Monday, November 25, 2013

What is an "Ice Mile"?

According to the International Ice Swimming Association, the rules for properly swimming an ice mile is:

Swimming unassisted, using only the following equipment:

  1. a single, water permeable swimsuit (no wetsuit)
  2. Silicon swim cap
  3. Goggles
  4. Ear plugs
  5. Channel grease (for protection from chaffing) - which is essential for swimming in the Great Salt Lake

In a water temperature that is 41°F (5°C) or less in open water

  • Water temperature must be taken by three separate thermometers to ensure accuracy of reading

    That spans the distance of one full mile

    • Thus it isn't about how long you are in the water, but how fast you can swim a mile at that temperature.

      In order to successfully complete this quest, an EKG from a Dr is required beforehand (Here's mine), and the swimmer must be familiar with winter swimming and properly acclimatize him/herself to cold water swimming.  The swim must be accompanied by appropriate safety staff, and swim observers that can validate that the swim conforms to the above standards.

      So here is my plan:

      When:  I plan to swim my Ice Mile on Saturday, December 7th, at noon with preparations starting at 11:30am.

      Where: Great Salt Lake Marina, Utah

      Logistics: I will have a buoy located at waist level at the base of the boat ramp and another buoy placed exactly at 0.125 miles (220 yards) out from the boat ramp at the mouth of the marina.  I will use a GPS unit previous to the swim with my observation crew to ensure that the distance is accurate for a .25 mile round trip lap between the two buoys.

      I will have a kayaker along side me during the swim that will paddle 10 feet off to my side to ensure that I am within reach of safety at a moments notice.  I will swim four (4) laps and exit the water, dry off and enter the "recovery vehicle" which will be placed at the base of the boat ramp warmed up and prepared for me to be layered up in blankets and lie down while being monitored by an EMT.   My body temperature will be monitored to ensure that it rises and resumes back to normal.

      Food for thought:  While I genuinely enjoy the cold (until I get hypothermic), many people in our community at this time of year struggle with with the cold and with hunger.

      I have decided to use this swim to promote donations to the Utah Food Bank.  With these donations, many people who fight with the cold winter seasons can receive nourishment that they would not be able to obtain on their own.  Every person's situation is different and it is not our place to judge the why's, but to help those who are in need.  I would encourage us all to donate to helping to feed and clothe the needy year round and not just during the winter seasons.  Please visit my "Sponsor Me" page for more details on how you can help specifically for this event.

      Please join me in providing food for the hungry in Utah!