Open Water & Pool Coaching Videos



So you’ve got in (slowly) and managed the cold water shock….

You’ve exited the water (safely) and now just need to pop your clothes on and enjoy that post swim hot drink and cake….

Wait for it, there it is…Afterdrop!  That bump in the road that interupts the post swim euphoria.  You suddenly feel chilled to the bone.


What is Afterdrop:

Afterdrop is the phenonomen of your body temperature continuing to cool even after you get out of cold water into a warmer environment.  It is not to be ignored! And it is vital that those delving into the world of cold water immersion educate themselves on the effects.

Initially post swim you may feel fine, but your body will continue to cool and you may experience signs and symptoms of hypothermia which occurs when the body temperature reduces to 35 degrees.  It is vital to get out before you feel cold. If you are cold in the water, remember you will feel even colder when you get out.

The afterdrop effect commonly starts 10-40minutes after exiting the cold water (I find the chill hits a little later than that so be prepared for being a late starter).  Your core temperature can drop by a whopping 4.5 degrees. Leading research expert Mike Tipton has found that the cooling effect is actually caused by ‘conductive cooling’ and not bloodflow.

The impact of afterdrop is evident in that your reactions can be slowed, you may slur your speech and you may appear to have had one too many! We don’t always recognise these symptoms in ourselves so we always like to encourage people to swim as a group and lookout for each other and tell them to get out if there are concerns for someone’s reaction in cold water.

How to manage afterdrop:

Rewarming slowly is very important – remember you need to rewarm your core not your skin.  If you rewarm too quickly it can result in collapse as your blood pressure is not able to respond.

·    Learn to know your own body and establish your own safe post swim routine which could include some of the following suggestions.

·         Seek shelter if you can

·         Get wet costume etc off and dry off quickly

·         Put that lovely warm bobble hat on

·         Stand on something

·         Some swimmers like to use a luke warm water rinse

·         Have your clothes ready and in order if you can to put on swiftly

·         You may find it helps to have wrapped your clothes around a hot water bottle

·         Put on warm layers

·         Don’t forget socks and gloves

·       Have a warm drink ready to hand (I usually pour mine into a travel mug from my flask so I have it all ready and don’t have to manage if I am shivering)

·       Cake  yes it helps (other food may be just as helpful - but not if hypothermic)

·      If you are steady on your feet a little exercise may help – do not do if you feel dizzy or unsteady



Jump straight into a hot bath or shower

Do not blast the hot air in the car on the way home

Do not use reflective foil blankets – they do not work for swimmers as there is no heat to keep in!


One Last point:

Remember to swim your own swim:

·        Don’t get caught up in staying in as long as others

·        or not wearing a wetsuit

·        or not putting on that eye catching neoprene skull cap

·         Etc…..

Own your swim, be responsible and enjoy!

Copyright: Solent Swim School 2023