Why does the water in the pool feel so cold at first, but after a while, it’s room temperature or even warm?


I’ve been a competitive swimmer for almost 4 years and I still don’t know why this happens.

In: Other

Water conducts much better than air so when you go in your skin will cool quickly, so it feels cold. But after that your skin will be settle in an equilibrium with the water and the heat in your body, at a lower temperature than in air (depends on water temperature of course) so you don’t feel cold.

Your body generally doesn’t sense absolute temperature (e.g. the water is 75F), but differences in temperature (e.g. your skin is 90F and the water is 75F, so there’s a difference of 15F). As your body remains in the water, your skin temperature drops closer to the temperature of the water, decreasing that difference and the sensation of coldness.

On the initial cold-shock the capillary blood vessels contract and reduce the blood flow from your extremities to your body core so that less of the blood that has been cooled by skin contact with the cold water gets to your vital organs.

We don’t have the ability to sense temperature, what we can sense is the rate of heat transfer too or from our skin. Cold is heat transferring from our skin, hot is heat transferring into our skin. When you first jump into a pool of water heat is leaving your sin quickly so it feels quite cold. Once you have been in for a bit the temperature of your skin evens out to the temperature of the water as well as a few physiological changes that slow the rate of heat your body looses to the water so it doesn’t feel as cold.

Just once, when I was on an island off Cozumel went into the sea and it was actually hot as opposed to feeling cold. Was amazing.

Your body doesn’t “cool down to the temperature of the water” as people here are saying. If your body dropped 3 degrees, you’d be hypothermic. Not to mention 20-30° to the water temperature, you’d be a corpse.