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Cold Turkey

The Internet sucks, doesn’t it? There you are, doing your best and still struggling. Everywhere you look online everyone else is telling you how amazing they are. That’s how I feel about it most of the time anyway. Just considering swimming, everyone else says they are swimming farther, longer, faster and better. They are also swimming colder and…

How To: Advice for Christmas or New Year swimming in cold water for irregular or casual open water swimmers

In Brief: PREPARE and OBSERVE If swimming by yourself, make sure you inform someone where and when and preferably have an observer. Your most important pre-swim action to make sure you know where to exit the water safely. Watch the water before you get in. If you have been drinking alcohol the night before, please don’t…

Peripheral Vasoconstriction in fingers demonstrated using Infrared

What Is Peripheral Vasoconstriction?

This physiological response has been mentioned so many times that I decided it needed its own specific post to plug into the Cold Water Swimming articles section. What is peripheral vasoconstriction? Following immersion in cold water, blood flow is reduced in human limbs and skin. Why does peripheral vasoconstriction happen? Peripheral vasoconstriction occurs to allow the…

After I abandoned my first Ice Mile attempt

Ten More Common Myths of Cold Water Swimming

Following the previous Ten Common Myths of Cold Water Swimming. There are quite a few myths, most probably better described as misunderstandings, about cold water and cold water swimming. A few are even true. 11. Fresh water feels colder than sea water at the same temperature. This myth is usually confirmed by most experienced cold water swimmers.…

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Ten Common Myths of Cold Water Swimming

You know how one can reliably tell that summer is certainly over? I start writing about cold water.   Let’s kick the winter swimming season off, shall we? Okay, I know the water is still warm, but it’s often this time of the year that people stop or get close to stopping open water swimming…

Ice Mile Dilemmas – IX – Safety Is Everything

The Average Person? As a responsible extreme cold water swimming promoting organisation, it’s frustrating that the IISA doesn’t seem to appreciate its responsibility in promoting safety and reducing risk. The three-article critique on the IISA rules comprehensively illustrate many of the inherent problems, omissions and contradictions. The concerns of my correspondents and myself with Ice…

Ice Mile Dilemmas – VIII – The Dangers

I’ve said previously that open water swimming is dangerous. Ice Mile swimming is even more dangerous. I don’t think the IISA website, which is how most people are going to interact with and learn about the IISA or Ice Mile swimming, is anywhere near as comprehensive as it needs to be on its message about…

Ice Mile Dilemmas – VI – Safety and Experience

As you will recall from the previous article the IISA says one of its primary objectives is: Promoting Safety in Extreme Swimming Events. Let’s consider that. One overseas organiser of a reputable Ice Mile swim said: “We should be going above and beyond the IISA rule to make sure someone does not die from inexperience…

InternationalIceSwimmingAssociation_logo

Ice Mile Dilemmas – IV – Local Context

An Ice Mile is a one mile (1610 metres) swim at or under 5.0º Celsius with standard swim costume, cap and goggles. Records to early March 2014 indicate 116 recognised Ice Mile swims, with only about 80 Ice Mile swimmers worldwide. In the context of these small numbers this continuation of the earlier series can be interpreted,…

Ice Mile Dilemmas – III – Black Rain

Part 1 Part 2 Ten minutes after briefing and the swimmers were lined up on Lough Dan’s so-called beach for the group photo seen in the previous part. Sometimes writing about the minutiae of swimming is really boring. Sometimes such reportage can mask some other truth. Sometimes I think that the more I try to…

Ice Mile Dilemmas – I – The Trap

Sometime back in winter of 2010, Sandycove Island Channel swimmer and local legend Finbarr Hedderman and I discussed attempting an Ice Mile.  At the time the International Ice Swimming Association was very new and less than a dozen people had joined its ranks, and half of those were the founders. For those unaware of the…

Cold Water Acclimatization

This post was a companion to HABITUATION, both of which I wrote in early 2010. Since I revisited and largely rewrote that as Cold Water Habituation, my plan was to do the same in this post also. Acclimatization (acclimatisation for those of us who forego the use of the z)  is a different factor to habituation. While…

Cold Water Habituation

HABITUATION was one of my very first posts, and the first post I wrote about cold and cold water swimming, over four years ago, little realising it would become my favourite subject. Although it is linked in the Cold Water Articles Index, I decided to air it out and rewrite it. (And change those capitals).…

The Worst Three Minutes

Over a year ago I wrote a popular post called The First Three Minutes, which investigated just the first few minutes of a cold water swim. (A real cold water swim, not your balmy 10 degree Celsius getting a tan (50F) water for softies). We know, us cold water swimmers, that passers-by focus on the water…

The Reverie of Cold

Look away, look away. My head whirls, sentences and clauses. Words and incantations. I need to hold the intent, remember the state. I need to write. I have swum, and now more than anything, I need to write. More than I need people or food, more even than I need heat, I need to vomit out…

Cold Water Swimming Articles Index

This post is an index with a very brief explanation of each of the specifically cold swimming related articles I’ve written, so one can scan the entire list for what is most relevant for their question or area of specific interest. I was a bit surprised to see just how many I’ve written. Articles sometimes…

The Magic Number

Cold water swimmers have a finely tuned thermo-receptive sense, an ability to judge water temperature reasonably accurately, just from how it feels on our skin. It’s something that develops with time, experience and swimming. As an experienced pool manager my friend Clare told me that regular bathers will notice a temperature difference in warm water…

The relevance of shivering in open water swimming

– Apologies to those email subscribers who saw this earlier in the week and are seeing it now again. For this post, let’s take all the usual pre-swim and first three minutes stuff for granted. You’re in the water. The water is cold. And you are cold. We start there. The water is about 10°…

Guest article – Ciarán Byrne – Lough Iochtar Ice Mile

As long-time readers will know, Rob The Bull Bohane, Ciarán Byrne and Finbarr Hedderman are all Sandycove Island Swim Club members, English Channel Soloists and very good friends. Ciarán and Rob are two members of our 2010 Magnificent Seven Channel training squad. All three are very experienced open and cold water swimmers, and are three…

Lough Dan Ice Mile Swim Attempt

Late last week the opportunity to make another Official Ice Mile attempt was offered by Dublin and English Channel swimmers Fergal Somerville and John Daly, this time the attempt to be made in Lough Dan, up in the Wicklow Mountains. Since the previous attempt I had already turned down another opportunity the previous week in…