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Speedo Ice Swim Africa

From Openwaterpedia
Speedo Ice Swim Africa, a high-altitude ice swim
Speedo Ice Swim Africa warm-up
Speedo Ice Swim Africa start, photo by Jacques Marais
Training for ice swimming

The Speedo Ice Swim Africa is a one-mile high-altitude swim held in water 5°C (41°F) or less. It also includes a 600-meter qualification swim for those swimmers who want to enter the one-mile event in the future.

The Speedo Ice Swim Africa was one of the original premier legs on the Ice Swim circuit organized by the International Ice Swimming Association. It is held in Nuwedam, Fraserburg, Northern Cape, known as the coldest region of South Africa. With water temperature at 5°C or below and held at an altitude of 1,400 meters (4,593 feet), the conditions are ideal for a stop on the International Ice Swimming Association circuit. Swimmers usually emerged from the cold water discolored in various shades from the extreme cold, some barely able to talk or walk. However, there are always adequate temporary medical facilities staffed by experienced doctors and nurses at the finish.

Known as "absoluut malligheid" (absolute madness), there are dozens of hardy South African swimmers who annually test themselves in the event.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming Article

There is cold and then there is freezing. The Speedo Ice Swim Africa is a freezing swim, by definition. The Speedo Ice Swim Africa requires swimmers to complete a mile in water 5°C.

16 extreme athletes successfully completed their ice swim in the 5°C water in an altitude of 1,400 meters at a dam near Sutherland, the coldest region of South Africa. The air was not much help either as it varied between 0-5°C during the event.

19 other hardy individuals completed the 600-meter ice swim which is a qualifier to participate in the Speedo Ice Swim sometime in the future.

The swimmers emerged from the frigid water discolored in various shades due to the extreme cold, some barely able to talk or walk before being immediately transferred to a temporary medical facility staffed by doctors and nurses.

All of the hypothermic swimmers recovered in under one hour.

Ram Barkai, founder of the International Ice Swimming Association, and his teammates who all recently swam around South America's Cape Horn, Ryan Stramrood, Andrew Chin, Toks Viviers, and Kieron Palframan, participated.

"This was an incredible achievement by a group of dedicated swimmers whose mental ability has proven we all have a superhuman within us," said Ram who was featured on Stan Lee's Superhumans TV series for this ability to swim in death-defying cold water temperatures.

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