Wetsuits not needed by these cool customers

Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.

It may be frigid in the 9degC waters of Lake Wanaka, but when it is snowing it is even colder out of the water.

So chilly in fact that your frozen fingers might find it difficult to button up your breeches. So said Irish open water swimmer Paraic Casey (44), right, after a dip yesterday with fellow swimmer and Frenchman Sylvain Estadieu (25).

In Wanaka for several months, the duo, who met in Ireland several years ago, have paired up for regular lake swims, sans wetsuit, at least twice a week. They are getting their bodies used to cold water before attempting long-distance swims in the northern hemisphere. The snow storms since Friday have not deterred them.

Mr Casey, an ecologist, said: "Back home it's warmed up to 13degC, so it's toasty. But I've just put a deposit on to swim the channel next July, so I need to be in cold water." Mr Estadieu, an engineer from Strasbourg, swam the English Channel in 2009.

He is now training for a 20km-plus challenge. "The lake is lovely. I love that you can swim in this kind of surroundings. The water is very clear." And very cold.

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