Reading and talking here and there I realized that the meaning of “cold water” is extremely flexible, and it depends on each individual. The FINA rules say that if at any point of the course the measured water temperature is below 18C degrees, then athletes are allowed to wear a wetsuit. As far as I know, 18C is also the average temperature of the English channel in July. The Meditteranean sea near the coasts of Italy in the summer can be 25~26C degrees, which is like my swimming pool. The Indian Ocean here in Perth is around 21~23C degrees in February. I think that depending on what you are used to, what is defined by “cold water” can be different. Then, you can also see photos of people jumping into iced pools, but I think that those are another story. My own personal definition of cold water is “if I come out and I am shivering, then the water is cold”. Unluckily, I found myself shivering for anything below 20C degrees.
I need to adapt to cold water. I am not afraid of swimming 20k to Rottnest island, I am afraid of staying some 5 hours in 22C water. When my friends introduced a Saturday morning river swimming session, I was the first raising the hand and stepping head. The Swan river in August is 15C. I had never been in 15C water before. Last week Saturday we did a short less-than-3k session at the pool and then we went down to the river. Mission: swimming 1k. Result: mission failed. We stayed in the water for less than 10′, we swam maybe 400m. It was not cold. It was COLD. And we also did a huge mistake: we didn’t wear any swimcap. No guys, don’t jump into 15C water without swimcap, it is not smart. At the bottom line, we decided to go back for the headache. And once out, my leg started shivering and stopped only 10-15 mimutes later, after I turned on the heater of my car. Anyway, I did ‘t reach my goal, but it was also the first time. The first step toward adaptation. I am lookin forward to go even just 100m further the next time. Maybe with a cap on.