30 second Cold Water Poll for Open Water Swimmers

mauprietomauprieto Barcelona, Spain and San Francisco, CAMember
edited January 2013 in General Discussion
I am trying to figure out how "cold" water definitions vary among countries. Once I have enough data, I will send out the results/conclusions. Feel free to either respond in a comment below or in http://owswimming.com/2013/01/15/30-second-cold-water-poll-for-open-water-swimmers/. Thanks a lot for your input and help.

Question 1: In which country (or region, if relevant) do you normally swim in open water?

Question 2: What water temperature do you define as cold?
a) Under 2.5ºC (36.5ºF)
b) Under 5ºC (41ºF)
c) Under 7.5ºC (45.5ºF)
d) Under 10ºC (50ºF)
e) Under 12.5°C (54.5°F)
f) Under 15°C (59°F)
g) Under 17.5°C (63.5°F)
h) Under 20°C (68°F)
i) Under 22.5°C (72.5°F)
j) Under 25ºC (77ºF)

Comments

  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member
    Q1: USA
    Q2: a-f (any temp under 15C is cold; I'll still swim in it, but I'll complain a lot.)

    Please join the Lake Issyk Kul Swimming Federation on FB!

  • heartheart San Francisco, CACharter Member
    USA (usually CA) and Israel (Kinneret, Mediterranean, Red Sea)

    Under 15C
  • dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoCharter Member
    USA, SF Bay Area
    Under 12.5C

    http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer

  • England under 12.5
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    I'm not sure how to answer this question. "Cold" for how long of a swim? An hour? Two hours? 20 minutes? Polar bear plunge?
  • bobswimsbobswims Santa Barbara CACharter Member
    Depends on my weight, but generally it's 15°C
  • jcmalickjcmalick Wilmington, DEMember
    I agree with evmo, depends on the time spent submersed and how rigorous. For a marathon swim lasting several hours, I think D) under 10C is too cold but for short durations under 30 minutes, B) 5C. Train in the Northeast USA specifically South Jersey.
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited January 2013
    jcmalick wrote:
    I agree with evmo, depends on the time spent submersed and how rigorous.
    Expanding my thoughts on this a bit. I still am not really sure what is meant by "cold."

    If my skin feels cold upon first immersing, is that what we're talking about when we say "cold"? I think that is what the general public thinks of, when they think of "cold."

    Or is "cold" more about effect on core temperature, not just extremities? This corresponds more to how marathon swimmers conceive of "cold."

    Obviously, the standard of "cold" for affecting core temp is much different than the standard for making skin feel cold.

    However, it doesn't look like you're distinguishing between different communities of swimmers (or the general public), because you also posted this survey on Twitter.
  • 1. USA, Usually swimming on the east coast

    2. Depends on how much time I have to spend in it, but for a marathon swim I'd say g) under 17.5
  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
    Mauricio, I already answered on the on-line poll so you don't double-count, but

    a) Ireland
    b) 7.5C

    loneswimmer.com

  • owenswims93owenswims93 Dublin, IrelandMember
    @mauprieto @evmo I have a very simplistic way of looking at it: if I'm only swimming for the sake of it – it's cold; if I'm doing a proper "training" swim – it's not cold. Personally, I can do proper "training" swim (6+ hrs) in anything over 11.5ºC – I will be cold at the end of it, but if I did 6 hrs then the water was not cold.

    Also, as I noted in the additional comments box in the survey, the ambient conditions does make a big difference. It's a lot easier to swim in 10ºC water on a warm, sunny day with no wind than on a miserable one.

    http://fermoyfish.com – Owen O'Keefe (Fermoy, Ireland)

  • mauprietomauprieto Barcelona, Spain and San Francisco, CAMember
    @evmo, @jcmalick, @owenswims93 You all make good points about how the term "cold" could change depending on time spent and how rigorous the swim was. It might have been better to specify a specific time and purpose. My starting point with this poll was one conducted by Steven Munatones a few years ago, in which he asked "At what temperature do you think the water gets cold" (http://dailynews.openwaterswimming.com/2011/11/how-do-open-water-swimmers-define-cold.html). I was interested in seeing how the answer could vary depending on the swimmer's country. I asked to have the detailed info from openwaterswimming.com but have not heard back, so that's why I decided to launch the poll myself. I will give it a thought as to whether it would be convenient to mention a time specification in the poll (1 hour, for instance). I would have visibility of results pre and post time specification in any case . Thanks a lot for the comments made on this.
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    I’ll play:
    New York
    <12.5 is cold to me

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • SuirThingSuirThing Carrick-on-Suir, IrelandMember
    edited January 2013
    Ireland
    I can cope with less than12.5C while I'm in it, but when I get out I get plenty of "are you SURE you're ok?". Less than 10C is still splash'n'dash/wetsuit territory for me.

    I tried to convince myself, but, orange flavour electrolyte, mixed with hot chocolate,
    tastes nothing like Terry's Chocolate Orange ....

  • HaydnHaydn Member
    edited January 2013
    You could ask what temperature might put you off from training. What time of year did you last swim open water. What temp did you squeal getting in.

    Having been training for an ice mile, I am really interested to see how I feel when pain no longer happens. And wondering whether I might stay in too long without pain and get too cold. At the moment I can't decide whether it is pain or cold that ends my sessions. All I know is that I lack the resolve to do more than 30 minutes at 37F. (3C).

    Right now my pool is 33F (1C) and ice is floating. I am too scared to get in.

  • ssthomasssthomas DenverCharter Member
    Denver
    Under 10C is cold; between 10 and 12.5C is comfortable/doable for a few hours; between 12.5 and 17.5 is sustainable for a long time; over 20C and I start to overheat after a while. Open water over 25C is like taking a bath and I don't see the point. :-)
  • SharkoSharko Tomales BayGuest
    Did a 3 hour swim last year on Feb 8th with a temp of 10.5 c or about 51f....first time I really got cold...I think it is relative to how long you let the cold sink into the bones...and your particular body and acclimation...

    "I never met a shark I didn't like"

  • mauprietomauprieto Barcelona, Spain and San Francisco, CAMember
    SuirThing wrote:
    Ireland
    I can cope with less than12.5C while I'm in it, but when I get out I get plenty of "are you SURE you're ok?". Less than 10C is still splash'n'dash/wetsuit territory for me.

    SuirThing, if we restrict the question to a 1 hour swim, what is the temperature under which you would consider "cold"? Thx.
  • mauprietomauprieto Barcelona, Spain and San Francisco, CAMember
    Sharko wrote:
    Did a 3 hour swim last year on Feb 8th with a temp of 10.5 c or about 51f....first time I really got cold...I think it is relative to how long you let the cold sink into the bones...and your particular body and acclimation...
    What would your answer be if we restrict the question to a 1 hour swim? Thx

  • SharkoSharko Tomales BayGuest
    For me, just a guess, of 40f or 4.5C...have to train and acclimate as I am not a kid anymore...

    "I never met a shark I didn't like"

  • mauprietomauprieto Barcelona, Spain and San Francisco, CAMember
    Just wanted to let you know that the results of the cold water poll are posted here: http://owswimming.com/2013/01/20/results-cold-water-poll-open-water-swimmers/ Thank you all for your participation!
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