So I finally did my first open water swim of 2011 on Friday.  With the unseasonally warm weather here in the UK at the moment, the water temperature at Lake 32 (near Cirencester) wasn't bad at all.  I think the fact the lake is quite shallow helps the water temperature rise more quickly than some of the deeper quarry lakes.

As someone who is a self-confessed hater of crowded swimming pools and the monotony of 25 metre lengths (oh for a 50m pool...!) it was so nice to get away from chlorine, slower swimmers blocking your way and the featureless landscape of swimming pool tiles. 

Friday was also my first opportunity to try out the new Xterra Vector Pro X3 triathlon wetsuit.  I'll be doing a full write up for my 'Gear Reviews' section once I've had a few more swims in it, but the first impressions were good.  The fit in the arms and legs isn't quite what I'd like (sometimes it feels like water is pooling in the arms, which suggest the arms are too long and not snug enough), but I am enjoying the overall swim position the suit promotes as well as the freedom in shoulder movement.

We just did three laps of the 750-800m course in 47 minutes on Friday (Garmin suggested each lap was 1.2km, but there's no way that was right!), then a steady 7km run around the lake - I had forgotten what it was like to run when you can't really feel your toes!

I then headed back up to the lake for a 6.30am swim this morning.  Although it was decidedly chiller in the air, the water temperature was still pretty good and I was able to put in four laps in 55 minutes at a medium effort level.  All pretty good considering my lack of winter swim training.  One discomfort was caused by doubling up on the silicon swim caps, which kept biting into my neck when I turned to breathe. I can't actually see the damage, but it feels pretty painful!

I guess I shouldn't totally neglect the pool for drills and technique sessions, but personally I'm very pleased that open water season has arrived!