One way to test your mettle in winter is to take one of those quick penguin plunges in icy water. But some stoic swimmers actually carve pools out of frozen lakes and race each other.
The sport of winter swimming is popular abroad, especially in Russia, Scandinavia and China. But last weekend, a newly formed organization to promote winter swimming in the United States held its first national competition on the Vermont-Quebec border.
Wrapped in down coats, competitors from all over the world waited in a warm lakeside restaurant in Newport, Vt., for the races to start. More than two dozen people from around the country raced in a two lane pool cut into the icy lake.
Hometown favorite Brynna Tucker arrived with a cheering section of family and friends.
“Yeah, it’s acclimating to the cold because most people forget that cold actually feels good,” she says. “If you have a sore knee, if you have a sore elbow, you put an ice pack on it, and the first nine seconds of that, it’s horrible.”
But around the 10th second of swimming in icy water, she says her body shuts down in an oddly relaxing way.
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