I haven't done an open water swim yet but, I was in St. Louis and went swimming in a rec center there. The lap pool doubles as a wave pool with 3 foot waves every 2 or 3 seconds. I decided to try swimming in it.
I swam about 100 meters against and with the waves after my regular workout and was pretty beat and out of breath.
Has anyone ever done this/is it a good or bad idea?
If so, how does it compare to an open water swim? I realize it's going to depend on whether it's a lake, river or the ocean.
I'm not sure that this would really give you an accurate impression of any open water swim you might encounter in a tri. The closest comparison is an ocean swim, but keep in mind that in that case you're swimming (for about 90% of the distance) parallel to the shore, so there aren't exactly waves breaking on top of you while you swim.
With that said, I'm not sure you're hurting anything by trying it. It actually sounds a lot harder than any open water swim, so maybe you'll end up kicking butt during an actually race!
Des Peres Lodge? In my old hood there. Though that sweet pool wasn't put it until about the time I was moving away. Didn't even realize it had a wave pool!
Anyway. A wave pool doesn't really match up to many of the open water swims you'll do around here. Even if you were in an ocean swim with waves, it would calm down a bit after that first 100 meters. But as far as the races here, it's in the Potomac or in other fairly calm rivers and lakes. I wouldn't worry about it too much, there isn't any real comparison there.