Ice Swimming Definitions, A Different Perspective

Ice Swimming Definitions, A Different Perspective

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Ice Swimming is defined by the International Ice Swimming Association as swimming in water 5.00°C (41.00°F) or less. Given its preference for much colder water than most humans can tolerate, and the fact that the average temperature of the ocean surface waters is about 17°C (62.6°F)*, it is interesting to see how the IISA defines water temperature ranges:

Ice: 0.00°C – 5.00°C or 32.00°F – 41.00°F
Very Cold: 5.01°C – 10.00°C or 41.02°F – 50.00°F
Cold: 10.01°C – 15.00°C or 50.02°F – 59.00°F
Moderate: 15.01°C – 20.00°C or 59.02°F – 68.00°F
Warm: 20.01°C – 25.00°C or 68.02°F – 77.00°F
Hot: 25.01°C – 30.00°C or 77.02°F – 86.00°F
Very Hot: 30.01°C – 35.00°C or 86.02 – 95.00°F

Ram Barkai explains the types of athlete who is attracted to and excels in the sport. “We see Ice Swimming as different from pool swimming or open water swimming. It attracts swimmers who can handle the icy conditions better than others as well as excel in these conditions. Great swimmers will swim well in any environment, but to win and excel, some will do so in a 50m warm pool, others in the open water, and some others in the ICE.”

Photo from the 2017 Ice Swimming Aqua Sphere World Championships in Wöhrsee, Burghausen, Germany. Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association