“I don’t look forward to spring because then the ice swimmer season is over.”
Lily Sølvig Wedel Krambeck, 8
“Ice swimming is a pretty common thing here,” Hjorth explains. “Denmark is a small country with many islands, and the sea is never more than few hours away. Summertime and high temperatures only last a few months so if you want to enjoy the water you have to get used to the cold.”
“Some kids stay in the water for only a moment; none of the children remain for much longer than 15 seconds. In the really cold winter months, most children only do one dip. After the swim they would find their towels and get inside for a hot shower and maybe a cup of tea, but no hot chocolate–the teacher believed that the kids should learn that they didn’t need a reward for ice swimming, that the swimming was the reward itself.”
Compare what you have just read to attitudes here in England. Children are not encouraged to enjoy natural waters but are constantly warned against it. Drowning prevention week runs from June 21st to 29th. Good advice is given pointing outdoor swimmers to life-guarded swimming lakes, but these are few and far between.
Young children should of cause be supervised, but recognized and popular bathing areas in rivers and lakes are essential in the quest to increase open water confidence and reduce drownings. On a hot sunny day what could be more attractive than a swim in the great outdoors? Young ‘Tom Sawyers’ will want to paddle and swim if they can, but when relatively safe swimming areas are placed out of bounds they will seek out discrete locations, out of sight perhaps but more dangerous certainly. Attitudes need to change and society more inclusive. The River and Lake Swimming Association along with the Outdoor Swimming Society are doing their best to turn the tide of prejudice. This it is hoped will do much for the health and safety of the nations outdoor swimmers.
“People say that ice swimming gives you a better immune system.”
Carl Ryskov Aagesen, 12