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Test swim for Antarctic swimmers raising R500 000 for charity

by ZwemZa on November 23rd, 2018

Photo: Facebook

The team of global swimmers who set off to attempt the first official 1km ice swim in Antarctica in the name of charity have completed a test swim.

The team left on November 14, with 15 swimmers from nine countries. Among them is South Africa’s Jean Craven, who will attempt the icy stretch to raise R500 000 for Madswimmer. They want to set a Guinness World Record.

South Africa is leading the pack, with four swimmers. This swim is the initiative of the International Ice Swimming Association and its founder, Ram Barkai, is the expedition leader.

It took Barkai two years to put the event together. Others are Samantha Whelpton and Clinton Le Sueur, and they are joined by swimmers from Poland, Russia, Australia, Argentina, Italy, China, Bulgaria and Spain.

By yesterday, the weather had not been hospitable enough to allow for the official swim, but organisers hoped it would.

The 200m test swim allowed for participants to acclimatise and make sure all safety measures were in place. The main swim route is expected to be a 100m length along the ship, with five loops starting from the ship and back.

The water temperature is expected to be 0ºC or below, and the team will attempt the polar conditions in Speedos only.

The strategy is to have four swimmers in the water at a time, accompanied by two rubber ducks, four kayaks and medical and safety staff wearing dry suits and floating devices – ready to jump in and rescue a swimmer if necessary.

“Dr Sean Gottschalk, also from South Africa, will be the expedition doctor.

“He is a specialist emergency physician and has experience in extreme swimming expeditions, including being the physician who accompanied Lewis Pugh on his Everest swim.

“Although the swimmers will be part of a larger 13-day Antarctic Polar Marine Travelling Expedition that will enjoy the wildlife and environment of Antarctica, swimmers will mainly focus on what they had come for, namely to identify a location in the open sea and swim,” organisers said.


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