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The world's most beautiful open water swim races

Whether it's incredible scenery, lagoon waters or balmy temperatures you're after, these race events are paradise for fans of open water swimming.
Open water swimming competitions might conjure up images of thrashing about in grey, rolling seas but there are a raft of events that combine aquatic prowess with incredible scenery and often balmy temperatures.

2019 World International Ice Swimming Championships: What it takes to prepare for a sub-zero swim

"Sometimes I get in and I think 'gosh, this feels horrible'," says champion ice swimmer Jade Perry.

This isn't just your average test of physical endurance.

Taking a dip in sub-zero temperatures is already unappealing, without the prospect of doing it in a makeshift pool carved out of a frozen lake at the height of Russian winter.

I went swimming in water so cold the ice is broken with a propeller, and it was utterly addictive

When the temperature's well below freezing, the Finns come out to swim 

A woman stands at the top of a ladder leading into a black hole in the ice at the edge of the Baltic Sea. Her bare flesh shines in the streetlight, a contrast to the night sky. Clad in nothing more than a bikini and a woolly hat, she makes no sound as she lowers herself into the freezing water. I watch from a nearby footpath, transfixed and envious, despite Helsinki’s sub-zero evening temperatures – even in the daytime, this week, it’s rarely climbed above two degrees, with below-freezing temperatures predicted for next week.

Testing the Waters

Marcia Cleveland has always been a swimmer. Growing up, throughout high school and all four years of college, you could find her in the water.

In her early twenties, she took to open water swimming, plunging into oceans, lakes, and rivers, seeking their challenges. After moving to New York and joining a Masters Swimming program there, she did her first solo swim in 1991, around the island of Manhattan at a distance of over 28 miles.

Ice Swimming may be the reason why Scandinavian people are happy

People are looking for different ways to keep themselves happy. They may go to any extent to achieve their required purpose of happiness. For certainly, being satisfied with your life is one essential goal that everyone should be aiming for.

There are a number of ways you can possibly do that. Exercising is one, socializing is another. The list is a never ending one.

Pat Gallant-Charette Won't Stop Breaking Records

The oldest woman to swim the English Channel wants to continue knocking off marathon swims into her 80s

Pat Gallant-Charette is tougher than your average grandma. She’s probably tougher than you. The 68-year-old Maine native has completed the majority of the Oceans Seven, a marathon swimming challenge that has athletes tackling seven of the toughest open-water swims in the world. She has systematically subjected herself to near-freezing water temperatures, strong currents, shark attacks, and blooms of jellyfish during swims that have her in the water for up to 24 hours.

THE RISE OF WILD SWIM GROUPS ACROSS THE UK

There are now 50+ wild swim groups around the UK. To mark the launch of a new OSS listing guide of them around the country, Rowan Clarke, a member of Wiltshire Wild Swim, reports on their joys and problems.

When Wiltshire Wild Swimmers began in May 2018, it was just a group of ten friends arranging swims on WhatsApp. As people began finding them on Instagram, the group grew to 30, prompting its founders to move the group from WhatsApp to Facebook. It then grew to 150 members in just four weeks.

The Truth Is Cold

Though I had been pool swimming, I hadn’t swam in the sea in four weeks, and if I didn’t get in at the weekend I would go a month without an open water swim for possibly the first time in a decade.

On Saturday the bay was lousy and blown out in howling onshores, breakers stretching out over a mile from the coast, unswimmable even using the alternative option of swimming out through the pier entrance.

Taking on the ultimate challenge

The whole of the Netherlands rallied around one man and his ultimate challenge in late August: TV and radio, newspapers and the social media turned the spotlight on Olympic swimming champion Maarten van der Weijden. To raise money for cancer research, he had set himself the extreme goal of swimming the Elfstedentocht route – a 200-kilometer-long speed skating race considered by many to be the ultimate Dutch sports event. His heroic efforts raised a record amount of over 5 million euros.

Ice swimming: the perfect Ctrl-Alt-Delete reboot

Swimming in ice requires a certain determination, but also chain-saws to cut the ice and form racing lanes. A sauna is also needed and apparently hot chocolate helps a lot.

Tiffiny Quinn is one of 12 hardy Irish swimmers travelling to the Artic Circle for a St Patrick’s Day dip at the ice swimming world championships.

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