ONE of the country’s leading ice swimmers is bidding to boost the sport’s popularity in the area following a £4,000 grant.
Kate Steels-Fryatt, of Bishop’s Waltham, has helped acquire the thousands to go towards building a sauna at Andark Lake in Swanwick.
The lake, which played host to the first UK ice swimming championships last year, will also become the home of a new ice swimming club called Swanwick Seals.
Kate, of Ashton Close, is one of Great Britain’s best ice swimmers and recently took part in the Ice Swimming World Championships in Burghausen, Bavaria last month.
She finished fourth in the 45 to 50 age category and is now hoping to drum up further interest in the sport, which is one of the fastest growing in the world.
Kate, who works for Hampshire County Council, said the sauna would be the ‘icing on the cake’ for ice swimmers using the lake.
A sauna is perfect for us as it is seen as one of the safest ways for us to warm up following a swimKate Steels-Fryatt, ice swimmer
She said: ‘A sauna is perfect for us as it is seen as one of the safest ways to warm up following a swim.
‘It will help people recover safely and hopefully encourage more people to use the lake or take up the sport if they know that it’s here for them to use.’
Andark is a diving lake, which is specially used as a training facility for scuba diving. The lake is currently home to a side building that provides toilets, changing rooms and conference facilities, which is where the sauna will be based.
It will be paid for via a £4,000 grant from Hampshire County Council.
Kate added: ‘We just want more people to know that there is this great facility here for them and that they should come and give the sport a go.
‘With a sauna, the lake will be the safest place for ice swimming on the south coast of England. It’s the icing on the cake.’
The mum-of-one previously completed one of her lifetime goals last September after swimming the English Channel.
On average, she trains at the facility twice a week.
Rory Fitzgerald, a fellow ice swimmer, who finished first in the age category of 55 and over at the world championships said the sauna will be a big help.
The ice swimmer from Timsbury, near Romsey said: ‘When doing ice swimming, it’s important not to heat the blood too quickly after a swim, such as by having a hot shower.
‘A sauna will gradually do this over time, and it will be just what we need here. It’s fantastic news.’