Brandon swimmers brave near-freezing temps to train

10:32 AM, Jan 8, 2014   |    comments
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Brandon, Florida -- As steam rose from the glowing blue pool, around a dozen swimmers at the Brandon Sports and Aquatic Center crisscrossed, lap after lap, Wednesday morning.

The high schoolers braved the cold weather Wednesday to keep up a twice-a-week training plan that puts them in the pool during the day's coldest time, from 5-7 a.m.

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The swim starts with an extra sort of event on dry land -- call it the "20-foot dash" -- from where they take off their jackets and shoes and then bolt into the 82-degree water.

While the water is warm, every time a swimmer takes an arm above the surface, they're blasted by the 50-degree difference from that pool temperature to the air temperature in the 30's.

"Oh, it's so cold. Your body -- like, you jump in and you're like, 'Wow, this is a lot warmer than outside.' Then you take a stroke and you just feel like your arm is an icicle. It's so cold," competitive swimmer Zach Kitzis said.

But it's worth it?

"Yeah, it's all worth it in the end," Kitzis said. "For whenever we have our championship meet and you make your goals and then you just end up doing better than what you wanted to do."

One of the swimmers, Maddie Hess, is training for Olympic trials. Each member of the group will swim three-and-a-half to four miles in the morning, Blue Wave Swim Team head coach Ron Turner said.

The swimmers will be back out Wednesday afternoon, when the weather will be a little warmer.

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