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Old 04-01-2012, 04:33 PM   #1
Brick
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Cold shock response

One thing I noticed during my recent swim at 7.2C, is that I didn't seem to experience any cold shock. I've certainly had a gasping reflex when entering much warmer water. But, apart from the water feeling rather cold, I didn't notice any gasping etc. while going in. The water was cold, and while drying myself I couldn't "feel my skin" on my legs etc. But, I expected some sort of cold shock, and I don't remembering experiencing one.
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Old 04-01-2012, 08:53 PM   #2
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Sounds that your cold water experience, although mostly in summer conditions or wetsuit, has already reduced or even supressed your cold response where it matters - in winter cold water. You could keep bare-skin swimming especially current OW temperatures stay around average. Up to now there is no indication of any period of sustained cold - but you know the British weather!

Looks I'll be getting my first winter swim in Hatchmere on Saturday - the weather has been too stormy up to now. As far as I know my recent stroke had no effect on my physiology and my cold shock response would not be affected. The mechanisms a winter swimmer's body uses to defend against cold are mostly under autonomic control so again a stroke should have no effect.

I'll soon find out, although I was swimming into November before I was taken ill.

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Old 04-01-2012, 09:43 PM   #3
Matron
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brick View Post
One thing I noticed during my recent swim at 7.2C, is that I didn't seem to experience any cold shock. I've certainly had a gasping reflex when entering much warmer water. But, apart from the water feeling rather cold, I didn't notice any gasping etc. while going in. The water was cold, and while drying myself I couldn't "feel my skin" on my legs etc. But, I expected some sort of cold shock, and I don't remembering experiencing one.
That's weird, only because the same happened to me at the weekend. I went to Hayling on New Year's Eve and didn't notice the gasp reflex. At the time I didn't feel cold, everything just hurt/burned instead (!) and when I got out my skin felt like cold rubbery blancmange!

It's odd because I had the gasp reflex a few times in the lake earlier in 2011 (April/May) when the water was warmer, although I dived into the lake rather than walked into it. Maybe a summer of swimming in lakes and the sea has helped.
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Old 04-01-2012, 10:17 PM   #4
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Agree with previous posts - no shock any more, so much so that many of the old lags at Tooting are diving into the races - in 3-4C at the moment. NOT ADVISABLE for beginners. We will stop as it gets to 1-2C and for the upcoming event in Latvia diving isnt allowed anyway.

Having said that there is no reduction in the effects of the cold water such as face-burn, fingers tingling etc and I reckon I have suffered as much post swim as usual.
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Old 05-01-2012, 11:16 AM   #5
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Matron's description of what happened to her sounds EXACTLY what happened to me. Apart from that I wasn't diving. But it was burning rather than feeling "cold". If I'd stayed in the water longer, it may have made a difference. I had four very short swims instead of one moderately short one.

Pete - I think using cold water to wash all summer may have contributed to it. As I haven't been swimming lately. Once it's winter I do revert to hot water baths though. I do remember getting the gasp reflex while rinsing my hair etc. with water which must have been much warmer than the lake at the weekend. Good luck with your forthcoming re-entry into the water.

Leppie - I know you weren't addressing me. But just as a tangential comment, I wouldn't dream of going into cold water in any hurry. I move in slowly - and have no intention of changing this policy. I wear diving gloves and booties, and hence my extremities are quite warm and don't have any tingling etc.

I had put my hand in the water prior to changing and swimming. I was surprised that the water didn't feel that bad at all, though it felt colder when I got all of me in
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Old 05-01-2012, 05:02 PM   #6
carribeanquest
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brick View Post
One thing I noticed during my recent swim at 7.2C, is that I didn't seem to experience any cold shock. I've certainly had a gasping reflex when entering much warmer water. But, apart from the water feeling rather cold, I didn't notice any gasping etc. while going in. The water was cold, and while drying myself I couldn't "feel my skin" on my legs etc. But, I expected some sort of cold shock, and I don't remembering experiencing one.
This is what happens to me now, even water is down to < 5 degrees c. The water feels icy when I get in but I no longer have that feeling that I can't breath. I don't remember how long it took for this training effect to happen, maybe one or two winters, maybe fewer? This is the fourth winter I have swum through.
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Old 06-01-2012, 08:11 AM   #7
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I wasn't gasping on my New Year swim but it did take me about 3 or 4 minutes to keep my face in and get into any breathing pattern. I had to dip it on and off for a few minutes, swimming out of the harbour before I could fully immerse and leave it there. I'm experiencing less hand pain now than I was in March last year. Much more bearable.
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Old 07-01-2012, 05:04 PM   #8
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6C in Hatchmere today, and my cold response is as it should be. Only a short dip as I'm still recovering from illness - it's still early days.

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