The fear of hypothermia and the dangers associated with it are real and should be fully respected. Many swimmers worry about how long they can endure the cold and whether they are actually capable of getting through it, and rightly so. I know when I started this wonderful sport of ours this was a big concern, with my competitive nature, I knew I would push myself through the pain and discomfort. However, it was the fear of the unknown and the situation being taken out of my control that worried me the most. One thing I would like to make clear from the outset is that I don’t take any of this for granted and know my limits – believe me I have had a few learning curves. Anyone looking to apply themselves to open water swimming should build themselves up gradually one step at a time. It is a liberating and fulfilling experience to swim in open water and when the temperature drops even by half a degree it becomes a whole new challenge to the body.
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