Courtesy of WOWSA at the 2017 Ice Swimming Aqua Sphere World Championships in Burghausen, Germany.

There was arguably no one more nervous about entering the ice kilometer at the 2017 Ice Swimming Aqua Sphere World Championships in Burghausen, Germany than 51-year-old Anna Ray DeLozier.

While her pedigree in the open water was excellent with a fast Catalina Channel crossing (8 hours 35 minutes in 2006), competitive Manhattan Island Marathon Swim (8 hours 9 minutes in 2014) and a handful of S.C.A.R. Challenges in Arizona, the swimmer raised in Southern California who was a newcomer to the sport. She did not grow up in the cold, but spent a good amount of her career in warm pools at the University of Cincinnati and later as a masters swimmer training in the desert of Arizona.

But ice swimming was something she wanted to try upon moving to Germany with her husband, Andrew.

Her acclimatization was not easy. The Air Force contract specialist had to train herself with the support of Andrew who would drive her to a local pond and watch her swim lonely laps back and forth as the air and water temperatures gradually fell through the fall and winter. “I was so cold after getting out of the water. Andrew blasted the heater in the car. I know he was so warm, but by the time, we got home, I was generally warmed back up.”

She looks – and is – very nervous,” said Andrew during breakfast before the ice kilometer. “But I think when she gets to the pool and feels the ambiance of the event and sees the other swimmers, she will be fine.”

I trained by myself, trying to go in cold water near my home on the weekends. But I also did a ice swimming camp [Aqua Camps Extremschwimmer] with Christof Wandratsch and Stefan Hetzer that really helped me,” described the 51-year-old ice swimming trooper.

By the time the Ice Swimming Aqua Sphere World Championships came around, DeLozier was as ready as she could ever be. She and Andrew had a lot to think about as they drove 8 hours through the snow from their home in Germany to the Wöhrsee, near the German-Austrian border in Bavaria.

And it was clear that she was ready for the 1000-meter swim in 2.8°C (37°F), racing against many women, most of whom were less half her age especially in the Top 10.

She was clearly ready by the time her heat was called from the ready room to go the starting line,” observed Steven Munatones. “She put in the necessary work in her local lake and seem to feed off the energy of her fellow competitors. The cautious smile she greeted everyone at breakfast was replaced to a focused look that was balanced by a genuinely warm-hearted smile.”

Swimmers remove your clothes,” instructed the race starter. It was time.

DeLozier calmly removed her parka in the freezing temperature and slipped into the water with a calm that was reminiscent of her day as a fast age group swimmer in Southern California. In the final heat against the formidable Germans and young professional swimmers, she simply got in the water without hesitation and held a steady pace throughout. She swam controlled and looked strong from start to finish, completing the swim in 14:47.80, placing sixth overall [see results below].

It was nice,” she said after the race. “It was cold of course, and it was hard towards the end, but I felt good.”

* Ice Swimming Aqua Sphere World Championships Top 10 Women’s Results:

1. Julia Wittig (Germany) 13:13.58
2. Ines Hahn (Germany) 13:34.83
3. Victoria Mori (Argentina) 14:13.10
4. Elina Makïnen (Finland) 14:34.31
5. Sabrina Wiedmer (Switzerland) 14:35.38
6. Anna DeLozier (USA) 14:47.80
7. Jessie Campbell (Great Britain) 14:55.42
8. Magda Okurková (Czech Republic) 15:09.91
9. Renata Nováková (Czech Republic) 15:10.25
10. Sarah Anne Richter (Germany) 15:26.62

SuperFinal Results of Women’s 200m Freestyle in 3.4°C (38°F) [no dive start, no flip turns]
1 Ines Hahn (GER) 2:22.5
2 Sarah Anne Richter (GER) 2:31.6
3 Anna DeLozier (USA) 2:40.1
4 Victoria Mori (ARG) 2:41.1
5 Birgit Bonauer (GER) 2:55.0

Photo shows Delozier in post-ice kilometer wet sauna with fellow American ice swimmers Elaine Howley [middle] and Jaimie Monahan [left].

Video shows Delozier competing with her fellow ice swimmers.

Copyright © 2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association