Tips for open water swimming

Wednesday 18 July 2018

An popular topic among open water swimmers and triathletes; from which water temperature can you swim outside? You might know it, the spring starts and the sun invites you to swim in the open water. But at the first step in the water you feel that it is actually much too cold to start your training. You conclude that you do not know whether the temperature of the water is suitable for swimming. Because the open water season is starting again, this well known problem arises again. This article will help you with information about our own experience and the regulations, so that you can open the open water season with the right knowledge and can enter the water with peace of mind!

From which water temperature can I swim in open water?
Swimming in open water is possible from a minimum of 13 degrees, of course with the right equipment and experience. With the right equipment we mean a wetsuit, so your body will better keeps its own heat. However, it is very personal how the body responds to cold water temperatures. At least 13 degrees is a guideline that we advise, but everyone must feel for themselves from which temperature it is 'comfortable' enough to enter the open water. Of course it is not comfortable, but at least enough to finish a good workout.

Wearing a wetsuit ensures that you can start swimming in the open water earlier, but also different types of training!

Not only the temperature, but also the intensity and length of the training have an important influence. During the training at a high intensity (interval) the body generates extra warmth. On the other hand, during a technique or endurance training you're swimming with a lower intensity. We have drawn up the table below, based on our experience, for swimming with or without a wetsuit in combination with various training sessions and water temperatures. This table is a guideline, because who calls a 30-minute endurance training a 'real endurance training' ...?

Wearing a wetsuit

  Without wetsuit With wetsuit
Water temperature   Interval training Endurance training Technique training Interval training Endurance training Technique training
<13 X X X X X X
13-15 X X X 30-45 min 30 min X
15-18 30-45 min 45 min X 45-60 min 60 min 30 min
18-20 45-60 min 90 min 45 min 60-90 min 120 min 45 min
>20 60-90 min 120 min 60 min X X X

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