Lake Windermere Butterfly - Will I be able to overcome the cold?

It_a_wonderful_worldIt_a_wonderful_world Cambridge, UKNew Member

Hello guys, I have been learning from this forum for some time while preparing for my Windermere butterfly swim. I have a few questions relating to the cold which I really would appreciate any insight on.

Date: 31st August 2024
Stroke: Butterfly
Distance: 17k (11 miles)
Temp: 13-15°C (55-59°F)
Rules: Regular channel swimming rules
Expected completion time: 6-7 hours (swimming at 2.5k-3k/h pace)

So far, I have achieved:

  • 8k butterfly in warm indoor pool
  • 2.5k butterfly in 10.9°C lido with sun (took me 1 hour and I got quite cold - I would guess into mild hypothermia from the decent afterdrop, slower pace near the end and slight disorientation leaving the water)
  • 18k f/c in warm indoor pool (not that that really matters)

My main question is, will I be able to swim for 6-7 hours in 13°C? I think I could do it if I had good conditions on the day (15°C water and sun), but 13°C with rain and wind would be a whole different story.

I have been training in cold water pretty much daily since January, and plan to keep doing so until the swim.

LakeBagger

Comments

  • KatieBunKatieBun CornwallSenior Member
    edited April 1

    End of August Windermere temperature is more likely to be 16-18C. I've swum it in June, August and September and it's never been 13C. (June swim was private, unratified length with my OH driving an electric boat. Water was 17C.) You'll be very unlucky if it's 13c.! Even mid-September 2022, with an air temperature of 4C, the water was still 16C. (It wasn't 2nd Sept, as in the LS Database. It clashed with another swim so BLDSA moved it by 2 weeks.)

    It_a_wonderful_worldLakeBagger
  • It_a_wonderful_worldIt_a_wonderful_world Cambridge, UKNew Member

    @KatieBun said:
    End of August Windermere temperature is more likely to be 16-18C. I've swum it in June, August and September and it's never been 13C. (June swim was private, unratified length with my OH driving an electric boat. Water was 17C.) You'll be very unlucky if it's 13c.! Even mid-September 2022, with an air temperature of 4C, the water was still 16C. (It wasn't 2nd Sept, as in the LS Database. It clashed with another swim so BLDSA moved it by 2 weeks.)

    Ah that's amazing news! I meant to include the source for why I thought it would be 13-15°C in the original post but forgot. I guess that source is wrong, perhaps because it measures deep underwater or some other reason?

    Thank you so much for sharing this with me, and I'll definitely talk to actual open water swimmers for my information next time, rather than some random programmatically generated site on the internet. Now I'm thinking what an idiot I was to do that aha

  • KatieBunKatieBun CornwallSenior Member
    edited April 1

    @It_a_wonderful_world said:

    @KatieBun said:
    End of August Windermere temperature is more likely to be 16-18C. I've swum it in June, August and September and it's never been 13C. (June swim was private, unratified length with my OH driving an electric boat. Water was 17C.) You'll be very unlucky if it's 13c.! Even mid-September 2022, with an air temperature of 4C, the water was still 16C. (It wasn't 2nd Sept, as in the LS Database. It clashed with another swim so BLDSA moved it by 2 weeks.)

    Ah that's amazing news! I meant to include the source for why I thought it would be 13-15°C in the original post but forgot. I guess that source is wrong, perhaps because it measures deep underwater or some other reason?

    Thank you so much for sharing this with me, and I'll definitely talk to actual open water swimmers for my information next time, rather than some random programmatically generated site on the internet. Now I'm thinking what an idiot I was to do that aha

    It's a deep lake......but you'll be on the surface, (I hope!) Trust yourself and your training! You can build your time outside gradually, so you'll be confident when you start. Ullswater is the cold one of the three longest, not Windermere. Best of luck!

    It_a_wonderful_worldLakeBagger
  • KatieBunKatieBun CornwallSenior Member
    edited April 1

    @It_a_wonderful_world your source says it was 12C on 17th September 2022. I know for a fact it was 16C, measured by BLDSA that morning. Please don't worry. I think your source seems a bit extreme! That doesn't make you an idiot. You looked at the resources you found. I'd have been worried, too, if I'd seen that before I was due to swim!

  • evmoevmo SydneyAdmin
    edited April 1

    @KatieBun said:
    (It wasn't 2nd Sept, as in the LS Database. It clashed with another swim so BLDSA moved it by 2 weeks.)

    If you notice errors in the LSDB, best to just message me about it so I can fix it :)

    KatieBun
  • KatieBunKatieBun CornwallSenior Member

    @evmo said:

    @KatieBun said:
    (It wasn't 2nd Sept, as in the LS Database. It clashed with another swim so BLDSA moved it by 2 weeks.)

