Swimming in the open water is not only part of the training of professional triathletes in spring and summer, but also amateur triathletes are increasingly shifting their training sessions to the nearby lakes. Especially in spring, the water temperatures can still be very low. Therefore, there are a few things you should consider when swimming in cold lake water.
Even if the temperatures slowly rise in March and April, the lakes need a few weeks to adjust to the air temperatures. Therefore, it is better to go slowly into cold water before swimming training so that the body can get used to the temperatures. Give your cardiovascular system enough time to adjust. Also get your face used to the water temperature. Since your face is underwater during the crawl, wetting your skin with cold water before you start swimming will help.
The most important part of your equipment is a long wetsuit. If necessary, an additional swimming thermal shirt can be worn underneath the wetsuit to keep you warm during sports in the water. In addition to the wetsuit, a neoprene swimming cap is an important companion for swimming in cold water. Not only is a lot of energy lost through the head, but it also cools down quickly. That's why wearing a neoprene swimming cap is an indispensable protection for swimming training in cold water. If your ears are also very sensitive to the cold, wearing earplugs is a good idea. If you also need protection against the cold for your fingers and feet, you can wear neoprene gloves and neoprene socks while swimming. The important thing with neoprene gear is that it fits so tightly that only a thin layer of water fits between the insulation layer and the skin. If you still feel cold when swimming in cold water with your wetsuit on, you can try a wetsuit with a higher thickness. Every person has an individual feeling for cold and warmth.
Basically, swimming in neoprene is warming and very helpful. The buoyancy of the material supports your swimming performance. However, you should not get used to this support, as neoprene is prohibited in the water at many Triathlon competitions. So if the temperatures allow it, you should do without the wetsuit in order not to lose the feeling for swimming without a wetsuit. Regarding temperature and use of neoprene in cold water swimming, you can remember a rule of thumb: The water temperature indicates the time you can swim without a neoprene. For example, if the water temperature is 15 degrees, you can swim 15 minutes in cold water without a wetsuit. With a wetsuit you can double this time. In the example, this results in a swimming time of 30 minutes.