The Wikipedia article about Running states:
A cold bath is a popular treatment of subacute injuries or inflammation, muscular strains, and overall muscular soreness, but its efficacy is controversial. Some claim that for runners in particular, ice baths offer two distinct improvements over traditional techniques.
First, immersion allows controlled, even constriction around all muscles, effectively closing microscopic damage that cannot be felt and numbing the pain that can. One may step into the tub to relieve sore calves, quads, hams, and connective tissues from hips to toes will gain the same benefits, making hydrotherapy an attractive preventive regimen.
The second advantage involves a physiological reaction provoked by the large amount of muscle submerged. Assuming one has overcome the mind's initial flight response in those first torturous minutes, the body fights back by invoking a "blood rush". This rapid transmission circulation flushes the damage-inflicting waste from the system, while the cold water on the outside preserves contraction.
Reference:  is a decent About.com review
However, a study by Sellwood et al "Ice-water immersion and delayed-onset muscle soreness: a randomised controlled trial" found no significant changes in pain parameters, tenderness, isometric strength, swelling, hop-for-distance or serum creatine kinase (CK) over time.
But Vaile et al found in their study "Effect of hydrotherapy on recovery from fatigue" that:
Sprint (0.1 - 2.2 %) and a total of 9-min sustained effort (time trial - TT) (0.0 - 1.7 %) performance were enhanced across the five-day trial following cold water immersion (CWI) and contrast water therapy (CWT), when compared to hot water immersion (HWI) and passive recovery (PAS).
I would therefore hypothesize that the effect of a cold water bath may depend on the type of workout and the intensity thereof. Given that you're a sprinter, perhaps it can be beneficial when you've done a high intensity workout where you are more likely to have microscopic damage than during an endurance training. But then again, that's just my hypothesis.