Supported by Swim Ireland, the Eastern Bay Invitational Ice Mile Swim is the world’s longest running ice mile swim. Since the first event in 2013, the club has presented 57 ice miles. The event was suspended in 2021 due to covid but this year, returned to the beautifully refurbished Clontarf Outdoor Pool on 29th January, and swimmers came from all over Ireland for the challenge.
Unfortunately for those wanting to claim an official Ice Mile, the water temperature remained stubbornly above the 5-degree threshold required for recognition by the International Ice Swimming Association. Nevertheless, a mile in 8-degree water is still a challenging proposition and all participants decided to continue with the event. Full safety measures were put in place to ensure the swimmers enjoyed, not endured, the challenge.
The fastest swims of the day were achieved by Ned Denison and John Ryan, who both completed the swim in 25:22, and were awarded joint first place. The fastest female swimmer was Jackie O’Connor, in 26:23, who finished in 4th place overall. Event organiser Fergal Somerville was next home in 27:05.
The event is by invitation only but is still regularly oversubscribed. Participants are expected to follow an agreed training protocol in preparation for the day and sign a declaration confirming their fitness to take part. Strict time cut-offs are in place to ensure no swimmers exceed the 45-minute time limit for the swim.
Outdoor Swimmer has been a supporter of the event since it started and each year offers a free subscription to a swimmer selected by the organisers. This year’s award went to Dublin swimmer Mark Rush. Mark has been training in the cold water for three years but his previous attempts were foiled first by warm conditions (7.2 degrees in 2020) and then by covid. Then, two weeks prior to the Eastern Bay even, Mark completed the mile in 4.7C water in Clontarf. However, as that swim happened during training and not under the strict requirements required for registering an international ice mile, the swim isn’t officially recognised. Apart from his cold water training, Mark has competed in the Leinster Open Sea swims and is taking on more and more distance swims, earning him recognition among the Dublin swimming community for his dedication to the sport.
Saturday 7th February 2023 is the date for the 11th Eastern Bay Invitational International Ice Mile Swim in Clontarf.