Ice swimming was formalized and defined by the International Ice Swimming Association in 2009 as open water swimming done without a wetsuit or any form or neoprene in water held in water 5°C or less.
The extreme niche sport – popularized by Ram Barkai and his hardened group of fellow South Africans – quickly grew. It first started to promote the Ice Mile and then expanded to the Ice Kilometer, Ice Sevens and the World Ice Swimming Championships.
Denison explains, “The objective of the Ice Swimming Hall of Fame is to recognize and honor leading ice and icy water swimmers and contributors to the sport. The Ice Swimming Hall of Fame serves as a historic record and provide heroes and role models for future generations.
Eligibility into the Ice Swimming Hall of Fame requires that all swimmers and contributors must have an international body of work over a period of more than 5 years – a requisite period that may increase in time.
For swimmers, it is their record of ice swims (5°C and below) and icy swims (above 5°C) that includes podium finishes in Ice Kilometer races and winter swimming events from 25m to 450m; Ice Miles in inspirational, special locations, unprecedented pioneering swims, high altitude swims, and underwater swims under the ice.
A few exceptions may occur for a single or amazing one-time swim which captures global attention.
All must generally be in traditional open water swimming attire (i.e., briefs, not wetsuits).
For contributors, this includes administrators, organizing bodies, officials, members of governing bodies, media, coaches, environmentalists and event organizers.
Nominations are typically in the form of a single sheet outlining their accomplishments and contributions together with their contact details. Individuals can be nominated for several categories. A nomination – without being selected – is not intended to be made public, is not considered as an honor from the Ice Swimming Hall of Fame and lobbying for selection will discourage voters.”
Nominations can be directly sent via email to Ned Denison at firstname.lastname@example.org. Denison will review the nominations for factual content as eligibility is dependent upon swims and contributions which are recognized by the community and are not actively contested.
The initial selection panel includes Paolo Chiarino of Italy, Ned Denison of Ireland, Elaine Howley of the USA, Pádraig Mallon of Ireland, Leszek Naziemiec of Poland, Kieron Palframan of South Africa, Shelley Taylor-Smith of Australia, and Jonty Warneken of the UK. They will continue as voters for two years (during which they are ineligible for individual honors). All Honor Swimmers and Honor Contributors (with the exception of events) will also become voters.
Denison announced the inductees in the inaugural Class of 2019:
* Honor Swimmer and Honor Contributor – Administrator Ram Barkai of South Africa
* Honor Event Bering Strait Relay from Russia to USA with international participation
* Honor Swimmer Aleksander Brylin of Russia
* Honor Swimmer Henri Kaarma of Estonia
* Honor Swimmer Jaimie Monahan of the USA
* Honor Swimmer Lewis Pugh of Great Britain
* Honor Contributor – Media Steven Muñatones of the USA
* Honor Contributor – Administrator Mariia Yrjö-Koskinen of Finland
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