Ice Swimming Competitions Around The World


Posted: January 23, 2023

Updated: January 23, 2023

  • Incredible records
  • People completing impossible contests
  • Ice swimming competitions around the world

For bold people, the winter offers several extreme sports, and so do ice swimming competitions. Nordic countries have been practicing ice swimming, partly as a tradition and as a hobby, but people around the world compete nowadays in ice swimming events. Scroll down for the best contests in icy water!

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Ice Swimming Wörthersee

Swimming records can be set even in harsh conditions and during competitions. The ones we are now presenting were tested primarily for speed and endurance. Athletes who dive into icy water show incredible willpower, determination, and endurance. Some of the following ice swimming competitions are under ice or among ice. This is an annual ice swimming competition in Austria, where the participants have to swim 1000 meters.

Like at every icy swimming contest, the participants have to go through a severe medical checkup. They also have to provide evidence that they have swam at least half a kilometer in icy water in the past year and must sign a paper of declaration of liability. Every contestant has to be an adult and not use any doping agent. According to 22Bet Sportsbook, they will organize the next Wörthersee Ice Swimming event on the 17th and 18th of February in 2023!

Freediving under ice

Johanna Nordblad is one of the most famous athletes in a very unique sport: freediving under the ice! For most people, dipping into icy water sounds terrible but add freediving to it to get a genuinely extraordinary sport.

Freediving is something else, but under a thick layer of ice, the whole experience changes. In this sport, the divers swim under the ice, fastened to ropes by carabiners, without using any equipment except for a wetsuit. The Finnish Johanna set the world record in 2021, but Valentina Cafolla broke it last year. You can find the record-setter and broker divers at online gambling sites in Norway!

Ice Swimming Competitions

Ice Kilometer is an open-water swimming contest in less than five degrees water for a kilometer. The International Ice Swimming Association, which Ram Barkai founded in 2009, organizes this competition along with its longer version, the Ice Mile.

Ice Mile is an ice swimming competition similar to Ice Kilometer. However, during this challenge, the competitors can’t wear any neoprene clothing, except for a swimsuit, a cap, and earplugs. The next stop is Zero Ice Mile, which is almost like the others, except for the water temperature. It has to be below Zero degrees. 

The most extraordinary contest of them all is the Ice Sevens. It’s a competition series where the participants complete the Ice Mile challenge on every continent. To not make it easy on the brave swimmers, one of these swims has to be a Zero Ice Mile! Yep, some people are badass! The Iron Ice Man/Woman competition is for those swimmers who have completed at least an Ice Mile and an Ironman triathlon. You can find the full Iron Iceman and Icewoman list at online gambling sites in Norway!

The Longest Distance in Cold Water

In 2022, then 32-year-old Polish Krzysztof Kubiak covered 4.7 kilometers in the 4-degree water of Lake Elckie. The International Ice Swimming Association, which notes the official records, reports that Kubiak swam the distance in 1:23:18.

He previously set the record for 3.75 kilometers in 2021. For the ladies, the record holder in this category was Ireland’s Carmel Collins, who completed 3.3 kilometers in 2016 in the Wild Water open pool in Armagh, Northern Ireland. Amber Fillary also set an ice swimming record when she swam 80 meters under the ice without a diving suit or fins. 

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Ice Swimming Competitions

In 2019, the Dutch Sven Elfferich, in 3.6 degrees water, improved the record of the Bulgarian Petar Stojchev by more than twenty seconds in the distance of 1,000 meters in the Ice Kilometer. At the Austrian Ice Water Swimming Championship, he swam one kilometer in less than 12 minutes at 11:55.40 at the age of 17. In fact, he ended up third in the World Cup series of the International Ice Swimming Association.

For the ladies, German Alisa Fatum is the fastest ice water swimmer in this event, as she covered the distance in 12:46 minutes in 2019 in the 1.4-degree water of an open pool in Weitzbronn. Let’s also add that the air temperature was two degrees. She was the first ice water swimmer to complete the 1,000 meters in 13 minutes. The 27-year-old swimmer won the IISA 4th World Championship in 2022. 

The Fastest Mile

In 2015, Rostislav Vítek from the Czech Republic needed just over 20 minutes to swim the Ice Mile, so 1.6 kilometers, in the 4-5 degree water of a mining lake in Blansko. His time result was more than a minute better than the former record holder Christof Wandratsché.

The professional open-water Czech swimmer, who also participated in the 2008 Summer Olympics, is still one of the athletes who swam the English Channel the fastest. Two German women share the women’s world record for this number: Julia Wittig and Ines Hahn covered slightly more than one and a half kilometers in 3.2-degree water in 21:33 minutes in Lake Wöhr in Bavaria in 2019.

Ice Swimming Competitions

In 2020, the British Lewis Puch did something no one had ever done before! He ventured under the East Antarctic ice field at the Novolazarevska research station. Once he was there, he swam one kilometer in the icy water at 0.1 degrees. For all this, he only wore swimming trunks, a swimming cap, and swimming goggles. The 10:17-minute dive was a sight to behold as it traveled along icicles-lined glacial lakes and subglacial rivers. With his spectacular performance, Puch tried to draw people’s attention to the adverse effect of global warming on the Antarctic ice fields.

The Most Famous Ice Water Swimmer

Ram Barkai is the most famous swimmer who completed a dozen Ice Kilometer competitions, eleven Ice Miles, and a Zero Ice Mile. He did a lot for ice swimming competitions! Barkai founded the International Ice Swimming Association in 2009 and the Freedom Swim Series in South Africa. He set the Antarctica Guinness World Record and swam in Iceland, a Svalbard Ice Mile, and many other open water challenges. Click on the link for more underwater sports to bet on!

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