Win a luxurious spa weekend courtesy of Arla LactoFREE

The IISA fifth World Championship is coming to Samoens, France 12-15 Jan 2023

The International Ice Swimming Association (IISA) is gearing up for its fifth World Championship event this coming January. It is also launching three new ice swimming adventures to Mongolia, Svalbard and Antarctica!

The International Ice Swimming Association (IISA) was founded in 2009, when the term ‘ice swimming’ was first coined. Ice Swimming is swimming in water temperature of 5ºC (41ºF) unassisted wearing only a silicon cap, a pair of goggles and a standard swimming costume.

IISA has established a comprehensive set of safety and swimming rules together with worldwide swim records. IISA has members in 73 countries and Ice Swimmers [1km+] in 43 countries.

The focus is now set on the fifth IISA World Championship coming to Samoens, France 12-15 Jan 2023. Entries are building up rapidly and the event is getting full in a few distance categories.

“It is great to see how professional the sport has become, and I am certain we will see many world records, open, age group and para shattered in our event,” said Ram Barkai, Founder and Chair of the IISA. “We are getting lots of attention and we expect a huge coverage by international media.”

Swim events include 50m and 100m breaststroke, butterfly, freestyle, backstroke; 100m, 250m, 500m and 1,000m freestyle; and four relay races.

Awards ceremonies will be held at lunch breaks and at the end of each day, similar to the Olympic Games. There will be a Gala Dinner on Saturday (dress code is smart casual). Entries close on 15 Dec 2022.

Take an ice swimming trip

IISA has also now launched three ice swimming trips. Participants will be looked after by Ram Barkai, founder of IISA, plus a team of experienced expedition leaders, doctors and their fellow ice swimmers. Ice swimming can be anything from a quick dip to a 1km; you decide. Family, friends and supporters are welcome.

Svalbard [78N last stop to the North Pole] 19-27 August 2023

This ice swimming expedition bases itself in the far northern settlement of Longyearbyen, at the Basecamp Longyearbyen Hotel with its unique sealskin and driftwood decoration. At the glaciers of Isfjorden, participants will have time to acclimatise and join thrilling swim events, supported by follow boats, experienced leaders and a sauna shelter. Swims will be complemented by exciting days on Svalbard with excursions into the ‘Ice Fjord’, including kayaking, trekking and wildlife viewing.

Mongolia – Lake Khovsgol [Lakek Baikal sister lake] 3-11 October 2023

On this nine-day adventure, Mongolia becomes the remote and memorable backdrop for a very special ice swimming adventure. The journey will take participants all the way up north, just below Lake Baikal to its sister, Lake Khovsgol, where they will be looked after by a dynamic and experienced team in Mongolia, Shatra Galbadrakh and Kate Willings, of the boutique travel company, Morindoo. Aside from ice swims, visitors will enjoy traditional Mongolian hospitality and a taste of the exceptional natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, sensory nourishment and sheer astonishing scale of this country.

Antarctica – Into the Antarctic Circle 68S [almost full] 18-28 February 2024

On this 11-day inspiring cruise, sailing on board ice-strengthened M/V Ocean Victory, participants will explore the Great White Continent’s magnificent landscapes, glacial mountains, and incredible wildlife before reaching 66°33ʹ, the Antarctic Circle. For the first time, IISA is planning swims in the icy waters to the south of the Polar Circle (weather permitting), a region of Antarctica that’s rarely visited and offers majestic, pristine surroundings, 24-hour sunshine and icy waters.

Find out more on the IISA websitel the entire event will also be live on IISA TV YouTube. For enquiries relating to the ice swimming trips, please email Keep up with the latest headlines on the Outdoor Swimmer news page.

Stay up to date with The Dip, our free weekly outdoor swimming newsletter.

Jo is the Gear Editor for Outdoor Swimmer and also writes news and features for the website. A keen open water swimmer and long-distance walker, she loves seeking out lakes and lidos close to her home in the Mendip Hills, Somerset. She is the author of The Slow Traveller, editor and founder of independent magazine, Ernest, and has previously tested outdoor clothing and kit for BBC Countryfile Magazine, BBC Focus and Ernest Journal.