In my last post, I described how the English Channel team had lost one of our members but couldn’t go into details at that time. Now I want to fill everyone in. As I mentioned in my last post, our teammate Paul Duffield became an Ice Swimmer over the winter. To be officially recognized as such you have to swim in below 5º C water, for a mile, in just a speedo and swim cap. It is incredibly difficult to do, and there are fewer than 100 officially recognized swimmers in the world!
As Canada’s first Ice Swimmer, Paul was honored with an invite to participate in a historic relay swim between Russia and Alaska. It’s an 86km swim that will be taken on by 40 Ice Swimmers from around the world. If they are successful, it will be the first time anyone has successfully swam from the mainland of Russia to the mainland of Alaska.
Given that this was a record breaking opportunity that unfortunately just happens to be happening the exact same week as our English Channel swim, Paul felt that he had to take this once in a lifetime opportunity and the Lake Monsters support that decision completely! Knowing how cold the 8º C water feels when we train, we couldn’t be prouder of Paul both for becoming an Ice Swimmer and for attempting this amazing feat!
Of course, our lake is now too warm for Paul to train in at 10º C, so he has had to start taking unusual steps like filling an 8ft wide kiddie swimming pool with ice and taking ice baths! Kelowna company Interior Ice has sponsored Paul, providing him with free ice to bathe in (probably not a request they deal with every day)!
Paul has developed a real passion for ice swimming and open water swimming in general. This year he was nominated for Male Athlete of the Year at the Kelowna Civic Awards for his ice swimming accomplishments. He is a real inspiration. If you would like to meet Paul and hear more about the Bering Strait swim he is having a meet and greet on May 28th at the Hildebrand Sculpture Gallery (1302 St Paul St) from 5-8pm. Everyone is invited!