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Extreme feeling in ice swimming

Ice Swimming- The Extreme Sport on The Planet

Ice Swimming an Overview

‘It feels like someone is pulling out your fingernails with pliers’- By Jenny McCoy


This one is a long article, but trust me, you won’t regret this. Ice swimming is the most extreme adventure sport on the planet. It’s more than dipping a toe into your local outdoor pool. These events or competitions take place in water colder than 41 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius) you won’t see anyone in a wetsuit. After reading the full content, you will learn each and everything about Ice Swimming,


Table of Contents:

What is ice swimming

How it works

Temperature for ice swimming

Maintaining the hole of ice

Ice swimming competitions like Winter nationals swimming, the International Ice Swimming Association, The International Winter Swimming Association, etc.

Health benefits of ice swimming

Disadvantages of ice swimming


Do you see it? Each and everything. So, let’s start.


What is an ice swimming?

Ice swimming is an extreme type of sports where athletes swim sub-freezing water, almost in ice. When you swim, you will feel okay because you are so frozen you don’t even feel it or notice it.

Ice swimming is the most extreme adventure sport on the planet. It’s more than dipping a toe into your local outdoor pool. These events or competitions take place in water colder than 41 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius) you won’t see anyone in a wetsuit.

How does it work?

The rules are simple, according to the International Ice Swimming Association, they introduced the Ice Mile as its final goal of swimming in icy waters. An Ice Mile is One Mile in the water of 5C or less. The swim must be unassisted and with one pair of goggles, cap, and standard swimming costume.

The ultimate personal challenge is the Ice Mile that should be followed with all the safety and controls in place. As on the IISA definition, the rules of ice swimming are specific and straightforward. For some safety reasons,

there are just two official race distances-1 kilometer and 1 mile. Barkai said that this is to make sure swimmers’ ambition doesn’t outpace what can be done with relatively manageable risk. “sometimes, some people would probably try to swim longer distances, and that is unsafe actually,” he says. The kilometer race is about speed (there’s a 25-minute cut-off),

and the Mile is more about the adventure aspect of ice swimming, like traveling around the world to swim in “amazing places,” he says. Ice swimming became an organized sport in 2009. This is an extreme sports type where you need muscular mental strength as well as physical strength.

One popular way that the hole is maintained at regular ice swimming places is with a pump that forces the water to circulate under the hole, preventing ice forming. Ice-holes in ice swimming places can also be kept open by keeping a top over the hole to avoid ice forming.

Another way is by using a specific heated carpet in the hole of the ice swimming place. Ice swimming is famous in al over the world, though it is still growing sport, Country like Finland, organized their ice swimming events very specially. Northern Europe, Australia, Russia, China, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, they also celebrate this kind of winter swimming sport.



International Winter Swimming Association and International Winter Swimming Association, organized ice swimming competitions take place around the world. Both organizations have similar competition, and rules are nearly the same, including water temperatures and distance, bathing suits. There is another exciting competition called ‘Winter Nationals Swimming.’


Advantages of Ice Swimming

There are some significant advantages of Ice Swimming-

The adrenaline rush, early studies suggest that cold-water swimming could be a treatment for depression, as it activates the sympathetic nervous process and increases blood levels of noradrenaline and beta-endorphin, which play an essential role in the functioning of the heart, lung and every organ in our body.

Winter swimmers face less stress and fatigue, as well as strong memory, better mood, and energetic day. There is some good news that winter swimmers do not contract diseases as often as the general population. The probability of infectious diseases affecting the respiratory tract is 40% lower among ice or winter swimmers when compared to a control group.


Ice Swimming could be dangerous for those people who are not used to this kind of cold water. Swimming into icy water is an immediate shock to the full body. But the process of rewarming is equally happened, if not more, agonizing.

The cold water makes your skin very sensitive. Swimmers’ support crew has special instructions to handle him correctly when he/she emerges from the water. Ice Swimmers sometimes face burning pain in their hands and feet as they rewarm.

Hypothermia poses a smaller risk. It takes more than approximately 30 minutes even in 0 °C (32 °F) water until the body temperature drops low enough for hypothermia to occur. Most people would probably be able to survive for almost an hour easily or somehow. There is no consensus on these figures, however. As mention before that different estimates, a person can sustain for 45 minutes in 0.3 °C (32.5 °F) water, but exhaustion or unconsciousness is expected to occur within 15 minutes. Consuming alcohol before winter swimming should be avoided because it could be a reason for speeds the onset and progression of hypothermia.

Swimming in cold water is not a problem for a healthy person, but who has problems related to heart diseases, lung problems with respiratory diseases.

Another common risk is laryngospasm or sudden spasming of the vocal cords, which make it very difficult, if not impossible, to breathe.

This can happen when your body is subjected to an unexpected, sudden drop in temperature (like suddenly going from comfortable room temperature to jumping into 40-degree water, for example), and generally occurs within five minutes of the initial shock.

Safety is taken seriously in this sport because of those risks. For safety reasons,

a medical doctor presents on-site who records the swimmer’s medical history before the competition, and is it ok then he approves them to swim. According to IISA rules, all swimmers must also have their heart rate, blood pressure, and resting EKG has taken 30 minutes before swimming, there’s also another exam post-swim.



Ice Swimming is not only a sport, but it’s also a kind of challenge.

People want to prove their mental strength than muscle power. International Ice Swimming Association already has branches in 40 countries al around the world. So, as you can see, it is growing and becoming famous day by day.

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  1. Some really superb articles on this website, thanks for contribution. Helaina Tobit Auburn

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