Want to get faster at the swim in tri? “Get in the open water,” your coach will probably tell you. But, you might argue, the water’s too cold—especially in the late fall. While there is definitely a lower end where no one should go out swimming in (sub-50 degrees F is when things can get sketchy), it’s also tough to argue that swimming in the pool for months on end, then jumping into icy water for your early-season tune up is a good strategy.
This year in particular, with limited/no opportunities to race, your open-water skills have probably rusted solid. Also, no matter how fast of a swimmer you are in the pool, if you’re not adapted to chilly water—or prepared with the right gear—you’ll probably struggle more than the slower swimmer that’s been icing it out in the late fall. Trust me, I’ve been the bad swimmer who prepared in the cold water, only to beat my poorly adapted fishy competition. But you can’t do it on your own (unless you’re this guy)—you’ll also need some cold-water swim gear to help you through.