Ram Barkai

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Ram Barkai, renowned extreme swimmer from South Africa
Ram Barkai, swimming in Antarctica
Member of the Bering Strait Swim Relay near the Arctic Circle
Ram Barkai is a renowned cold water extreme swimmer who holds several world records. He holds the title in the most southernly open water swim ever performed when he swam in Antarctica. He also swam in mid-winter in Lake Zurich, Switzerland and organized the Patagonia Extreme Cold Water Challenge in the Patagonia region in South America where he was among the first individuals to successfully swim around Cape Horn, at the tip of South America.

Ram also organized the Cadiz Freedom Swim, the Speedo Ice Swim Africa and the 2012 Ice Swim Africa. He is the founder of the International Ice Swimming Association.

He has inspired people through his extreme swims and extraordinarily positive view of life and its challenges. He has done ice swims with Anne Marie Ward and Nuala Moore in Ireland, with Gavin Pike in Scotland, and with Ryan Stramrood, Toks Viviers, Kieron Palframan and Andrew Chin in Chile and Argentina. He will appear on Stan Lee's Superhumans television series for this ability to swim without a wetsuit or neoprene cap at lethally cold water temperatures.

In 2012, Barkai completed a 1.3 km swim in Folgefonna Glacier, an ice-bound lake in Jondal, Norway water temperature of 0.2˚C at 1000m above sea level. The swim is part of a new series on Discovery HD called Superhuman Showdown, a television show that features individuals with unique abilities that extend far beyond that of ordinary humans.

Barkai is a speaker at the 2011 and 2012 Global Open Water Swimming Conferences.


2012 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year Nomination

Barkai was nominated for the 2012 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year award. His nomination reads,

The world according to Ram is expansive and empowering. His refreshing view of human potential is without limitation. His enlightening perspective effectively utilizes the power of the mind, and extends the world of open water swimming beyond contemporary comprehension. The founder of the International Ice Swimming Association inspires swimmers to look at water in an entirely new light; temperature no longer becomes the limiting factor. If the ice has melted, Barkai considers it a potential field of play. At the same time, Barkai understands the risk of extreme swimming. He counsels individuals to proceed with mindful caution and utilizes intelligent planning. The physiological data that he compiles and analyzes, the swims that he organizes, the risks that he manages and identifies are extraordinarily useful to the open water swimming world. For his encouragement of thinking outside the norm, for his properly-managed extreme swims, for his support of ice swimmers around the world, Ram Barkai is a worthy nominee for the 2012 WOWSA Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.

2013 Bering Strait Swim Relay

Barkai was a member of the successful, unprecedented, 5-day Bering Strait Swim relay, a 53-mile (86 km) relay crossing from Cape Dezhnev in Chukotka, Russia, to Cape Prince of Wales in the state of Alaska, USA.

1. Yuri Tsiganchuk, Blagoveshchensk, Russia
2. Yuri Myagkikh, Russia
3. Vladimir Chegorin, Russia
4. Maria Chizhova, Novosibirsk, Russia
5. Elena Guseva, Russia
6. Ram Barkai, Cape Town, South Africa
7. Jack Bright, UK
8. Vladimir Litvinov, Blagoveshchensk, Russia
9. Oksana Veklich, Blagoveshchensk, Russia
10. Aleksandr Jakovlev, Jelgava, Latvia
11. Matías Ola, Buenos Aires /Tucuman Argentina
12. Henri Kaarma, Tallinn, Estonia
13. Toomas Haggi, Tallinn, Estonia
14. Nuala Moore, Ireland
15. Anne Marie Ward, Donegal, Ireland
16. Toks Viviers, Cape Town, South Africa
17. Melissa O’Reilly (‘Mo’), Lambertville, New Jersey, USA
18. Ryan Stramrood, Cape Town, South Africa
19. Cristian Vergara, Santiago, Chile
20. Craig Lenning, Colorado, USA
21. Rafał Ziobro, Krakow, Poland
22. Andrew Chin, Cape Town, South Africa
23. Jackie Cobell, Tunbridge Wells, UK
24. James Pittar, Australia
25. Paolo Chiarino, Italy


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