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  • Northside East

Ice swimmers warm up for challenge

Friday, 2nd February, 2018 7:59am
Ice swimmers warm up for challenge

Fergal Somerville, from Beaumont, will be competing in his sixth Ice Mile Swim this weekend.

Ice swimmers warm up for challenge

Fergal Somerville, from Beaumont, will be competing in his sixth Ice Mile Swim this weekend.

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IMAGINE swimming a mile in water that is less than five degrees wearing only togs, hat and goggles. 

That’s the challenge awaiting some of the world’s hardiest swimmers this weekend. On February 3, Dublin’s Eastern Bay Swim Team will assemble 16 renowned winter swimming athletes at beautiful Lough Dan, County Wicklow. 

Each swimmer will attempt to achieve the unique milestone of an international ice mile, swimming one mile in less than five degrees of water.

Fergal Somerville, from Beaumont, Ireland’s Ambassador for the event, said ice swimming is an extreme sport and only top swimmers are invited to the event. 

“Strict qualifying criteria are upheld including ECG and medical assessment,” said Fergal, one of the country’s most prolific sea swimmers.  Only 300 hundred swimmers worldwide hold the distinction of ‘International Ice Miler’.

“Our previous Ice Mile Swims have produced 36 ice miles including a Women’s world record (Eastern Bay’s Sabrina Wiedmer 25:51 in 2014). 

“We have hosted swimmers from Ireland, England, Wales, Scotland, US, Poland, and Italy. For this year’s event we welcome swimmers from California (Ranie Pearce), Channel Islands (Wendy Trehiou, Adrian Sarchet and Graeme Lowe), Scotland (Robert Hamilton), England (Pauline Barker and Debbie Wayman) and a host of swimmers from Ireland.”

Fergal, who swam the English Channel in 2011 and the North Channel in 2013, added that the event is sanctioned by Swim Ireland, run under the rules of the International Ice Swimming Association, overseen by independent adjudicators and marshalled by experienced officials. 

It will be his sixth Eastern Bay Ice Mile.

Best of luck to this hardy bunch!


Kathryn Pratsche being helped from Lough Dan at the end of last year’s Ice Mile by Trish and Peter Heffernan, perennial helpers at the Eastern Bay Ice Mile.

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