10K Under 10°C, Ger Kennedy Joins Cold Water Swimming A-Listers

10K Under 10°C, Ger Kennedy Joins Cold Water Swimming A-Listers

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Ger Kennedy, one of the most prolific ice swimmers in the world and the only male to complete the Ice Sevens, achieved another cold water swimming milestone: swimming 10 km in water under 10°C (50°F).

Irishman Kennedy swam a solo point-to-point 10 km marathon swim from Sandycove Harbour to Bray Harbour yesterday under the rules of the Irish Long Distance Swimming Association rules. He explained his 10 km sub-10°C challenge, “A weather window and a good tide opportunity arose, plus due to damaged finger operation looming, I had to go for it [because I] will be out of the water for 2-3 weeks. The water temperature averaged 8.7°C over the course. The air temp was between 9°C and 11°C with some wind chill. The sea state was calm-ish northeast winds 2-4. I fed on hot soup. I had the best pilot and crew with James, Sean Hall, and Richard Dunne. The swim is subject to official ratification by the ILDSA recorder. A lot of hard cold water training and cardio was performed in preparation for this extreme swim, but just because it’s sunny, the water is still unforgiving cold.”

Steven Munatones said, “Ger’s achievement calls to mind other memorable cold water marathon swims.”

  1. Michael Read swam 37 km across Loch Ness in 14 hours 23 minutes in 6°C (42°F). “That swim was extremely difficult. It was a cold, cold day. They said Kevin Murphy and I were on a mortuary slab after the swim. We both woke up in a hospital. Kevin was right next to me after he was pulled from the loch. They thought we were dead, at least until I woke up the next day.”
  2. Kevin Murphy and Des Renford swam 10 hours 30 minutes in 7°C (44°F) water in Loch Ness, before both being pulled out with hypothermia. The attempted crossing of Loch Ness was the last of The Greal Duel in 1977. “There was nothing to prove after 10 and a half hours. It was the friendly way to end this series, an honorable draw as we hang on. I like finishing, but I spend the entire time asking myself what the hell am I doing here.
  3. Fergal Somerville, another hardened cold water swimmer from Ireland, swam 12 hours 21 minutes from Northern Ireland to Scotland in a constant 9°C water under the escort of pilot Quinton Nelson in June 2013.
  4. Howard James of England swam for 13 hours 25 minutes from Northern Ireland to Scotland in the North Channel, in water temperatures that dipped down to 10.5°C under the escort of pilot Brian Meharg in August 2011.
  5. Lynne Cox completed a 23 km crossing of the Cook Strait from the North Island to South Island in 12 hours 2 minutes in 1975 in 10°C water.
  6. Young David Morgan completed a 19 km swim in 9.4°C (49°F) in England [see The Great Duel video below where he mentions his cold water swimming feats].
  7. Colleen Blair pioneered the 24 nm crossing of the North Minch from Isle of Lewis to the Scottish mainland in 9°C – 13.8°C water in 18 hours 46 minutes in 2018. 

There are undoubtedly others.

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Steven Munatones, “This kind of Cumulative Cold Index is extremely tough and may be outside the bounds of what is humanly possible. But then again, the ice swimming and marathon swimming community usually accepts some mind-blowing challenges – and then exceeds them over time.”

  • sub-10°C water for a 10 km swim
  • sub-9°C water for a 9 km swim
  • sub-8°C water for a 8 km swim
  • sub-7°C water for a 7 km swim
  • sub-6°C water for a 6 km swim
  • sub-5°C water for a 5 km swim
  • sub-4°C water for a 4 km swim
  • sub-3°C water for a 3 km swim
  • sub-2°C water for a 2 km swim
  • sub-1°C water for a 1 km swim

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