Czechs lead the way in winter swimming

Radio Praha reports: “In other countries people wade into the water and come out fairly quickly but here we train and harden our bodies to withstand the cold. When Finland hosted a world championship in cold water swimming some years ago participants raced on a 25 meter track. When we have races here the shortest track is 100 meters – that’s for beginners. Most of us swim 750 meters or a kilometer.”

 Vladimír Komárek says that he knows from experience that it takes about two years to establish a strong commitment. Some people give up after one season, but after two years they are generally hooked. “I now swim twice a week for 20 minutes - in all kinds of weather. I feel that that’s just about right. Every day would be exhausting and twice is enough to keep me in shape. The coldest I’ve ever swam is in minus 19 degrees Celsius. Of course, you have to break the ice first. And I stayed in for just 15 minutes, but it was well worth it. It is something that sticks in your mind because it is not something that you do often or even every winter.”

People who have built up their resilience to the cold will generally tell you they can’t do without it anymore, never get sick and generally feel much more energized. What they will rarely tell you is the amount of pain which most of them have to overcome from time to time. More…

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