Public Defence: Jørgen Melau

Master Jørgen Melau at Institute of Clinical Medicine will be defending the thesis “Physiological changes following swimming in cold water in triathlon and military operations: Temperaturephysiology and cold water swimming with wetsuit or drysuit” for the degree of PhD (Philosophiae Doctor).

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Photo: Kai-Otto Melau.

An electronic copy of the thesis may be ordered from the faculty up to 2 days prior to the public defence. Inquiries regarding the thesis after the public defence must be addressed to the candidate.

Trial Lecture – time and place

See Trial Lecture.

Adjudication committee

  • First opponent: Senior Researcher Hilde Færevik, SINTEF (Stiftelsen for industriell og teknisk forskning)
  • Second opponent: Researcher Ida Siobhan Svendsen, Olympiatoppen
  • Third member and chair of the evaluation committee: Professor Kåre-Olav Stensløkken, University of Oslo

Chair of the Defence

Professor II Tore Julsrud Berg, University of Oslo

Principal Supervisor

Professor II Jonny Hisdal, University of Oslo 


Cold water activities have evolved increasingly popular. However, how this affects the body is relatively heterogeneous among individuals. For some, cold water swimming can be harmful.

In his dissertation "Physiological changes following swimming in cold water in triathlon and military operations", Jørgen Melau and colleagues have studied how swimming in cold water influences the human core temperature.

Melau and his colleagues examined triathletes and naval special forces candidates who swallowed special temperature pills. Consequently, the body temperature could be monitored continuously before, during and after swimming in cold water.

They have studied participants in the Norseman Xtreme Triathlon, known as one of the world's toughest races, and Naval Special Forces("Marinejeger") recruits who swam 10,000 meters in the open sea.

Melau and his colleagues found that the change in core temperature during swimming is highly individual. Dangerously low core temperatures occur for a few, making these individuals suffer clinical hypothermia.

They also found several adverse effects of swimming in cold water after participants had completed their swim and exited the water. This includes that the body temperature can continue to drop after coming out of the cold water.

Prolonged stays in cold water also affect muscle strength, dexterity and coordination. This could have an impact on a possible survival situation at sea.

The results from this thesis may have implications for sports and military activity,  but also rescue work and drowning prevention in the population.

Additional information

Contact the research support staff.

Published Apr. 28, 2022 11:27 AM - Last modified May 10, 2022 11:22 PM