    If you notice errors in the LSDB, best to just message me about it so I can fix it :)

    I'm so sorry, Evan! It wasn't intended as a criticism. The date change was a last minute thing and I wasn't bothered about it. The only reason I mentioned it was so that the OP could see that the water temp had stayed reasonable right up to the middle of the month. It seemed too trivial to mention to you. Consider me duly chastened! ;) :D

  • evmoevmo SydneyAdmin

    @KatieBun no criticism perceived in the least. I'm always happy when people point things out, it's just that I'm more likely to notice if they contact me directly. I aim to keep things as accurate as possible, and no error is too trivial.

    KatieBun
  • KatieBunKatieBun CornwallSenior Member

    Thanks, @evmo I'll keep that in mind for the future. :)

  • It_a_wonderful_worldIt_a_wonderful_world Cambridge, UKNew Member

    @KatieBun said:

    @It_a_wonderful_world said:

    @KatieBun said:
    End of August Windermere temperature is more likely to be 16-18C. I've swum it in June, August and September and it's never been 13C. (June swim was private, unratified length with my OH driving an electric boat. Water was 17C.) You'll be very unlucky if it's 13c.! Even mid-September 2022, with an air temperature of 4C, the water was still 16C. (It wasn't 2nd Sept, as in the LS Database. It clashed with another swim so BLDSA moved it by 2 weeks.)

    Ah that's amazing news! I meant to include the source for why I thought it would be 13-15°C in the original post but forgot. I guess that source is wrong, perhaps because it measures deep underwater or some other reason?

    Thank you so much for sharing this with me, and I'll definitely talk to actual open water swimmers for my information next time, rather than some random programmatically generated site on the internet. Now I'm thinking what an idiot I was to do that aha

    It's a deep lake......but you'll be on the surface, (I hope!) Trust yourself and your training! You can build your time outside gradually, so you'll be confident when you start. Ullswater is the cold one of the three longest, not Windermere. Best of luck!

    Thank you so much!

    KatieBun
  • LakeBaggerLakeBagger Central OregonSenior Member

    @It_a_wonderful_world this sounds like an exciting swim! I’m not a butterflier, but as someone who worries a lot about being cold, I’ve found that there are a few things that really help me feel warmer during a 6+ hour:

    1. Feed early, feed often (being undercaloried is a sure fire way to get cold at any temperature)

    2. Never go “hard” pace. Exerting yourself at a pace where you are breathing very hard burns calories faster than you can replace them.

    3. Build your effort gradually throughout the swim, starting out nice and easy as you adjust to the water temp. It’s always more comfortable to get gradually warmer than gradually colder throughout a swim.

    4. Make sure you do plenty of consistent training, with plenty of volume so that 6-7 hours of swimming doesn’t leave you feeling like you got run over by a truck. It’s easier to stay warm when you aren’t completely depleted by the distance of the swim.

    Rooting for you!

    KatieBunevmoOpenh2oIt_a_wonderful_world
  • It_a_wonderful_worldIt_a_wonderful_world Cambridge, UKNew Member

    @LakeBagger said:
    @It_a_wonderful_world this sounds like an exciting swim! I’m not a butterflier, but as someone who worries a lot about being cold, I’ve found that there are a few things that really help me feel warmer during a 6+ hour:

    1. Feed early, feed often (being undercaloried is a sure fire way to get cold at any temperature)

    2. Never go “hard” pace. Exerting yourself at a pace where you are breathing very hard burns calories faster than you can replace them.

    3. Build your effort gradually throughout the swim, starting out nice and easy as you adjust to the water temp. It’s always more comfortable to get gradually warmer than gradually colder throughout a swim.

    4. Make sure you do plenty of consistent training, with plenty of volume so that 6-7 hours of swimming doesn’t leave you feeling like you got run over by a truck. It’s easier to stay warm when you aren’t completely depleted by the distance of the swim.

    Rooting for you!

    This is so useful, thank you so much for the advice. All of this makes sense and I will definitely implement all of it.

    LakeBagger
  • propofrolicpropofrolic UKNew Member

    I did a Windermere one-way on August 20th last year and it was 17degC, so well above that range! There's a patch of water about a mile long just North of the islands that's appreciable a degree or so cooler, but otherwise it's alright!

    The issue I found was that in the run up to the swim all the lakes I was training in were very much warmer than that - they were 20+ degC, and even the sea was pushing 20 degrees. I'm in Oxford, so not too far from you and there's not much in the way of cold water around here. I took a trip to Lake Bala for a few days (closer than Windermere, and generally cooler than most inland water) and that was 16/17 degrees, so was a good confidence boost! Great Lake to train in too.

    On the day, I was swimming with 6 others off one boat, and a couple were a little slower, meaning I needed to stop a few times, the feeds were longer etc. I shivered the entire way down the lake, so much so the pilot was a bit concerned! BUT, unlike in training swims where I would get out if I got too cold, this was a big goal for me so I was able to push through. I really surprised myself how I could keep going despite feeling really cold at points - you find the sensation seems to come and go.

    I'm doing a two way at the beginning of August this year, and am trying to put a bit of fat on. I don't want to - I've always liked being fairly lean - but I figure it's worth it to achieve my goals.

    KatieBunLakeBaggerIt_a_wonderful_world
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