Folk Belief – American

“You have to wait 30 minutes to go swimming or else you will get a stomach ache”

My informant first heard this phrase when at the age of seven (circa 1962) she would be swimming in her hometown of Tucson, Arizona.  The weather was extremely warm during the summer, so my informant would go swimming a few times a week in the family pool.  Sometimes my informant would hope to go swimming after lunch, but her mother would not allow it, because she thought that my informant would get a stomach ache if she did not wait until 30 minutes after eating.

This phrase is heard all over the place, because in almost every city temperatures reach a high that is warm enough to go swimming.  All children love jumping in the pool to cool off, whether it is at a summer camp or at one’s own pool.  Since my informant grew up in a town that was so hot, it was extremely common to go swimming during the summer.  Therefore, this phrase makes a lot of sense in context, because usually physical activity causes a stomachache.

The reason why this is so important in Sheryl’s world today is because she has carried it on over the generations.  She heard it from her mother, and after hearing it from her mother, she has now carried this phrase onto my brother and I.  The reason why myths continue is because they are passed on over the generations, and for this reason it is common to hear this phrase all over the United States.

When asked her reaction to the myth, my informant started off by laughing, which made the situation that much more enjoyable.  After laughing for a few seconds, Sheryl stated that she thinks that “even if you think it’s fake that since I say it so often to you guys, your myth becomes a reality.”

My view of this myth is that it is completely false.  I have gone swimming after eating a meal a few minutes prior to jumping in the pool, and I never got a stomach ache.  But, my mother is right when she says that it is said so much that everyone believes it.  I give credit to whomever started this myth because it is one that will continue to be carried on for future generations.