This article feels a bit of a validation to me. I’ve been claiming for years that it is dangerous to swim long distances fast above 86 F. While Fina seems to think we can hold on until it hits about 87.8 degrees (31 F), Dr. Mullen disagrees.
It may sound strange to non-swimmers that think it’s chilly to hit the water around 84 degrees that it can be dangerous to swim in hot water. My wife tells me the kiddy pool is cold when it’s around 84. Many triathletes seem to think cold water is unbearable, and while the 5% body fat crowd may have a point, the rest aren’t willing to deal with the cold.
Some of my best work outs were outside on days around 25 F in the air and 75 F in the water. It felt like I could push my body to it’s limits and then keep going.
Either way as open water swimming and pool swimming grow as sports and more information is gathered the more we will refine our understanding of the effects of water temperature. I truly hope more people don’t die as part of the process, and I hope that Fina lowers this upper limit.