Getting cramps by swimming after eating: is there anything to this?

When I was a kid, my parents used to forbid us strictly from swimming within an hour after eating (sometimes they would reduce that to half an hour if it was a snack rather than a full meal). The theory behind this was that our blood was all being used to digest our food, so if we tried to swim, we would come down with severe and incapacitating abdominal cramps and drown. (OK, I’m exaggerating, but not by much.)

Is there any actual science behind this, or do I just have a stereotypical Jewish mother?

Not true. Here is a link from Snopes on the subject.

It’s not just your mother. This was (and still is in many quarters) an almost universally held belief that had no scientific backing.

While you may not drown after eatting some people, ie me, do get cramps if they go swimming after eatting. Since I swim for fitness I have to be careful of what I eat and how long it’s been before I hit the pool. I can see if someone eats something that doesn’t agree with them and does not swim well you could panic. It would be the panic that would cause problems and not the eatting.

In my understanding, it’s nothing more than bad luck on the part of a kid to have parents misguided by this old wive’s tale.

Besides, if we were unable to exert ourselves after eating, wouldn’t we already know about it?

Obligatory Master Speaks link.

Hopefully, but about three years ago I was under a lot of stress and developed stomache problems. That totally changed what I can now eat. Up til then I could swim right after eatting, now I either have to eat a good two hours before going, or eat plain bread, or as I have just found out Frosted Mini Wheats. If I don’t do this then I get cramps after about 10-15 minutes that last around 10 minutes.

Now what would happen if I wasn’t a strong swimmer and I went for a swim in a lake and got cramps? Something could go wrong. For 99% of people it probably wouldn’t, and in a pool it wouldn’t matter. As I said though it wouldn’t be because of the food it would be panic that did you in.