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Warm Temperatures, Cold Waters Causing Danger For Utah Swimmers


A 23-year-old man drowned after jumping off a rope swing into a cold pond in Farmington Tuesday night. Police say the man’s body cramped up while swimming the 30 feet back to shore.


Russell Malone, training supervisor for the EMS and EMT programs at Salt Lake Community College, said when jumping into bodies of water, people should be aware that the human body can cramp up and begin to have spasms, which can lead to drowning.


“Cold water is one of those things, that, especially this time of year, the body... if they fully go underneath the water, they have a diving reflex that slows down their heart rate and their breathing," he said.


Malone said even on a hot summer day in Northern Utah, when the air temperature and water surface are hot, the water below the surface can still be too cold for the human body.


According to the National Center for Cold Water Safety, people should use caution in water temperatures less than 70 degrees as breathing begins to becomes more difficult.


As Utahns are participating in water recreation this summer, Malone shares a few safety tips:


“Plan ahead. Eat well, be in good health, because if you’re weak, you’re tired, you’re fatigued, your body doesn't react as well and it can’t handle the cold. And make sure if you’re in a swimming pool, you’re probably OK, but if you’re in a lake or something, you’re riding in a boat, life preservers make a big difference. Never swim alone. Always have a friend.”