Murmansk Winter Swimming, Ice Swimming Hall Of Fame Honor Event

Murmansk Winter Swimming, Ice Swimming Hall Of Fame Honor Event

1st International Ice Swimming Association World Championships final Ice Kilometer heat on March 20th 2015 in Murmansk, Russia with Evgeni Rabinovich (in Lane 1), Sergio Salomone (in Lane 2), Craig Lenning (in Lane 3), Christof Wandratsch (in Lane 4), Henri Kaarma (in Lane 6), Albert Sobirov (in Lane 7), and Eduard Khodakovsk (in Lane 8) with Wyatt Song behind the camera.

Murmansk Winter Swimming, Ice Swimming Hall Of Fame Honor Event

Courtesy of Ned Denison, International Ice Swimming Association, Semenovskoe Lake, Murmansk, Russia.

The Russians are a hardy people, perhaps none more so than those who live within the Arctic Circle.

It is hard to imagine the epicenter of an internationally recognized sport, practiced by competitors from 38 countries – and growing – being located in the Arctic Circle, but the officials of the city of Murmansk have taken an emerging sport and promoted and organized its local waters of the Semenovskoe Lake and passionate enthusiasm for ice swimming to a global level,” said Steven Munatones. “The hospitality, the ceremony, the volunteers and the logistics of accepting ice swimmers from around the world to its port city located on the Arctic Ocean.”

Ned Denison defined why Murmansk Winter Swimming was selected as an Honor Event in the Class of 2020 in the Ice Swimming Hall of Fame, “Murmansk is a center of winter swimming excellence. Its Walrus Club was founded in 1965 with the main goal of developing ice and winter swimming among all its citizens. Today there are more than 500 active members in the club who endorse a healthy lifestyle and hardening in cold water.

In March 2015, the city celebrated the 50th Walrus Club anniversary together with many visitors.

Murmansk City Administration invested early and has contributed greatly to the development of the ice swimming in the 25m ice pool in Semenovskoe Lake. In 2013, 150 swimmers from 6 countries participated in its international competitions and Polar Olympics. In 2014, 200 swimmers from 10 countries participated. In 2015, 500 swimmers from 22 countries participated in the 1st IISA World Championships with stunning awards ceremony). In 2019, the IISA 3rd World Championship and 1st Arctic Cup was held at Semenovskoe Lake between March 14th-18th

Murmansk Winter Swimming was announced as an Honor Event by the Ice Swimming Hall of Fame in its Class of 2020, selected by representatives from the world of winter swimming, ice swimming, and open water swimming including Paolo Chiarino of Italy, Ned Denison of Ireland, Elaine K. Howley of the USA, Pádraig Mallon of Ireland, Leszek Naziemiec of Poland, Kieron Palframan of South Africa, Shelley Taylor-Smith of Australia, and Jonty Warneken of the UK.

Ned Denison explains, “The objective of the Ice Swimming Hall of Fame is to recognize and honor leading ice and winter swimmers and contributors to the sport of cold water swimming – and Murmansk Winter Swimming easily and rightly fits this definition.”

International Ice Swimming Association founder Ram Barkai has participated in many events in Murmansk including:

· International Winter Swimming Competition (80th International Holiday of the North or the Polar Olympics) conducted by the Department of Physical Culture and Sport of Murmansk, organized by Irina Andreeva and Blokhin Dmitry.
· Murmansk Mile across Kola Bay that is part of the Festival of Sports in June. The Festival of Sports features more than 10,000 participants and spectators in 11 kinds of sports.
· It was the site of the first Ice Swimming World Championship in March 2015 and the 10th Russian Ice Swimming Championships at the Lapland Lake Semenovskoye.
· It was site of the third Ice Swimming World Championship in March 2019 at the Lapland Lake Semenovskoye.
· It is the headquarters to the Walrus Club, an ice swimming and winter swimming group with over 500 active members.

Murmansk Winter Swimming joins the following members of the Class of 2020 in the Ice Swimming Hall of Fame:

* Jackie Cobell of Great Britain, Honor Swimmer
* Fergal Somerville of Ireland, Honor Contributor – Administrator
* Kate Steels of Great Britain, Honor Swimmer
* Petar Stoychev of Bulgaria, Honor Swimmer
* Christof Wandratsch of Germany, Honor Swimmer
* Antarctic Circle Challenge of South Africa, Honor Event

The Class of 2020 joins the following swimmers and contributors from the inaugural Class of 2019:

* Honor Swimmer and Honor Contributor – Administrator Ram Barkai of South Africa
* Honor Swimmer Aleksander Brylin of Russia
* Honor Swimmer Henri Kaarma of Estonia
* Honor Swimmer Jaimie Monahan of the USA
* Honor Swimmer Lewis Pugh of Great Britain
* Honor Contributor – Administrator Mariia Yrjö-Koskinen of Finland
* Honor Event Bering Strait Relay with individuals from 23 countries
* Honor Contributor – Media Steven Muñatones of the USA

For more information, photos and detailed biographies for the Ice Swimming Hall of Fame honorees and contributors of the Class of 2019 and the Class of 2020, visit

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Steven Munatones