Courtesy of Päivi Pälvimäki, The Outdoor Association of Finland – Suomen Latu, Peurunka, Laukaa, Finland.

Päivi Pälvimäki is the Winter Swimming Coordinator for The Outdoor Association of Finland – Suomen Latu. She describes an old winter swimming event in Peurunka, Laukaa, Finland.

The inaugural Winter Swimming European Championships will be held between March 1st – 3rd 2019 at the Spa Hotel Peurunka in Peurungan.

The Winter Swimming European Championships will be held once in every other year starting in 2019. Registration is open until February 18th 2019. The races include the following:

March 1st:
50 meter breaststroke
Opening ceremony at the Restaurant Villipeura and Dance

March 2nd:
25 meter breaststroke
50 meter freestyle
4 x 25m freestyle relay
Karaoke at Apollo Bar and Gala at Peurunka Arena and Dance

March 3rd:
25 meter freestyle
4 x 25m breaststroke relay
Awards ceremony

Some of the superstars who may compete include Igor Lukin of Russia, Yaroslav Pronin of Belarus, Aleksandra Bednarek of Poland, Hania Bakuniak of Poland, Nadezhda Dudina of Russia, and Oksana Beletskaya of Russia. The swimmers were either nominated for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year or the World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year awards.

Igor Lukin continued his mastery of the International Winter Swimming World Cup series in pools carved out of the ice in Latvia, Russia, United Kingdom, China, Sweden, and Estonia. The 61-year-old Russian won the overall International Winter Swimming Association World Cup title for the second consecutive season in the row with an impressive 708 points in 2018. He also set age-group world records in the 25m breaststroke (16.87), 50m breaststroke (37.63), 100m breaststroke (1:32.34), 200m breaststroke (3:36.87), 25m freestyle (13.90), 50m freestyle (31.31), and 25m butterfly (15.44).

26-year-old Yaroslav Pronin set a world record in the 25m butterfly at the Jelgava, Latvias Roni Cup in 12.23, in the 100m freestyle at the 2018 Winter Swimming World Championships in Tallinn, Estonia in 54:38, and in the 200m freestyle at the Russian Pacific Open Cup in Vladivostok, Russia in 2:02:59 during 2018. The Belarus native demonstrated his speed by handily winning the 25m, 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle races and the 25m butterfly, and finished 2nd in the 25m and 50m breaststroke, and 6th in the 100m breaststroke at the 11th Winter Swimming World Championships in 2018 in Tallinn, Estonia and set age group records in the 25m freestyle (11.26), 50m freestyle (24.87), 100m freestyle (54.38), 200m freestyle (2:02.59), and 25m butterfly (12.23).

Aleksandra Bednarek, a 20-year-old Polish swimmer from Łódź, represents the Polish Ogrodnik Team and set two world records at the 2018 Winter Swimming World Championships in Tallinn, Estonia in the 50m breaststroke (37.89) and 200m breaststroke (3:00.53), and an age group record in the 100m breaststroke (1:27.21).

The 22-year-old Hania Bakuniak entered the winter swimming community in 2018 and swam her way into the record books. She won the 1 km ice kilometer championship at the 2018 Ice Swimming Aqua Sphere German Open in a new world record of 13:05.7 – that would rank her 7th overall among men. She won the 50m freestyle, the 200m breaststroke, the 50m butterfly, and the 500m freestyle at the prestigious 2018 Ice Swimming Aqua Sphere German Open. She also won the 100m freestyle, finished 3rd in the 50m freestyle and 200m freestyle and 4th in the 450m race at the 11th Winter Swimming World Championships in Tallinn, Estonia and later in summer completed a 32.3 km crossing of the Catalina Channel in 10 hours 19 minutes.

Nadezhda Dudina from Ufa, Bashkortostan is one of the fastest septuagenarian open water swimmers in the world – and its fastest winter swimming among 70-year-olds. She won the 2017 – 2018 International Winter Swimming Association World Cup circuit in the 70 – 74 year age group and holds 4 age group world records in the 100m breaststroke, 200m breaststroke, 200m freestyle, 450m freestyle, 3 of which were established in 2018. She competed in every single individual event at the 2018 International Winter Swimming Association World Championships in Tallinn, Estonia where she took first place in her age group in the 450m freestyle, 200m breaststroke, and 100m breaststroke, and took 2nd in the 200m freestyle, 100m freestyle and 25m butterfly, and 3rd in the 50m freestyle and 50m breaststroke. During 2018, she also completed her 10th consecutive Murmansk Mile (1.2 km Murmanskaja Mila) across Kola Bay over this decade in 8°C water and swam in Lake Baikal in her native Russia.

Oksana Beletskaya from Vladivostok, Russia won the 2018 International Winter Swimming World Cup overall title with 641 points over 614 competitors from 40 countries while setting age-group world records in the 50m breaststroke (42.71), 100m breaststroke (1:35.02), and 200m breaststroke (3:23.77). At the 2018 Winter Swimming World Championships in Tallinn, Estonia, the 41-year-old finished 23rd overall in the 25m breaststroke, 10th overall in the 50m breaststroke, 8th overall in the 100m breaststroke, and 4th overall in the 200m breaststroke.

For more information about the Championships, contact Tiina Björk via email at tiina.bjork@peurunka.fi. To register, visit here.

To vote for the WOWSA Awards, visit here to vote online.

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