Swimmers from around the world took part in the GB International Ice Swimming Association Championships this weekend.

It was held at Sandford Parks Lido in Cheltenham with 100 competitors swimming in water at around five degrees Celsius (41F).

The competition attracted swimmers from the UK, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia.

Specially trained doctors were on hand to ensure the safety of the competitors.

Michele Lane, from Essex, won medals for being the fastest female in the 1000m freestyle and 500m front crawl.

“I feel brilliant once I’ve done it and I love it and could chat all day about it but before it – we do faff a lot,” she said.

“We know it’s going to be awful. It’s going to be painful, but worth it.”

Swimming coach Laura Nesbitt also claimed gold in her age group at the weekend and said she valued the social aspect of the sport.

“There are huge communities building around outdoor spaces and I think that’s really important,” she said.

“Our exit from Covid taught us that we really need to shift our lifestyle and this sport supports that shift.”

Simon Griffiths has been running the Outdoor Swimmer Magazine for the past decade and said it had been interesting to see how the sport has changed in that time.

“We’ve seen a growing realisation of the mental and well-being benefits of swimming in cold water,” he said.

“We share stories of people who have had life-changing experiences in cold water.”

Fenwick Ridley, nicknamed the “Ice Viking”, said he loved coming back to Sandford Parks Lido.

“It’s nice to come back and compete here again. Bumping back into the friends of cold water is really what it’s all about.”

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