Over the last few weeks, we have seen many swimmers complete the very notable challenge of an “Ice Mile”. This is a 1.6 km swim in 5ºC or less. With so many swimmers having completed their Ice Miles this winter, others are becoming interested in trying it for themselves. While it’s great to see such enthusiasm for these swims, they do come with a warning label, as Ned Denison (who himself completed an Ice Mile last week) pointed out in an email to the Sandycove Swimmers mailing list yesterday evening…
Ned noted in his email that, over the last few weeks, many people have expressed an interest in having a go at one of these grueling swims. Ned is very enthusiastic about the growth of swimming and is always encouraging other to set big goals, so it’s fitting that he was the person to issue the following warning:
- These are not casual swims – every swimmer must have an ECG done in advance of the swim to ensure acceptable cardiac health, a doctor must be on site during the swim and there must be at least one extra assistant per swimmer.
- These swims must be regarded as “extreme” events and, as such, must be treated with respect. A lot of serious consideration must be given to your own safety and the safety of those around you before you even begin to plan an Ice Mile.
Ned also noted that, in the past few weeks, one swimmer had to be airlifted after one of these swims and that the three other swimmers alongside whom he complete his Ice Mile have no recollection of the back end of their swims! He also offered a few observations about recognising a swimmer who needs to be removed from the water and other important aspects of swimming in such cold water.
If you are planning an Ice Mile, please bear the above message in mind. Make sure that you have plenty of cold water experience, that you are in prime condition and that you are surrounded by qualified safety personnel experienced in hypothermia. The consequences of getting a swim like this wrong are just not worth thinking about.