I bumped up the swim start time to 7:30am this week to take advantage of the forecasted sunny weather. This turned out to be a wise move as the air temperature read 45F upon arrival and the water temperature came in at a lower-than-expected 43F (6.1C). The water conditions, however, were ideal – mirror flat with no winds agitating either the swim area or the swimmer.
I did an out-and-back to Ladder #13 (roughly 4/5 of a mile) and really had no trouble at all with the colder water. In fact, the only reason I opted not to do a full mile was that I’m nursing a strained levator scapulae muscle (look it up!) that began to bug me during the first leg of the swim. For the record, here was my equipment set up for this morning’s workout:
– Neoprene Body Glove swim cap with a thicker latex swim cap underneath
– O’Neill Thermo-X rash guard
– Xterra Vortex full wetsuit
– Deep See 5mm dive booties with neoprene foot covers underneath
– XS Dry Five 5mm diving gloves
I was initially concerned about not having my full-head neoprene dive hood. But I used petroleum jelly on the exposed areas of my neck and face, and that worked out quite well. As is typically the case, the only time I was ever uncomfortable was during the first five minutes of the swim – and only in my face and head. Basically, the rapid cold water immersion triggers a fair amount of pressure in your sinus cavities that then has to stabilize. While this takes only a few minutes, it can seem like an eternity! But once you get over that hump, the swimming is actually a breeze.
Oh yeah. One other item. You will all be happy to know that Open Water Chicago’s first underwater Twitter message was an unqualified success!
Post-swim tea and skyline