SWIMMING an ‘ice mile’ is not for the faint-hearted.
Facing temperatures of less than 5C and wearing just a swimming suit, cap and goggles, Kate Steels-Fryatt has became only the 110th person to complete the challenge.
The 45-year-old, from Bishop’s Waltham, achieved the feat to raise money and awareness for charity Sea-Changers, a marine conservation charity.
Kate, of Ashton Close, said: ‘I had trained hard and focused on the swim. It was incredibly tough and took so much out of me.’
She swam the mile, which was ratified under the International Ice Swimming Association rules, at Andark Lake at the top of the River Hamble.
Kate was accompanied by Rory Fitzgerald, Heather Lunt, Aaron Froom, Matthew Johnston and Lou Walker plus others from Andark Diving Centre and photographer Terry Scott, who watched from the bank.
Kate, a keen open water swimmer, said: ‘The water was 3.9C and wind chill was -1C. I swam a total of 1,650m in just under 33 minutes.
‘My support team were amazing and I couldn’t have done it without them.
‘They provided safety cover while I was in the water and, as soon as I completed the swim, helped me to get changed into lots of layers of warm clothing and to recover.
‘Once I started shivering and shaking they knew I was starting to warm up.’
Kate, a local government employee, said that Andark Dive Lake has supported her as she completed two months of training in preparation.
She said: ‘It’s a great venue for open-water swimming with excellent facilities and the staff have been incredibly supportive – although I do get some curious glances from the divers in dry suits, as they emerge feeling cold while I get into the water in just a cossie!’
Kate, a mum-of-one, has been winter swimming for several years and has been swimming in rivers, the sea and lakes for five days a week to allow her body to acclimatise to the freezing water.
Last year she came second in the Winter Swimming Festival in Jinan Province, China.
Earlier this year she came second in the UK Cold Water Winter Swimming Championships and was also second in an endurance event at the annual Parliament Hill Icy Swim Hootenanny.
Her next challenge is even bigger as she is part of the GB Team taking part in the Ice Swimming World Championships in Murmansk, Russia in March.
A 25m pool will be cut into a frozen lake and swimmers will race over 1km in freezing water while the air could dip as low as -15C.
To donate go to uk.virginmoneygiving.com/KateSteelsFryatt