50 swimmers gear up for frosty plunge


There are high spirits amid low temperatures in Alexandra today as hardy swimmers begin the New Zealand Ice Swimming Pool Championships.

Event director Susan Sherwen said about half of this year’s 50 swimmers were taking part for the first time.

While there were some "very nervous ones", the nerves showed swimmers were aware of the risks.

Hardy ice swimmers (from left) Susan Sherwen, Bex Bowden, Claire Hobson and Laeti Berten, all of...
Hardy ice swimmers (from left) Susan Sherwen, Bex Bowden, Claire Hobson and Laeti Berten, all of Auckland, were not fazed by the cold in Alexandra yesterday. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
The water must be at or below 5°C and competitors must swim unassisted, wearing just a silicon cap, pair of goggles and standard togs.

It was only the third time the competition had been held and the second at Alexandra’s outdoor pool.

Competitors came from across the country and ages varied from those in their teens to swimmers nearing 70, Ms Sherwen said.

Ice swimming was the next step for swimmers who were looking for an extra challenge.

The extreme nature of the sport fostered a sense of camaraderie among the swimmers.

"Because we’re such a close-knit group and we have so much fun, we spread that fun around.

"We encourage everybody else to come too."

Pool aquatics manager Carly Getson said it was great to see the ice swimming championships return to Alexandra.

"It’s truly inspiring to see the bravery of the swimmers who participate."

She was especially excited to see local swimmers taking part.

"Despite the water temperature dipping to a frosty 3°C, we’ve had swimmers training in the outdoor pool for the past month."

The championships run until Saturday.

ruby.shaw@odt.co.nz

 

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