How Cold is too Cold?

The reality of Covid-19 has settled in. It is likely that pool closures will be longer than 2 weeks. We realize your next swim could be in the open water. Toward the end of May, early June people tend to venture into local North Andover, MA lakes and ponds. Usually by Memorial Day most local ponds could be 65 degrees which is still chilly to even most wetsuit wearing folks. The temperature at Stiles Pond in Boxford, MA today, March 25th is 45 degrees. Obviously how quickly the local ponds heat up will depend on the weather along with other factors like depth, biology and activity.

If you are thinking about getting into the open water as soon as possible, water safety is serious business. Cold water safety even more so. We have found three sources that provide very good information and advice about swimming in low temperatures.

National Center for Cold Water Safety

Blog Post from TriTown Bicycles

Key points from these articles:

  • Health: any underlying health issues can impact your ability to adapt to cold water. Cold water increases blood pressure and load on the heart.
  • Swim Buddy: always bring a swim buddy and remember each of you will respond differently. What works for her might not work for you. Size also matters.
  • Weather: air temperature and humidity matter.
  • Equipment: swim buoy, wet suit, cap, booties, ear plugs.
  • Tools: thermometer, blanket or long, warm clothing.
  • Temperature: a lap pool is usually between 77-82 degrees. If temps are below 70 degrees proceed with caution. Races are modified or cancelled when temperatures are in the 50’s.

If you swim in cold water and know your tolerance, trust your experience. If you are new to early season open water, pause and consider your choices as you build your own experiences.

We should always be thoughtful about how each of our personal risks affects those around us and perhaps those we don’t even know. Today, we need to be even more cognizant of this since our healthcare resources are stretched everywhere. At the same time, we should all continue to look forward to open-water swimming as soon as possible, especially during this really difficult time in all of our lives.

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