Go in hard, come out wet – Open Water Swimming Part 2

Go in hard

(This isn’t where we swam but it’s pretty though right? Sorry about the rude quote but it made me laugh quite a lot)

The strangest part of Open Water Swimming was getting out. Part of me didn’t want to get out, I wanted to keep practising. But the other (sensible) part of me wanted very badly to be warm and to be able to feel my cheeks again.

I found out if you take your wetsuit off straight away while it is still wet, it is actually fairly easy, but there are tricks to it (roll down then pull over the extremity in one go) and it is definitely going to need practice (i.e. transition, blah blah blah). Once we were out and free of the neoprene though, we all felt weirdly flat and subdued. Not exhilarated like I thought we would. A bit spacy and weird.

After negotiating the tiny changing rooms with about 8 thousand other equally cold women (whose advice was not to shower straight away as it does not help to warm you core it just warms your skin) and rueing my decision to wear skinny jeans (cold damp legs do not an easy-jean-putting-on experience make – note: bring tracksuit bottoms next time), we then all started to feel nauseous, headachy and slightly sea sick.

A big fry up didn’t fix it and it was a good couple of hours and some ginger nut biscuits before I started to feel normal again.

Some research uncovered that this is a pretty normal, something to do with cold water in your inner ear affecting your balance. Suggestions include wearing neoprene swim caps (sometimes 2 if it’s really cold), wearing earplugs, eating ginger (aka ginger nuts) or just plain pharmaceutical support. Nothing about the weird subdued feeling though, perhaps anti-climax?

We’re doing an Open Water Swim Seminar at Eton Dorney this weekend so it will be interesting to find out more.

I’ve now bought a wetsuit and some swim socks (leaving the neoprene cap for now) and also am interested to find out how swimming in a sports bra is going to be…….

The more I’ve thought about the experience, it has felt equivalent to running outside compared to running on a treadmill or cycling outside compared to a stationary bike. Swimming in a normal pool is going to feel just a little bit tame from now on.


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