Although swimming is not a sport in the Winter Olympics that start on February 4th, a winter-themed swimming event will begin on the same day.
The 4th International Ice Swimming Championships, which is a swim competition done in a 25-meter pool with water temperatures below 5 degrees celsius, will begin on Friday and last until Sunday, February 6th. The event will be held in Glogow, Poland, and has been hosted every two years since 2015 (the 2021 Ice Swimming Championships were moved to 2022).
The competition is run by the IISA (International Ice Swimming Association), which was founded in 2009 with the goal of branding the term “ice swimming” for their competition and eventually adding the sport to the Winter Olympics program.
The races at the meet consist of the 50/100/250/500/1000 meter freestyle, the 50/100-meter breaststroke, the 50-meter backstroke, the 50-meter butterfly, the 100-meter individual medley which will have separate events for men and women, as well as a mixed 4×50 and 4×250 meter freestyle relay.
There are no finals in this meet-swimmers are placed in heats and the fastest swimmer overall is declared the winner of the event after all heats are completed. World records, age group records, and disability category records will be recognized at this meet.
The rules of the competition have some differences compared to regular pool swimming. All swimmers must wear FINA-approved suits, but swimmers can only wear one cap. There are also no starting blocks, with swimmers getting into the pool through a ladder and starting by pushing off the wall in the water. Flip turns are not permitted, and after each turn, a swimmer’s head must not be submerged underwater more than 5 meters away from the wall.
The temperature of the water must not exceed 5 degrees Celsius (41 degrees Fahrenheit), and the weather in Glogow is in the 7-10 degree Celsius range (40 degrees Fahrenheit)
This year’s races are held outdoors, although ice swimming can be held both indoors and outdoors.
IISA members that have met the qualifying times for the meet are eligible to compete. There are members from 73 different countries. However, the psych sheet for the meet consists of mainly European swimmers.
The opening ceremony for the competition is on February 4th at 8 AM Polish time, or 2 AM EST. All events will be streamed on the IISA YouTube channel.
In addition to world championships, the IISA also hosts a lieu of other ice swimming competitions–most notably the ice mile.
For more information on the schedule, rules, and other aspects of the meet, visit the meet race book.