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Feeling the chill

by David Cole
| June 8, 2010 9:00 PM

COEUR d'ALENE - Tobin Smith said he would talk about water temperatures after the Ironman Coeur d'Alene racer had done some swimming Monday afternoon.

"If I can still talk," said Smith, 40, of Liberty Lake, who will be swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles, and running 26.2 miles in his sixth Ironman Coeur d'Alene on June 27.

Water temperatures in the lake were in the mid 50s Monday.

After taking a 40-minute swim off Independence Point, Smith said the water felt warmer than he thought it would. He had only planned to stay in for about 20 minutes.

"I could race in this, but a few more degrees would be very nice," Smith said. "I can't imagine it getting any colder" before race day.

He'll be back for more swimming in the lake, likely a couple times each week leading up to that day.

Mac Cavasar, Ironman Coeur d'Alene race director, said, "You can never predict what Mother Nature will have for us. I'm not worried about it, yet. We've swam in the 60-degree range before."

Some of the racers compete in water temperatures in the low 50s.

Water temperatures in Lake Coeur d'Alene have increased just prior to race day from warm spells in the past, Cavasar said. A neoprene swim cap is an option for racers if necessary, he said.

Ironman racer Travis Smith, 39, of Coeur d'Alene, emerged from a swim Monday at Independence Point and said he felt a bit of an "ice-cream headache."

"It takes the breath out of you," he said.

This will be his first Ironman Coeur d'Alene race, he said. He plans to get a few more swims in before race day. He got into the lake about two weeks ago, but it was too cold to swim out from the point, so it's definitely improving.

"It's going to take some more time to get adapted," he said.

Tom Emory, 38, also training for the Ironman, said, "It's hard to breathe - can't get any air."

Following his swim Monday, he said a combination of the cold water and snug neoprene suit made breathing more difficult than it has been in training so far. Mostly, though, it's the cold water, the Spokane Valley resident said.

Exaggerating some, he said, "I should come out here every night to get used to it."

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