On Saturday I went to swim in the ocean, just to get used to it. It turns out that the ocean is very cold in January and, worse, it'll only be 2 degrees warmer in March. I braved the cold ocean wearing only a thick cap and a thin paddling shirt. I was out after 5 minutes, mostly because it was too rough to (safely) do any real swimming. I discovered that surf doesn't scare me, so that was nice.
Then I went for a swim in the pool (since 5 minutes doesn't really count as a swim workout) where I swam freestyle for 1000 yards straight! My previous longest stretch was 125 yards so this is a big confidence booster. I'd been wondering what I could do in the ocean to rest up. In the pool I've been doing lengths on my back but when I swim like that I can't see where I'm going, and I can't see when a small wave might hit me right as I'm breathing. I'm much more confident about the swim leg now.
Thinking about the cold, I was browsing craigslist on Sunday night, and saw an ad for a wetsuit for somebody who is male, about 6 feet tall, and weighs 170 lbs. That describes me quite well so I jumped on it, and as of this morning I'm the owner of a slightly worn O'Neil wetsuit. It seems to fit very well, and I'll probably test it out this weekend. I am a little bit worried about swimming in a surfsuit, but from what I hear it should be fine except that my shoulders might be a bit sore.