“To set world records, you got to push boundaries. And I think I pushed very very close to the edge this time.” Ryan Stramrood.

Along on my trip to Antarctica I met six crazy and very inspiring South Africans that had one goal! To swim a mile (1,6 km) in The freezing Antarctic Ocean only wearing freaking Speedos!

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My first reaction was purely – WHY? why would some one expose oneself to that. For normal human beings staying in extrem cold water around 1 degree Celsius can simply cause hypothermia and you and I would probably die pretty quickly!

However Ram, Andrew, Kieron, Ryan, Toks and Gavin, were planning to swim for at least 20-35 minutes! Yaiks!
But off they jumped from the ship only wearing Speedos, goggles and a swim cap! The expedition team followed and coached them in both zodiacs and sea kayaks! The madness was on!

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This is probably the most reckless thing I’ve seen for a very long time and while standing on the bridge following them from the ship I suddenly couldn’t stand observing this madness! However something kept me there and while they were returning towards the ship I could see that one could hardly swim anymore, he only used one arm the other arm was numb, another one didn’t use his legs they were just totally pale and were hanging after him as dead weight, a third one had lost his orientation, another one was pulled out of the ice cold water more dead than alive!

Ryan says: “our prime mission was to set a new world record for the first swim ever south of the Antarctic Circle. Due to the weather we missed this goal, but the 3 of us succeed in completing the first official ice mile that far south.”

Ryan swam for 32 minutes and completed the mile, the water temperature was -1C and as far as they know this is the longest distance EVER in water that cold!

After that comes the state of recovery! To that Ryan notes:

“Recovery facilities are not what we hoped they would be. There is no sauna, no medical equipment beyond the very basic, the expedition doctor is not well-versed in hypothermic recoveries, no emergency evacuations possible, no real way to heat the cabins, no hot water bottles, thermals etc.”

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Despite the conditions they all recovered very well! Here you can read Ryan’s own blog diary from the whole trip.

If you want to look into what these Ice Swimmers are up to, then take a look at their Facebook Page and give them som respect for simply challenging the performances of both body and mind and believing in doing the impossible!
Rock on guys!

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All photos are taken by photographer David Merron.