We know when winter is setting in properly, as the river temperature drops very quickly, this week it dropped from 8 to 6 degrees - We take much delight/horror in checking on the Shiplake Lock website here, to see how much it has changed. Along with our cold water acclimatisation, we also often have to swim when it's dark, something which you have to get used to doing, initially it can seem very scary. We put torches in our tow-floats, and head torches on - it is quite a sight!
We also have had a lot of rain recently, making the flow super-fast, so this requires us to swoosh - walking up the river bank and swimming down with the flow - this is great fun, and we have been known to run up the bank for another go. Last week our fastest swoosh was 500m in 7.2 mins!
Our channel swim is between 1-10 June, and this means that the sea temperature will be between 11-13 degrees, the ocean warms up and cools down very slowly, unlike the river, which has been known to drop 5 degrees in a week. Our cold water & night swimming acclimatization is a vital element of our training, we have to be able to stay strong, and comfortable with the cold, and the dark.