Top Tips for Dealing with the After Drop when Cold Water Swimming

What is the After Drop?

After swimming in cold water, your body temperature will continue to drop for anything up to 20 minutes which is known as the After-drop. 

Remember, everybody will react differently, every body has different tolerances and only stay in as long as you are comfortable. Never “push” yourself.  

 When are you Susceptible to the After Drop?

Even in the height of summer, water temperatures around the UK can be fairly chilly and can lead to you experiencing both Cold Water Shock (read that blog here) and the After Drop. 

A serious after drop is something I have experienced first hand and I can tell you it’s really not pleasant. I had gone for a swim in the glorious Jubilee Pool in Penzance and got lost in marvelling at it’s Art Deco ******.  

After getting out, the temptation of making it a double dip on the other side of the wall at the famous Battery Rocks was too much.  I felt fine whilst in the water. Then as my mum and I sat down for a post dip cuppa (and a piece of scrummy cake) at the Jubilee Pool Café, I really started to shiver violently.  It took me over an hour to properly warm up. 

 

Best Ways to Warm up after Cold Water Swimming

If there is anything I can do to help others avoid at best very uncomfortable, at worst a potentially dangerous situation, then I will do it.  So here are my top tips to minimise the After Drop: 

 

  1. Leave your ego on the shore: Never stay in longer than you are comfortable with.  Work up gradually to how long you stay in cold water. 
  2. Lay out your clothes in the order you will want to put them on after you get out of the water.  When very cold or hypothermic confusion is one of the key signs.  Even if not confused, it will help you to start your warming up process.
  3. Layer up!   Use multiple layers so that as you get warmer  you can easily control how warm you are.  Always bring one more than you think just in case. 
  4. Don't jump straight into a hot shower or crank up the car heater:  this will only serve to draw much needed warm blood from you core to the surface of your skin, thus slowing the warming up process. 
  5. Do sip on a hot drink.   This will help warm up you core slowly, plus is an excuse to have some cake on the side! 
  6. Do some cardio.  A bit of post swim cardio is a great way to warm up, have a run about, or do some litter picking.  


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