Posted by: Tina | January 10, 2012

Swimming, cold water vertigo, and ripped abs

My swim day yesterday began with enthusiasm, and ended with a puddle of vomit on the sidewalk.

I have joined the Pacific Spirit Triathlon club for Monday night coached swim workouts at the UBC 50m outdoor pool (January to June). In a few months, the experience is sure to be pleasant with lovely evening swims in the sunshine but, in the meantime, it means hitting the pool deck in the dark chill of night and shivering with cold when stopped for longer than ten seconds at the end of the pool lanes.

Last night – my first with the club – the swim director told me that the water, usually a tolerable temperature on par with any regular indoor pool, was 1-2 degrees Celsius colder than usual. That set my warning signals flashing, as I consistently experience vertigo when swimming in water cooler than about 22 degrees. Unfortunately, though I saw my earplugs at home the night before, I pooh-poohed the idea of bringing them with me. After all, I competed in the Point Grey Triathlon in July in the same pool, didn’t use earplugs, and had no problems.

But, last night, I managed to only get through the warmup and a drill set before vertigo took over. The coach reminded me to bring earplugs next time as I teetered out of the pool and made the frigid dash back into the aquatic centre.

The bus ride home was terrible, rivaled only by a winding long-distance bus ride in the Costa Rican mountains in 2000, clutching a plastic shopping bag of barf in one hand. I managed to keep it together through sheer force of will, until I arrived at my stop and proceeded to eject all the contents of my stomach onto the sidewalk.

And, so, my friends, the moral of the story for Tina: always keep earplugs in the swim bag.

* * *

As an aside, I got to the aquatic centre a bit early and had the great pleasure of watching the varsity – competitive, at any rate – swimmers practice in the indoor pool. Holy, ripped abs, Batman! I’m so used to seeing skinny middle-aged triathlete bodies, that I forgot just how amazingly great competitive swimming can be for body aesthetics.


  1. […] Spirit Triathlon Club (600 metres of warm up and drills). Then I was hit something fierce by cold water vertigo and did not complete the scheduled hour of […]

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