BRAVE swimmers are gearing up to take on a chilly challenge as the first ice swimming championships come to a Hampshire lake.
As reported, the UK’s first ever National Ice Swimming Championship – the Great Britain 1km Open – is taking place at Andark Lake in Swanwick on Saturday.
The event has been organised by ice swimming champion, Kate Steels-Fryatt, and it will see the ice swimming championship elite class – who will attend from all over the UK – do qualifying swims before competing and racing the 1km to qualify for a place at the World Championships in Germany in 2017.
Ms Steels-Fryatt, from Bishop’s Waltham, is an International Ice Swimming Association GB board member and she has been using the facilities at Andark to train.
She said: ‘I’m thrilled that ice swimming is coming to my home county and we’re putting the sport well and truly on the map.
‘I have competed in Russia where we have to break the ice to create lanes, although it has been very cold in Hampshire recently, so who knows?’
Ice swimming requires swimmers to take to water of 5C or under wearing only a swimming costume, a pair of goggles and swimming hat.
This is the first time there has been a national UK championship for the sport.
The event takes place at Andark Diving and Watersports, in Bridge Roadd, Swanwick, on Saturday from 9.30am.
The public and community can enter short races to try the sport, on Sunday starting at 9.30am.