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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Difference Between Oceans, Lakes And Pools

Karen Reeder, one of the fastest swimmers ever in the Catalina Channel, a member of the world record English Channel relay team and a top professional marathon swimmer in the 1990s who swam in numerous bodies of water over her illustrious career, provided some interesting guidelines about the differences in how the water feels in a lake vs. an ocean vs. a pool.

"The water temperature in a lake, ocean and pool of the same temperature all feel different. I always thought it was about a 2°F (1.8°C) difference between lake and ocean, so 64°F (17.7°C) in the ocean feels the same as 66°F (18.8°C) in a lake," explained Karen. "I have experienced also that pools have even a colder 'feel' than lakes do. If it is about the same difference as lake/ocean and applied to the chart, it would make sense to pool coaches as well."

78°F (25.5°C) ocean = 80°F (26.6°C) lake = 82°F (27.7°C) pool
80°F (26.6°C) ocean = 82°F (27.7°C) lake = 84°F (28.8°C) pool
82°F (27.7°C) ocean = 84°F (28.8°C) lake = 86°F (30°C) pool

"I'm not sure what the mechanism is for the difference. Humidty in air causes a difference in feel. Maybe it is the thermal conductivity of the water which changes the rate at which the body heats/cools? The results would be different based upon the type of water in which it was conducted."

Outstanding observations and great questions. What are the answers?

Copyright © 2010 by Steven Munatones

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