Photo by Cadet Jordan Rozsa
Getting into the cold water of the swim can be disheartening for many people. However there are ways to help aliviate the pain.
Many physical factors effect how you will feel in the water: body fat, fitness, age, and nutrition. You can gradually get used to the cold by slowly taking colder and colder baths or showers prior to the race. You can also eat or drink hot foods or beverages before the race can help increase your internal body temperature.
It is also important to mentally prepare for the race. Deep, calm breaths can relax yourself in the cold water so you don't panic. Practicing this in your cold bath practices can help mentally prepare you for the cold.
It is also important to get a wetsuit that can protect you from the cold. The better you like this wetsuit the more likely you are to be unafraid of the cold. For more information on getting a good fitting wetsuit, see my article on wetsuits.