29°C (tropical temperature) as the definition points. If you prefer to do long distance swimming in 16°C water but avoid one in 29°C, you are a cold water swimmer; in contrast, if you like racing in 29°C but refuses to swim in 16°C unless you put a suit on, you are a hot water swimmer.
I consider myself a cold water swimmer. I'm not comfortable with water over 28°C that I get tired and fatigued very soon. Last year when I tried to train thru the summer in the squad, a lot of occasions I burnt out in the middle of the session and suddenly all my 100 became half a minute slower than I should, which did not happen in winter. I also did some races and all were much worse than I expected, when combined with adverse current, it became a torture for me. I even skipped a marathon swimming race (Clean Half) last year (not doing a solo) right in my backyard because I don't think that I can last 14 km in a hot October day with 29°C water temperature, despite being done a 13 km in the same season. Now the sea where I live is as hot as 28 - 29°C and I'm limiting myself to 5 km only each time, and I'm so jealous when seeing my friends doing much longer.
I find myself perform the best when the pool is under 20°C. I haven't known how cold is my sweet spot yet, but what I can say is that last year I timed myself in the pool for 1.5 km in the coldest day when the pool was only 16°C, and I was more than 2 minutes faster than my previous best 3 months earlier in the summer (however I was training more intensely as well because I was preparing for a race in the next month).
In contrast, I also know some people who are hot water swimmers. They race a lot in the summer or in tropical areas, e.g. the races in South-East Asia where the expected water temperature is 30°C and the air can be even hotter (e.g. Perhentian Island Challenge). However, once below 24°C, they put on their black suits. They are fit, they are big, they are strong, but they are afraid of cold water and prefer extreme heat instead. They happily swim over 10 km in the middle of summer when the air temperature is 32°C and the water temperature is 30°C. However, in winter, they always enter the wetsuit division of races.
Other than the distinction above, the strangest I've seen are those marathon swimmers who don't have problem swimming in a wide range of temperature. They can swim for long distance in cold water even below 15°C, yet they don't get overheated when swimming in 30°C as well. How the heck is this humanly possible?!?!?!?!?!?!?! For example I know a woman who is "proud of" her layer of bioprene and does marathon swims in cold water, but she also does marathon swims in hot water as well which I can't really imagine how she can do it without getting heat exhaustion?
I'm also curious that, are most marathon swimmers here cold water swimmer or hot water swimmer?