This is a new experience for me since I have never swum in water this cold. The last temperature report was from a few days ago that the lake was from 50 to 52F (10C-11C). The cold is definitely getting my attention now. As we enter in the lake the sensation of walking into ice water doesn't leave much confidence that things will get comfortable. During the first 10 minutes of swimming, I am not warmed up and need to do considerably more breathing. This becomes a bit unnerving as I try to mentally wrestle between whether or not my swimming difficulties are due to the warm up or due to the cold. My hands and feet quickly become numb. What was new this time was a sensation of pain on my cheeks like I would expect from being outside when it was snowing. After the first 800 yard crossing, the group of us exchanged greetings to make sure we were all OK. Then it was pretty much routine moving to the various points, although checking up on each other was a bit more sincere than usual.
We finished the 3,000 yards in about 50 minutes. When the water temperature was in the upper 50's, I generally didn't feel any need to get out. Now I am looking forward to the end, getting dry, and finding some way to get warm again. I missed several days of swimming since my weekday swim partners were on vacation or suffering from various ailments. As long as I don't get sick also, the upcoming polar bear swim seems to be doable. Only eight more days to go!