Castaic Reads 69 Degrees, Wetsuits Won’t Be Allowed at OW Nats Today


James Sutherland contributed to this report.

The most recent water temperature measurement in Castaic Lake, according to SwimSwam’s Mike Lewis and USA Swimming, has shown 69 degrees Fahrenheit. This marks a rise from the measurement of 68 from yesterday, which is higher than the 65 reading from Wednesday.

A reading of 69 degrees spells trouble for swimmers at Open Water Nationals this weekend, as USA Swimming will mandate that wetsuits won’t be allowed. Initially, USA Swimming had planned on keeping this competition wetsuit free, but they later conceded to implementing FINA’s rules for wetsuits and temperature. According to FINA, wetsuits are mandated for water temperatures below 64.4 degrees Fahrenheit, and not allowed above 68 degrees. That means in between those two temperatures, wetsuits would be optional.

The official temperature is typically taken 2 hours prior to the national 10K, national 5K, and junior national races to determine the official “race temperature” that will govern the use of wetsuits. The temperature posted on the USA Swimming website, right here, was 69 as of 9:30am in California, meaning wetsuits will be banned for at least today’s 10K race. Wetsuits come with their advantages, but many coaches believe that wetsuits give a bigger advantage to less-talented swimmers, meaning that more talented swimmers could be left off the World Champs team.

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JP input is too short

Man, just another reason I would never have been an open-water swimmer… I couldn’t deal with 69 degree water!




Why would a wet suit give a greater advantage to an untalented swimmer and not an equal advantage for all athletes?

Mark – the general chorus is that westuits help equalize athletes’ skill levels – it gives a higher body position to a swimmer with a lower body position. It reduces drag (and therefore fatigue over an hour-long race) for all athletes, but for a less-trained athlete, the fatigue was a bigger influence on their overall result anyway. A more accessible analogy: if you’re a good kicker and I’m a bad kicker – let’s say we race a 50 kick, you beat me by 6 seconds. If we both put fins on, odds are the gap would close – I think most people who have used fins can see this. Even more accessible analogy: NFL shrinks the size of the football.… Read more »

JP input is too short

This was the issue with the “supersuits” of 2008-2009 – heck, Blueseventy’s entry into the pool tech suit world was pretty much a toned down version of their open water wetsuits.

You’re right, it’d be nice to have some empirical data on the physics of it – the developing companies surely have something in order to make some of the claims they did (thinking of the LZR Racer’s claims of 24% less skin friction drag, etc). As of now, there’s really only the correlative data from comparing the depth of events like 2009 Worlds or NCAAs versus big events after the suit ban.


I dont know if i agree with your kicking analogy, if everyone is going faster then the race is shorter, the difference between athletes is shorter, but it is all in proportion still. If everyone has the suit on whether its wetsuits, current tech suits, or the shiny suits of the past, it should be an even playing field. The OW community’s distaste of wetsuits has always seemed to come more out of emotions (the whole youre weak for wearing a wetsuit and tougher for not wearing one mentality) than logic

Mark Montgomery

Hey Braden, you are mostly right except the less trained athlete comment. Training really isn’t the factor that makes the different advantages in the swim peloton, it is mostly just plain old floating. Take 30 people all highly trained athletes and they will have varying levels of floating abilities. Some people are just sinkers, thus end up in shorter events if they have the power to overcome that disadvantage. In long distance OW swimming most are good floaters just by natural selection, but there is still a difference. So what happens are those that are just a couple % worse, now have the same body position as the natural born floaters and can now use all their power in moving… Read more »

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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