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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Cold Water Cut-off In Cape Town

So how cold is the water in Cape Town, South Africa?

"In Cape Town, we are lucky in that the water temperatures varies all year round and week round so anything from an 8ºC (460ºF) swim to 16ºC (61ºF) swim is possible and probable. But the water seldom drops below 10ºC (50ºF)," explains Andrew Chin. "The coldest I think we have had is around 7.5ºC (45ºF).

But all of us in Cape Town don't really concentrate on the distance covered, but rather the time spent in the water and the regularity of the swims

Like owners and their pets, it appears that sometimes swimmers can take on the characteristics and appearance of the ocean. "My longest and coldest swim in South African waters was a Robben Island swim at 10ºC," said Chin who has swum in Lake Zurich in February. "By the end of it I was cold and grumpy.

We have done Clifton and Camps Bay at less than 10ºC numerous times, spending anything from 20 minutes to an hour in the water. The idea is to do this as often as possible when training for a cold event. It is all about preparing the mind and the body, and not wearing a swim cap makes entry a lot more difficult. But [going without a swim cap] does wonders for the training and teaches one a lot about pain.

The pain can best be described as an ice cream headache. Sometimes, it goes down into ones teeth. It hurts around the temple and then slowly rises up the head. By the time it reaches the crown you know its almost over. I also experience aches in the toes and fingers but this either stays for a short while early on or comes on after a period and then disappears.

Copyright © 2012 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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