Information courtesy of Ram Barkai of the International Ice Swimming Association. Video courtesy of Sergey Sobolev of the Yakutsk Divers Club.

First there was the Seven Summits: Kilimanjaro (5,892m in Africa), Vinson Massif (4,892m in Antarctica), either Kosciuszko (2,228m) or Carstensz Pyramid (4,884m in Australia), Mount Everest (8,848m in Asia), Elbrus (5,642m in Europe), Mount McKinley (6,194m in North America), and Aconcagua (6,962m in South America).

Then came the Oceans Seven: the English Channel (between England and France), the North Channel (between Scotland and Ireland), the Catalina Channel (between Catalina Island and Southern California), the Molokai Channel (between Oahu and Molokai Islands in Hawaii), the Tsugaru Channel (between Honshu and Hokkaido islands in Japan), the Cook Strait (between North and South islands in New Zealand), and the Strait of Gibraltar (between Spain and Morocco).

Now comes the Ice Sevens Challenge or simply the Ice Sevensice swimming‘s equivalent of the Oceans Seven.

Conceived Ger Kennedy, a swimmer must complete an Ice Mile under standard ice swimming rules (i.e., no wetsuit and no neoprene hat) in seven different locations around the globe.

Each of the seven ice swims must be ratified or recognized by the International Ice Swimming Association:

o An Ice Mile swum below 5ºC (41ºF) in any location in Europe
o An Ice Mile swum below 5ºC (41ºF) in any location in Oceania
o An Ice Mile swum below 5ºC (41ºF) in any location in Asia
o An Ice Mile swum below 5ºC (41ºF) in any location in North America
o An Ice Mile swum below 5ºC (41ºF) in any location in Africa
o An Ice Mile swum below 5ºC (41ºF) in any location in South America
o An Ice Mile swum below 5ºC (41ºF) in any Polar location at 60º south or below or 70º north or above
o One of the seven Ice Miles must be a documented Zero Ice Mile (defined as a solo mile swim performed at below 1ºC)

The official announcement is posted on the International Ice Swimming Association website here. Founder Ram Barkai describes the reason for the challenge, “One of the main reason for the ICE 7s was to introduce a global challenge and encourage ICE Milers to travel and break the ICE all over the world. Not only in their frozen backyards. The ICE bring people together…and bond-freeze them for life.”

Co-creator Kennedy lives and swims in the ice. This year, he not only came up with the Ice Sevens concept and competed in the 2016 Winter World Swimming Championships in Tyumen, Russia and Big Chill Swim in Windermere, England, but he also completed a 52m Under Ice Swimming challenge in water -1ºC (30.2ºF) in the Lena River in Yakutsk, Russia [see video below] and completed a 60-minute Ice Bath Challenge in Dublin, Ireland.

Kennedy was nominated for the 2016 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year among the following inspirational individuals:

1. Roger Finch (South Africa)
2. Seti Afoa (Samoa)
3. Tomi Stefanovski (Macedonia)
4. Edoardo Stochino (Italy)
5. Ferry Weertman (Netherlands)
6. Nejib Belhedi (Tunisia)
7. Ger Kennedy (Ireland)
8. Alex Kostich (USA)
9. Masayuki Moriya (Japan)
10. Colin Hill (Great Britain)
11. Ingemar Patiño Macarine (Philippines)
12. Lewis Pugh (Great Britain)
13. Christof Wandratsch (Germany)

To vote for the WOWSA Awards, visit here. Online voting continues until December 31st 2016.

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