4th IISA Ice Swimming World Championships Begin February 4th

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.

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7 months ago

So, the fastest 500m yesterday was 5:38,97 (men, Marcin Szarpak POL) and 6:19,32 (women, Alisa Fatum GER), the water had 3°C and according to the announcer was ‘wet’.
I watched some of the live stream…. it was fascinating! But also insane. 🤣

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7 months ago

swimmers are placed in heats”. Heats? Seriously? How about swimmers are placed in waves?

7 months ago

I’m pretty sure they do this naked in Denmark.

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Reply to  Ferb
7 months ago


7 months ago

I will not be qualifying or shaving for this meet.

Sink or Swim
7 months ago

I like this broadening of SwimSwam coverage. Thanks for the links. The “ice mile” seems pretty intense.

Big Mac #1
7 months ago

Off topic but what they made a 4×25 relay either medley or free. Wouldn’t that be fun?

7 months ago

Why these arbitrary rules to make them slower tho

NOT the frontman of Metallica
Reply to  Anonymoose
7 months ago

I did not know flipturns where forbidden, if that’s true, the 200m world record of 1.58 is even more impressive than I first thought

Corn Pop
Reply to  Anonymoose
7 months ago

Mostly its not a pool but a course cut out of the ice . The depths are deep dark & swimmers could disappear.

Reply to  Anonymoose
7 months ago

Diving into that temp of water can create a dangerous shock to the body that easing in does not.

Probably similar with flips and prolonged submerging re: disorientation.

It’s meant as safety precautions to make the swims about speed, not about who can push their bodies the closest to a dangerous situation and come out ahead. Seems far from arbitrary

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Blackflag82
7 months ago

Ohh that makes sense. I saw that line about not diving and it felt almost mean – always seems easier to just jump in! – but that’s in 60-80 degree water.

NOT the frontman of Metallica
7 months ago

With the postponement of FINA world championships, can we expect some big names and records at these?

About Yanyan Li

Yanyan Li

Although Yanyan wasn't the greatest competitive swimmer, she learned more about the sport of swimming through scoring countless dual meets, being a timer, and keeping track of her teammates' best times for three years as a team manager. She eventually ventured into the realm of writing and joined SwimSwam in …

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