Kate Steels Achieves Ice Sevens

Kate Steels Achieves Ice Sevens

Kate Steels waited and waited and waited – and finally achieved her goal of achieving the Ice Sevens in Argentina today. The Ice Sevens Challenge (or Ice Sevens) is the ice swimming equivalent of the Oceans Seven.

To achieve the Ice Sevens, a swimmer must complete an Ice Mile under standard ice swimming rules (i.e., no wetsuit and no neoprene hat) in the following locations. All the swims must be ratified or recognized by the International Ice Swimming Association.

o An Ice Mile swum below 5ºC (41ºF) in any location in Europe
o An Ice Mile swum below 5ºC (41ºF) in any location in Oceania
o An Ice Mile swum below 5ºC (41ºF) in any location in Asia
o An Ice Mile swum below 5ºC (41ºF) in any location in North America
o An Ice Mile swum below 5ºC (41ºF) in any location in Africa
o An Ice Mile swum below 5ºC (41ºF) in any location in South America
o An Ice Mile swum below 5ºC (41ºF) in any Polar location at 60º south or below or 70º north or above
o One of the seven Ice Miles must be a documented Zero Ice Mile (defined as a solo mile swim performed at below 1ºC)

There have been 612 Ice Miles officially completed and ratified by the International Ice Swimming Association to date, but only three swimmers have achieved the Ice Sevens to date: Jaimie Monahan of the USA, Ger Kennedy of Ireland, and Steels of the UK as of today.

Steels has completed 9 career Ice Miles, of which these 7 enabled her to complete the Ice Sevens:

1st Ice Mile in Europe in Andark Lake, Bursledon, Southampton, UK on 31 January 2015, 1.03 miles in 3.90°C water and -1.00°C wind chill in 32 minutes 50 seconds.
2nd Ice Mile in Mikkelvik Brygge, Karlsøy, Norway (Polar Ice Mile) on 4 March 2017, 1.06 miles in 2.37°C water and -7.30°C wind chill, swimming in 33 minutes 16 seconds at 70.01°N latitude.
3rd Ice Mile in Africa in Lac Aguelmame Sidi Ali, Atlas Mountains, Morocco on 15 December 2017, 1.13 miles in 3.83°C water and -2.00°C wind chill in 35 minutes 0 seconds.
4th Ice Mile in Asia in South Lake, Shuangyashan City, China (Zero Ice Mile) on 24 December 2017, 1.01 miles in 0.90°C water and -22.10°C wind chill in 35 minutes 5 seconds.
5th Ice Mile in North America in Lake Simcoe, Beaverton, Canada on 21 April 2019, 1.0 miles in 4.13°C water and 7.90°C wind chill in 31 minutes 42 seconds.
6th Ice Mile in Oceania in Lake Lyndon, New Zealand on 31 August 2019, 1.05 miles in 3.93°C water and 4.50°C wind chill in 31 minutes 57 seconds.
7th Ice Mile in South America in Lake Esmeralda, Argentina on 22 November 2021, 1.0 miles in 4.2°C water in 29 minutes 19 seconds to achieve the Ice Sevens at the age of 52.

Steels writes, “It was a fantastic snowy day at Lake Esmeralda, Argentina. After lots of delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I got a small window of opportunity to attempt my final Ice Mile in Argentina, South America to complete the Ice Sevens, subject to ratification. I was extremely nervous which made the start difficult, but the scenery and support helped settle me into my stroke.

It was the coldest day we’ve had in the last week, but the snow was pretty and there was only light wind. I ended up loving the swim and felt that I could have easily kept going. It was a straightforward recovery and rewarming. [I want to give] a huge thank you to everyone who made this possible. To my new and amazing Argentinian family of Luis, Natalia, Martin and Maida.

A big thank you to Rory Fitzgerald for all his support, my doctors, and my sponsor AXA Insurance.

Finally, thank you to Ram Barkai and swimmers from around the world who have believed in me and helped me on this incredible journey. On the way back from the lake, Rory slipped and cut his hand open. Celebrations were delayed due to a trip to hospital for Rory to have stitches and a tetanus injection. Ironically the next patients in hospital were three sailors who had fallen from the Quay and were being treated for hypothermia.

Kate Steels in Laguna Esmeralda, Argentina

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Steven Munatones