The Bible of Cold Water Swimming – Index

Cold water swimming is difficult and requires repetition.These articles are intended to help swimmers adapt to cold water swimming.  By exploring the many aspects of cold, environmental, physiological and psychological, I hope to help you understand cold and cold water swimming and therefore become a safer, better and more confident cold water swimmer.

It is really important to note that most of us are not naturally good at tolerating cold. (I certainly am not). Cold should be seen as something you train for, the same as any other aspect of your swimming.

This page is an index of my cold articles with a very brief explanation of the article so you can scan the entire list for what is most relevant.

It is the cumulative total of these articles that has led to other people’s repeated description of as “the bible of cold water swimming“.


Introducing a precise open water swimming temperature scale. This post is so we are all on the same page about what cold is and isn’t.

WHY would anyone swim in cold water? Trying to answer one of the LEAST asked question about cold water swimming.

What Is Cold Water Swimming? Part 1 – What Governs Ocean Temperature?

What Is Cold Water Swimming? Part 2 – The Open Water Swimmer’s Rule of Thumb – When Is The Water Too Cold?

The Reverie of Cold. The most personal article I’ve written on cold water swimming.

Cold Water Habituation. The process of getting used to getting into cold water. The original article was written in 2010 and was the first cold water article I ever wrote. It has been largely rewritten and updated.

Cold Water Acclimatization. The process of developing tolerance for staying in cold water. The original article was written in 2010 and was the second cold water article I ever wrote. It has been extensively rewritten.

What is Peripheral Vaso-Constriction? Explaining another of the fundamental physiological human response to cold water.

Cold Shock Response and the Mammalian Diving Reflex in Cold Water Swimming – Positive & Negative Feedback Systems. Looking for a synthesis of physiological responses to cold water.

“I just can’t handle the cold”. Part 1, Part 2 (What is the Vagus nerve and why is it important?), Part 3 (Fear). This is a phrase I hear a lot. Why this belief is irrelevant and why most of us are not special when it comes to cold.

Ten Common Myths of Cold Water Swimming.

Ten More Common Myths of Cold Water Swimming.

One of my hypothermia experiences. It happens to us all. That’s part of the deal.

How To: Prepare for cold water swim. Practical precautions around cold water swimming.

Prepare, Monitor, Recover. A short article on part of experienced cold water swimmers’ ethos.

Men, women and cold. Understanding gender differences in cold water exposure.

Brown Fat vs. white fat. Interesting and very relevant recent scientific findings that have direct relevance to cold water swimmers.

Brown Fat. A revised version of the previous post.

“What temperature of water is too cold to swim in. The most common search term into this site.

What temperature of water is too cold to swim in” Redux. An updated version of the above post with a fuller list of factors affecting the answer.

The cumulative effects of cold water swimming. How it feels to swim in really cold water for long periods for many consecutive days.

Six hour swim in sub-eleven degree water. The second toughest swim I’ve ever done.

Christmas and New Year’s Day swim advice. Comprehensive advise for irregular swimmers in cold water. Applies to any irregular swims and swimmers.

Extreme Cold Water Adaptation in Humans. A five-part series trying to tease out all the various factors  of cold adaptation. Part 1 Asking the questions about individual variability, Part 2 (habituation and acclimatization), Part 3  (metabolic responses), Part 4 (further physiological responses), Part 5 (conclusion).

How we FEEL cold water. Concerning the body’s thermo-receptive response to cold water.

Always wear a belt. Lessoned learned and sometimes forgotten about cold.

Peripheral vaso-constriction. The bodies primary physiological response to cold, in picture.

Wearing a watch. The primary safety device on cold water.

The important of stroke and the deficiencies of Total Immersion type swimming in cold water. Following the wrong advice for cold water is dangerous. Stroke rate is very important.

“Is the water too cold to swim”? Another different take on this popular question.

Winter. I like it. I hate it. The dichotomy of a cold water swimmer’s thoughts.

Introducing a Precise Open Water Temperature Scale. This site’s most popular article.

Come with me on this cold water swim. As close as I can take you to my experiences of swimming in cold water during the Irish winter.

Cold water swimming and the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Another experiential post of cold water swimming, with some musing.

Understanding the Claw. What is the Claw and why do cold water swimmers get it?

“Where did my Claw go?  Further discussion on the Claw amongst experienced swimmers, the Claw being a common occurrence for cold water swimmers.

How To – Understanding Mild Hypothermia in swimmers. To address hypothermia, it is best to understand it. Mild hypothermia is more common than not amongst cold water swimmers.

How To – Understanding Moderate and Severe Hypothermia in swimmers. There’s nothing moderate about Moderate hypothermia.

How To – Diagnosing and addressing Moderate Hypothermia in swimmers. Understanding cold for support crew.

Cold water and cold immersion shock, the first three minutes. It’s really important to understand what happens to the body in the vital first few minutes of swimming in cold water.

Speaking as a Coldologist. Analysing (and debunking) a claim to cold adaptation through meditation.

Cold water swimming and alcohol. They don’t mix and are a dangerous combination. This is important.

