One of my local training spots - Market Bosworth Water Park - opened for swimming while I was in Malta. Apparently, on 17 April, it was only 9 degrees, and they all just did a 20 minute (wetsuit) dip. But it's a very shallow lake, so warms up (and cools down) fairly quickly, so I figured that given the week of sunshine the UK's had, I should be fine, so I headed down there on Saturday. I took my wetsuit (just in case they weren't happy for me to go in without because of the temp), but it was 12.5 degrees, and the nice people at 1485 Tri Club (who host the sessions) said it was fine (insane, but fine), so in I went. It certainly had a bit of a bite to it, but I decided to aim for 5 laps (c. 3500m) and then see how I felt. The sun was out, and I didn't feel too bad at 5, so headed round for number 6. Half way round, though, I realised that I couldn't really feel my hands or feet and decided to call it a day at 6. I was obviously colder than I had been feeling, because by the time I hit the changing rooms, I was shaking furiously - arms and legs shivering far more dramatically than anything I had in Gozo. It's not a completely unpleasant sensation, but it's just a bit unnerving because it's so involuntary. I kept trying to remember Nick Adam's advice that as long as you don't die from hypothermia, you always fully recover - it just takes some time and gentle warming. Still, I could barely carry a cup of hot chocolate from the counter to the table, and it went on for a good hour, gradually lessening until I started to feel warm again.
So, a good result I think. I've not been in water that temperature since May last year, and then I didn't stay in as long as I did yesterday. I did get pretty chilled, but generally coped okay. I also tried out a much more positive, aggressive approach to getting in which worked well - up to my waist, then straight in without dithering about. I'm going back over there on Thursday to try and do at least 7 laps.