Cold water swimming for triathletes
220 Triathlon|December 2022
As temperatures drop, is there any benefit to swimming in cold water as triathletes, or should you stick to the pool? From cold hands to the afterdrop, we explore the chillier side of open water...
By Helen Webster
Cold water swimming for triathletes

Winter is coming. With apologies for quoting one of the most-quoted lines from a box set most of us were long done with watching.... But what does that mean for triathletes? More specifically, triathletes who are wondering whether to keep swimming outdoors?

Well, for us, it's less the season for white walkers and more the season for white fingers and toes. As the temperatures drop, though, will you be one of the swimmers who puts their wetsuit into storage and heads to the warmth of the pool for the off-season? Or are you keen to continue with at least some open-water swimming? Perhaps more importantly, if you can't get the hard yards in, is there any point continuing to get into lakes and seas?

There's no doubt that outdoor swimming and cold-water immersion are having a 'moment' right now. From groups of local dippers extolling the benefits of chilly swims to the increase in winter swim 'challenges', there's a groundswell of belief that this is something that can benefit us in a number of ways, with immune health, mental health and generally 'feeling good' topping the list of reported (if not yet scientifically-proven) effects. For this writer, there's an element of bias involved, too, as I'm about to head into my third winter of cold swimming and have long ago fallen in love with it. I know, too, that come May when many of my buddies are struggling with returning to open water, I'll be enjoying the feeling of temperatures rising again - and as a result will be starting to extend my distance while they're still spluttering and swearing their way around the 250m loop.

This story is from the December 2022 edition of 220 Triathlon.

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This story is from the December 2022 edition of 220 Triathlon.

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