"Safety experts said generally speaking, even on a warm day the water below the surface can be freezing. That can lead to the body going into shock, with arms and legs becoming numb and breathing becoming difficult. They said it can happen very quickly, no matter how experienced the swimmer is."Wow. Where do they get this crap? OK, you want to discourage people from getting in over their head, I get that. But this drowning I suspect was not due to freezing water, and arms and legs going numb. He wasn't in the water that long, and it wasn't that cold.
One thing that can be said that had it been a cramp and he was completely debilitated, had he swam in the Great Salt Lake, he wouldn't have drowned. When you swim in open water you take on risk. Cramps, boats, exhaustion and in the earlier months, hypothermia. I assume they weren't in the water long, and even if it were in the 50s it couldn't have been hypothermia in this case. People need to respect the water. If you aren't an open water swimmer, consider taking your training in baby steps. Don't bite off more than you can chew.
If you're a Salt Lake City local, consider swimming in the GSL for that added safety of guaranteed flotation, and lack of boats (you still need to watch out for boats especially within the marina). Swim with a friend. Be aware of your limitations! And listen to your instincts!
Here's an example. Yesterday I went out early to the GSL for a swim. I didn't have a friend with me. The wind was blowing and the waves were coming into Silver sands beach pretty strong. Nothing that I couldn't handle. However, I just had this feeling. I've had it before. I didn't feel good about going out there. I was hoping for a double Gridley Straight, but decided instead to postpone and do a Bountiful Lake swim in the evening after work.
In that case, I'll never know what would have happened, most likely I would have been fine, but you don't want to ignore those instincts and find out the hard way.
This morning I swam at Steiner and swam 2700 yards before they opened the LCM pool, then did:
3000 - 3 x (200 free, 300 pull, 300 free, 200 pull)
1000 - 500 tempo trainer at :88, 500 tempo trainer at :85
2000 - 2 x (200 free, 300 pull, 300 free, 200 pull)
6000 LCM + 2700 yards = 9,250 yards total in 2:50