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cold water & ice swimming (IISA)

Dipping my toe into cold-water swimming

It's not for the faint-hearted (no, medically it isn't), but cold-water swimming can boost circulation, immunity and the libido. So: here begins my bid to make next year's world championships

I'm standing at the edge of the men's swimming pond at Hampstead Heath. And I can completely understand why I'm virtually alone. Just as you wouldn't find 4'33'' by John Cage on the karaoke machine, and in the same way that Marcel Duchamp's Fountain never featured among Athena's range of iconic posters, most people don't see the point of spending a drizzly autumn weekend lowering themselves into ponds.

Sometimes ‘Crazy’ Gets the Job Done

Two years ago when I launched a campaign to protect the Ross Sea in Antarctica, the Daily Telegraph called me crazy.

“Pugh is like a detective that has been given 24 hours before he gets taken off the case,” the paper said. Adding, “His idea is so crazy it might just work.”

The crazy idea was that I would undertake a series of swims in the sub-zero waters of the Ross Sea to highlight their importance, and then try and persuade Russia to back the formation of a Marine Protected Area there – even though they had blocked the proposal at CCAMLR (The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources) on five occasions.

Ice, The New Frontier

Op YouTube een mooie promo gevonden (met dank aan Ram Barkai) over IJszwemmen:

Breaking the ice

A pool in a frozen lake. Zero-degree water. With only Speedos for protection. Welcome to the new extreme sport of ice swimming. For those brave enough to take the plunge, it’s as life-affirming as it is brutal.

Into the Ice

What is an ice mile?

An ice mile is a one-mile swim under International Ice Swimming Association rules in water temperature of 5 degrees Celsius or less wearing just a standard costume, goggles and one swim hat. 

Find out more: internationaliceswimming.com

Take your time

I’m often asked: ‘I want to do an ice mile, how do I train for it?’ The simple answer is that you take your time and train steadily over several seasons of winter swimming in order to prepare your body for one of the toughest swims on the planet. An ice mile is not to be taken lightly – it carries the same risks as other extreme sports and can be very dangerous if you are unprepared.

The Bible of Cold Water Swimming – Index

Cold water swimming is difficult and requires repetition.These articles are intended to help swimmers adapt to cold water swimming.  By exploring the many aspects of cold, environmental, physiological and psychological, I hope to help you understand cold and cold water swimming and therefore become a safer, better and more confident cold water swimmer.

It is really important to note that most of us are not naturally good at tolerating cold. (I certainly am not). Cold should be seen as something you train for, the same as any other aspect of your swimming.

This page is an index of my cold articles with a very brief explanation of the article so you can scan the entire list for what is most relevant.

It is the cumulative total of these articles that has led to other people’s repeated description of Loneswimmer.com as “the bible of cold water swimming“.

Tips By Christof Wandratsch On Ice Swimming

Wandratsch talks with long-time professional marathon swimming colleague Shelley Taylor-Smith about the emerging niche in the open water swimming community, The Ice.

Ice swimmer Lewis Pugh: If we want to save Antarctica, we must build bridges

Have you ever watched a bridge being built? It is fascinating.

I lived on the Thames while the Millennium Bridge was under construction. The engineers didn’t start from one bank and progress towards the other. They started on both sides – and met in the middle.

First they built stable platforms on the edge of each bank. Then they erected two strong concrete piers in the middle of the river. And when they were ready, they lowered the bridge, in three parts, to meet in the middle. Finally, they reinforced it with strong supporting cables, so when it was complete, the structure was firm and united.

Diplomacy is a lot like building bridges.

Ice swimmers defy death for the thrill

As he swam against the current in Antarctica’s Southern Ocean among leopard seals and icebergs, Ryan Stramrood’s body went numb.

He looked down, pulling his arms one stroke at a time through the -1 C water, and he thought about how clear the ocean was that day.

“You don’t want to see very far down. It can be quite eerie,” he said.

Ice-swimming in Sweden: how to really chill out by the pool

Winter swimming regular Sally Goble doesn’t fear the cold, though a trip to Skellefteå in northern Sweden for the World Cup – air temp -3C, water temp 0.3C – tests her nerve. Still, she gets to wear a woolly hat.

Most winter tourists to Sweden choose to wrap up warm and take a sled or snowmobile ride – or watch the northern lights somewhere remote but close to a roaring fire. Or spend a night in the Ice Hotel. Not me. As I’m a regular winter swimmer in the UK, the obvious, if daunting, choice was to get into my swimming costume and plunge into icy water, courtesy of the International Winter Swimming Association’s World Cup, which holds one of its five stages in Skellefteå, a small town in north Sweden.