Loneswimmer returns from the sea, with the commandments of cold water swimming

Loneswimmer returns from the sea, with the commandments of cold water swimming

The Ten Commandments of Cold Water Swimming. I am the prophet of cold! 🙂

Ice Miles: My First Attempt, Part One (The swim). My First Attempt, Part Two (Post swim and analysis). My Second Attempt. Ciarán Byrne’s report of the successful Lough Iochtar Ice Mile.

What is Cold Water Diuresis in swimmers? Another physiological response to cold explained.

The relevance of shivering in cold water swimming. Yet another important to understand physiological response to cold.

The Magic Number. A consideration of transitional temperatures in cold water swimming.

Ice Mile Dilemmas. One year, another ice Mile attempt and what seemed an inevitable destination for a cold water swimmer and writer. It become my longest ever series because of the seriousness of the pursuit.

Part 1 – The Trap – Why I felt I had to complete or at least attempt an Ice Mile.

Part II – Surprisingly Cold. My first unsuccessful attempt in 2013.

Part III – Black Rain. An honest recounting  of my successful Ice Mile swim in 2014.

Ice Mile Dilemmas IV – Local Context. Looking at local problems with Ice Mile swimming in Ireland that demonstrate the IISA’s lack of commitment to safety and rules.

Ice Mile Dilemmas V – Rule 1 – Something Terrible Is Going To Happen. First of a three-part critique of the IISA rules and guidelines, following a discussion with many Ice Mile and cold water swimmers around the world.

Ice Mile Dilemmas VI – Rules 2 – Safety and Experience. Continuing the rules and guidelines discussion, asking why the IISA doesn’t experience guidelines.

Ice Mile Dilemmas VII – Rules 3 – Failure To Apply Best Practice. The third part of the rules discussion, pointing to the IISA’s failure to apply Best Practice.

Ice Mile Dilemmas VIII – The Dangers. Outlining the very real dangers of extreme cold water swimming.

Ice Mile Dilemmas IX – Safety is Everything. The last article lists a number of urgent recommendations the IISA must implement to put safety at its core.

23 thoughts on “The Bible of Cold Water Swimming – Index

  1. Pingback: An introduction to ice swimming with Cath Pendleton – Source Insurance

  2. Pingback: Bass. How low can you go – Getootside

  3. Thanks for advice.
    Question: how long can one stay in water in February in Ireland?
    Swimming year round about 20 mins in water ?


    • I wouldn’t give an absolute number. It’s the coldest time of the winter in the water until late March so from a little as a minute, through ten or fifteen minutes, up to 20 of twenty five for a very small number of people.


  4. Pingback: Myth Busting Does Cold Water Swimming make you thin? – This Mama Swims

  5. Pingback: Your Guide to Getting in the Cold Water- Swim Guide

  6. Great site. I’m interested in water temperature and I’m currently swimming with an alcohol thermometer tied round my waist. Can anyone recommend a wrist thermometer, or a watch incorporating a thermometer? Thanks


    • Thanks Paul. I haven’t used wrist thermometers on swimming watches. From the experience of friends they are usually off by one to two degrees, but maybe they have improved. Possibly others will have a suggestion, but I’d ask what benefit any such provide , except to make you concentrate too much on the actual temperature and not enough on how you are feeling.


  7. Pingback: We Met as Strangers in a Car Park… | A LOTUS RISES

  8. Hi, great blog, thank you.
    Wondering if you would want to write an article specificly about the afterdrop. This is my first season, started in July, I swim in Vltava river in Prague Czech republic, water is 10 Celsius now, I ussually stay for 20-25 mins, get dressed quickly. I get quite a severe afterdrop after 5 mins out of the water and takes me more than an hour to get warm again. I don’t really mind that as long as it is not an indication I am doing something wrong. Thanks for your thoughts!


  9. Pingback: Learning the hard way the importance of a pre swim warm up… – Site Title

  10. Pingback: “Suits you, sir” – unironedman

  11. Pingback: The Sermon From The Water | LoneSwimmer

  12. Hi An idea for ice mile / swim article, but this time re overseas, e.g. Polar regions swims. We all know that airmiles are contributing to the reductions of the ice at the Poles, yet people are flying (at least in part) there to take part in ice mile / km swims. A registered ice swim can now be done in many parts of the world, without requiring thousands of air miles. Is there any way these crazy trips can be banned / un-popularised / de-glamourised – call it what you will – food for thought for an article perhaps…


  13. Pingback: Winter Swimming – What Makes a Man

  14. Pingback: After-drop is real | Myrtleville Swimmers

  15. Pingback: Thumos and the art of inspiration | Riding The Currents

  16. Pingback: Frog Mom

  17. Pingback: WINTER SWIM: Vobster Quay Diving Centre | iswimlikeagirl

  18. Pingback: Swimming in Cold Water | Myrtleville Swimmers

  19. Pingback: Ice Mile Dilemmas – IX – Safety Is Everything | LoneSwimmer

  20. Pingback: Ice Mile Dilemmas – V – Something Terrible Is Going To Happen | LoneSwimmer

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.