Discomfort Gives Way To Speed For Julia Wittig

Discomfort Gives Way To Speed For Julia Wittig

Courtesy of Dmitry Tamoikin.

Dmitry Tamoikin talks about the discomfort and acclimatization of ice swimming.

Julia Wittig takes dealing with discomfort and acclimatization to a whole new competitive level in ice swimming.

The 37-year-old German school teacher initially tied the ice kilometer world record of 13 minutes 58 seconds, set by Sabrina Wiedmer of Switzerland, at the Aqua Sphere German Open Ice Swimming Championships in Burghausen, Germany in 3.9°C water.

Her performance was simply a warm-up to her fantastically-paced ice kilometer at the 2017 Ice Swimming Aqua Sphere World Championships in the same pool in Burghausen. She won a gold medal and set a new ice kilometer record of 13 minutes 13 seconds 58 seconds in 2-3°C water before a cheering hometown crowd.

She also finished second in the SuperFinal 500m freestyle at the Ice Swimming Aqua Sphere World Championships in 3°C water behind teammate Ines Hahn.

Ice Swimming Aqua Sphere World Championships Women’s Results:
1. Julia Wittig (Germany) 13:13.58
2. Ines Hahn (Germany) 13:34.83
3. Victoria Mori (Argentina) 14:13.10
4. Elina Makïnen (Finland) 14:34.31
5. Sabrina Wiedmer (Switzerland) 14:35.38
6. Anna DeLozier (USA) 14:47.80
7. Jessie Campbell (Great Britain) 14:55.42
8. Magda Okurková (Czech Republic) 15:09.91
9. Renata Nováková (Czech Republic) 15:10.25
10. Sarah Anne Richter (Germany) 15:26.62
11. Olive Conroy (Ireland) 16:02.27
12. Eliska Podmelova (Czech Republic) 16:17.62
13. Kerstin Thomas (Germany) 16:22.79
14. Wendy Figures (Great Britain) 16:30.12
15. Birna Hronn Sigurjosdottir (Iceland) 16:37.58
16. Conny Prasser (Germany) 16:45.33
17. Jaimie Monahan (USA) 16:51.38
18. Heather Massey (Great Britain) 17:06.23
19. Samantha Whelpton (South Africa) 17:19.51
20. Lotta Mäkinen (Finland) 17:26.46
21. Sabine Croci (Germany) 17:28.19
22. Nadja Joy Tonnesen (Denmark) 17:40.53
23. Carmel Collins (Ireland) 17:55.81
24. Sarah O’Malley Daly (Ireland) 18:08.52
25. Andrea Startin (Great Britain) 18:25.80
26. Yasmine Pliessnig (Austria) 18:35.27
27. Elaine K. Howley (USA) 18:36.58
28. Kate Steels-Fryatt (Great Britain) 18:44.18
29. Kinga Korin (Poland) 19:03.03
30. Rachel Doyle (Ireland) 19:25.46
31. Rikke Danielsen (Denmark) 19:26.89
32. Birgit Becher (Germany) 20:15.57
33. Tiffiny Quinn (Ireland) 20:23.20
34. Outi Mäkinen (Finland) 20:40.29
35. Anna Fischer (Germany) 21:39.03
36. Debbie Wayman (Great Britain) 21:43.71
37. Jaqueline Janike (Germany) 22:01.32
38. Nuala Moore (Ireland) 22:19.80
39. Jackie Cobell (Great Britain) 23:13.09
40. Sinne Lundgaard (Denmark) 23:25.12
41. Jeanne Guild (South Africa) 23:57.19
42. Pauline Baker (Great Britain) 24:05.14
43. Eis Wermenbol (Netherlands) 26:10.78
44. Mirka Notvotna (Czech Republic) 26:11.94

For Wittig’s efforts in one of the world’s hottest spots for ice swimming, she was nominated for the 2017 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year among the following individuals:

1. Katherine Batts (Great Britain)
2. Dr. Caroline Block (USA)
3. Arianna Bridi (Italy)
4. Chloë McCardel (Australia)
5. Ana Marcela Cunha (Brazil)
6. Pat Gallant-Charette (USA)
7. Ludmila Maller (Russia)
8. Jaimie Monahan (USA)
9. Aurélie Muller (France)
10. Barbara Pozzobón (Italy)
11. Sarah Thomas (USA)
12. Julia Wittig (Germany)

Her WOWSA Award nomination reads, “Julia Wittig has always been a fast swimmer, but the German schoolteacher became the world’s dominant and fastest ice swimmer in the world in 2017. The 38-year-old swims in nearly frozen venues as if sub-0°C air and nearly freezing water temperatures do not matter. She won the 1 km Ice Swimming Aqua Sphere World Championships in Germany’s Lake Wöhrsee in 13 minutes 58 seconds, a time so fast that would have placed her fifth overall in the men’s race.

For setting a 1 km world record in 3.9°C water that was ratified by the International Ice Swimming Association, for showing the potential for speed in a dramatic final at the Burghausen venue, for getting second in the 500m world ice swimming championship in a time that would have placed her third overall in the men’s race, Julia Wittig is a worthy nominee for the 2017 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year.

To register and vote on the WOWSA Awards and the 2017 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year here.

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Steven Munatones