British open water swimmers practise in wetsuits in readiness for Loch Lomond chill
GLASGOW - Great Britain's open water swimming team have been practising in wetsuits for months in preparation for the Glasgow 2018 European Championships.
Wetsuits will almost certainly be worn at Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park under new rules introduced in 2017 by world governing body FINA. The water temperature is expected to be between 16 and 18 Degrees Celsius, when wetsuits and a bathing cap are mandatory.
"We knew it was going to be a wetsuit months ago because it's Loch Lomond and in Britain," Toby ROBINSON (GBR) said.
"We've done a load of practice in it and we are feeling confident. The worst thing is that it is quite sore on the shoulders, quite tight, and over 10km you can feel it but we have done lots of preparation on it now."
Team-mate Caleb HUGHES, a bronze medallist at the 2016 European Championships in the 5km, said: "Some people prefer them. We haven't worn them in a major championship before. It has a different type of effect on people. It's not the same as not wearing a wet suit."
The water temperature was 17.9C at Loch Lomond when official training started on Sunday and a fraction lower on Monday.
Temperatures are taken two hours before the start of the race but there is a general acceptance it will not go above 18C, when wetsuits would become optional. Glasgow 2018 will be the first major championships where the new laws apply.
World, Olympic and European 10km champion Ferry WEERTMAN (NED) is not a fan of wetsuits.
"I think you can train your body to be used to hot or cold water so you don't need one," he said.
“I did one mile in Manchester in a wetsuit but that was it, no training, nothing, because I'm from Holland and we are used to swimming in cold water. But it is something new and I adapt."
Countrywoman Sharon VAN ROUWENDAAL (NED), also an Olympic champion, shares WEERTMAN’s opinion.
"If we had the choice, I wouldn't swim in it. But I can adapt in my head to think the positive and not the negative of wearing a wetsuit.
"Some people will only think about their arms feeling heavy and feel not so good, so that’s better for me."
CNS content is available free of charge to all media. No copyright restrictions apply.