- Title: Ice swimmers take the plunge in Bavaria for chilly championship
- Date: 7th January 2017
- Summary: SWIMMING POOL WITH CASTLE IN BACKGROUND
- Embargoed: 22nd January 2017 14:19
- Keywords: ice swimming races Woehrsee championship
- Location: BURGHAUSEN, GERMANY
- City: BURGHAUSEN, GERMANY
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Human Interest/Brights/Odd News,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA0045Y2YO2H
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: In the Bavarian town of Burghausen, hardy swimmers plunged into icy waters on Saturday (January 7) for the Ice Swimming Aqua Sphere German Open.
Participants braved a water temperature of 2.5 degrees Celsius (36.5 Fahrenheit) in Lake Woehrsee for a series of individual and relay races.
With the air temperature a wintry minus 8 degrees, getting out of the water provided little relief for the exhausted competitors.
"It's ok when you get in. I had so much adrenaline and I think that covers it up a bit. The real pain came when I got out - the first five minutes were really painful," this year's 1000-metre freestyle champion Sebastian Engel told Reuters.
"It's just mind over matter, it's a mental thing," Sebastian's younger brother, 15-year-old Alex, said.
Extra motivation came in the form of enthusiastic crowds, wrapped up in woolly hats and scarves as they cheered the swimmers on.
Heated wooden huts and hot tubs were ready to provide some much-needed warmth after the races.
Swimmers took part at their own risk, but for distances over 500 metres they had to provide an affidavit saying they had swum the relevant distance at a water temperature of below five degrees Celsius in the past 12 months.
No wetsuits or other special swimwear was allowed - only standard swimming trunks and costumes.
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