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Cold Water: Get Acclimatized!

 December 17, 2013

Interested in trying a Winter swim in the San Francisco Bay? Join us for a Water World Swim weekly workout session on Sunday mornings at Aquatic Park. In the early season we do shorter sessions inside the cove, focusing on acclimatization, sighting, currents, swimming in pace groups and just having fun.

Swimming in the Bay

The temperatures range through the year from as low as 48F in winter to  its warmest in the late summer months up to 62F - though in September 2014, it hit 67F! You can check tide levels and temperatures at the National Data Buoy Center.


Cold Water Acclimatization

Always start getting in the water slowly, to let your hands, feet and torso acclimate. Newcomers to the bay or new to open water swimming will receive instructions from our experienced coaches. Feel free to ask them questions during the session, but pay attention to the areas where you are planning to swim! Look around to get familiar with the temperatures and landmarks. After a couple of minutes you may feel like you are submerged in the water – continue moving to avoid stiffness. After your swim write in a log book how you felt, your reaction, and your later reactions. Keep track of your time in the water.

Always try to relax - try to keep your breathing rate normal, even though your natural instinct will be to quicken your breath. Always think POSITIVE in the water!

The distance of the swim depends upon currents. You may use the Gmap-Pedometer tool to find the basic distance.

Click on the manual function and start recording. As you click around on the map it will show the mileage. From the first buoy to the flag is about 260 meters. One cove loop (without going to the extreme) is about 3/4 of a mile.


Cold Water Swimming Gear

A NEOPRENE OR INSULATED CAP A must for most of first time Bay Swimmers. Your head is a computer. Keep it alert and working all the time.

BRIGHT COLORED SWIM CAP You must be seen easily by other swimmers, rowers or the pilots, or your relatives that came to see you from the beach. If you're swimming with Water World Swim, we'll provide you with one.

MACK’S EARPLUGS Your middle ear is a bunch of filaments floating in a nice warm environment. In cold water, they will react just like the hair in your leg when you get cold, then voila! You will go way off balance, causing you to get dizzy, and sick. Silicone earplugs like Mack's help keep your middle ear warm.

GOGGLES Many out there in the market, the most recommended are those made out of silicone, and CLEAR. They are flexible and easy to adapt to the shape of your face. Wash them with warm water the day before and mold them to your face, before race day or before swimming in open water. Anti fog drops can assist in visibility.

ZOOMERS Swim fins can help you with your training and especially with your drills.

WET SUIT Many are out there in the market. Our recommendation to get them in a place where they know about swimming in cold water and how the suit should fit. Not to tight or not too loose. If you are seriously considering to keep swimming triathlons or swimming for fun, get a good wet suit for yourself. Do not experiment with diving, surfing, karate, or abalone diver suits from 1954, as they will do more damage to your skin as to your stroke and will ruin your experience. Many swimmers elect to use a sleeveless suit, aka Farmer Johns. If you are used to swimming in cold water, feel free to wear your swim suit or speedo.

Other Items To Bring Along

TOWELS Very important! But if you forget it I’m sure someone won’t mind sharing.

BODY GLIDE If you wear a wetsuit, it is important to put a lubricant around the neck and arms where you might chafe.

A WARM HAT Your hair might get wet (!), and so it’s good to bring a beanie or something.

GARBAGE BAGS  For wetsuits, or wet clothes.

WARM AND DRY CLOTHING Also very important! There will be someone watching our stuff as we swim so you don’t get stuck commuting in your wetsuit.

HOT BEVERAGE  Bring soup or tea in a heat-insulating thermos - bringing enough to share is awesome!


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