Ice Swimming

"In March I travelled to Murmansk in the Russian Arctic for the first ever Ice Swimming World Championship. Competitors from all over world raced in a 1km swim in a pool cut into a frozen lake. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. They wear nothing but a pair of speedos and some goggles and push their bodies to the absolute limit of human endurance. The water temperature is below freezing, you could actually see the ice forming on the water in between races. After the swim, the swimmers bodies have been pushed to the extreme and they can barely get out of the pool. They have to be dragged into a heated tent to slowly start defrosting. Towels start freezing onto their bodies. I think you have to be a bit mad to take part in something like this, and I wasn’t let down. They were a real mix of characters from the serious racers, to the ones who were just doing it to see if they could."