An ice mile is not something I would typically consider. However, my left shoulder was still giving me trouble after my 2013 English Channel swim. I couldn’t train for more than an hour without pain. Continuing with my cold water swimming throughout the winter, Marcel van der Togt a Dutch Coach and friend suggested to me I might like to give an ice mile a try. He and Marcel Stroet were organising the first ever Nederlands Ijswemmen Kampioenschap. I said sure, why not!!
The rules for an ice mile are the same as any of the Channel swims. Swim costume, cap and googles (nose clip and ear plugs are optional). The two big differences are of course the distance is only a mile, however, the water must be under 5 degrees Celsius!
I continued to train throughout the winter in the Huizen Haven and de Eem, a harbour and a canal close to my house in Blaricum, Holland. I seemed to be acclimatising to the cold quite well as the temperatures plummeted into December and January. I did get a lot of very strange looks from dog walkers and guests staying at the hotel overlooking the harbour!
The day of the ice mile came around. When I turned up to the pool there was snow on the ground and ice blocks in the swimming pool – put in there for show!! The water temperature was 3.6 degrees Celsius.
Marco de Jonge a fellow swim friend was starting the swim with me at the same time and stopping at one kilometre. An amazing goal and achievement. He and I were left in the warming up tent to get ready. We were both quite nervous as there was a lot of media present as it was the first Ice Swimming Championships to be held in the Netherlands. I always wear my New Zealand swim cap and I had one as a gift for Marco. He was so grateful and said he would wear it today. I said “No, you can’t wear it…the media is here and we can’t both go out in New Zealand swim caps”. “Of course I can” was his direct Dutch reply! We also had exactly the same coloured Zoggs goggles and he had a black Speedo on to complement my black and white New Zealand swim costume! We honestly looked like tall and short twins!!! This exchange calmed us both down though and we laughed.
Pool temperature 3.6 degrees Celsius.
Ice in the pool!
Tracy Clark lane 1 (one mile), Marco de Jonge lane 2 (one kilometre)