Last night was my first opportunity to hit the UK openwater this season. Along with all of the other triathletes, I’ve been waiting impatiently for the lakes to warm up, which has been a lot slower this year. There seems to be quite a disparity in the temperatures of lakes around the country.
This year I wanted to investigate the lake next door to the lake that my tri club uses, partly because I can’t easily make the tri club sessions (Thurs night clashes with a late night work shift, and Sat am, at 8 o clock? No way…), and partly because I don’t like that lake very much. I needed to get into the openwater this week ahead of my first openwater race of the season on Sunday (an Aquathlon), but I had also promised to take along Cycling Claire (I need to give her a better name as she swims and runs just as much as she cycles) to get her ready for her first proper tri at the end of June. I’ve suggested that it might be a good idea to do a standalone openwater swim race first to build her confidence up a bit without having to worry about the bike and run, and as we’ve identified one at the end of May, we needed to get going.
It was an absolutely beautiful evening, and putting my feet in the water it didn’t feel cold at all. I’d been told that the lake was between 12C and 14C but in my opinion it was definitely nearer 14C than 12. It had been fairly sunny all evening so obviously had a bit of a chance to warm up. It was pretty busy, and there must have been around 20-30 people in the water (maybe more, I didn’t have my glasses on) and a nice lady signed us in. Claire was a little bit nervous so we stayed fairly near the edge and practiced swimming and sighting between the shore and the first buoy, with a little bit of breastroke to begin with. I am very lucky to have always felt confident in the water (as long as it’s not a swimming pool with huge drains) so I hope I was able to pass a little bit of that confidence on. Claire asked to do another trip out to the buoy when I suggested getting out, so I think that is a fairly good sign, and we've planned our next trip to the lake.
What I took from the session was that the water is not that cold and I will be absolutely fine for my race on Sunday as long as I am nice and warm to begin with. And I’ll be fine hanging around for the deep water start, but if I can keep moving, that will help. And I took away an excitement for the coming season of openwater swim racing (amid a little bit of sadness that I only have 3 standalone openwater swim races in my calendar L)