Ram Barkai, a Guinness record holder, the founder of the Ice Swimming Association says that if you are healthy and can swim – anybody can swim 100m through ice
Cold water became a challenge for Ram in South Africa, where he grew up, where they have cold water all year round. There was a myth that only a few “elite” can swim in cold water, but Ram decided to break the myth.
In 2007 he heard about a trip to Alaska to swim a mile in cold water. It took him a year to organize it.
Ram swims in some pretty extreme temperatures. He says that in Antarctica, where Lynn Cox did her first swim (she was also his inspiration for that swim) he had the coldest temperature – -1 degree.
A funny story is about Ram’s famous picture of diving with his red swimwear that went into the Guinness book of records. It was actually taken on the last day. Ram wanted to have a nice picture of himself diving into the water, but he found out he forgot his speedo, so this is actually his red Israely underwear.
In the second part of the interview Ori Sela asks Ram for some tips for ice swimming.
1. Research – read, ask people, study other people who have experience.
2. Recovery is part of the swim, and it can take up to a few hours.
3. First of all – get dry. Ram likes the sun on his skin, and other people like other things, but if you go into cocoon mode with 3 layers on your body will not recover the way it should.
4. Breathe! It’s important to control your breathing.
5. Ram doesn’t swim with a cap most of the time. He says after ten strokes you feel like your head is going to explode, but you get used to it. He is trying to keep hard, and this is why he doesn’t use the cap, a nose clip or ear plugs. Sometimes he doesn’t even take a hot shower after.
6. What do you eat before ice swimming? Ram likes to have a nice cup of coffee, and before big swims he eats simple foods – a lot of chicken and rice and vegetables.
7. Nutrition is important regardless of the water temperature. Ram recommends to eat health, eat what you feel comfortable with. When more professional athletes get into ice swimming, Ram says, they will probably research what foods give you an advantage. Don’t drink anything too hot, and not anything cold.
8. Work on you swimming technique.
Ram is relatively skinny for an ice swimmer, so that might limit his distance, but he can take the cold just like people much heavier than him.
News source: www.swim-west.com/ram-barkai-ori-sela-ice-swimming/