Swimming in sub 5 degree water

South Africa’s most extreme swimmers are preparing for an ice swim this weekend in Frazerburg, about 5 hours inland from Cape Town.

Part of the swimmers preparation included an ice bath water for 10 minutes at the Cape Town Waterfront on Saturday. The water was a chilly 1 degree C.

A swimmer needs to complete a mile swim in less than 5 degree water to qualify as a member of the International Ice Swimming Association.

Ram Barkai is no stranger to cold water and recently swam in 0 degree water in Norway and will be one of the swimmers taking the plunge in Frazerburg.

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“Swimmers need to focus on their breathing when swimming in cold water. Maintain calmness and teach yourself to handle the cold. Don’t let it break you, don’t get too tight, relax and let it in. Once the COLD knows you are not scared, not intimidated and even love it – it will warm you up”.

Barkai was also part of a group of five South African swimmers who became the first men ever to swim around the tip of South America. He also holds the record for undertaking the world’s most southerly swim in Antarctica in 2008.

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