Courtesy of Hansjörg Ransmayr, Vienna, Austria.

Hansjörg Ransmayr, a promoter of white water swimming, recently swam the white water channel in Vienna in his native Austria.

And he has great audacious plans to organize a race in the same venue this coming September.

Whitewater swimming is a discipline of open water swimming where an individual swims down a river or a man-made white water venue in rough water conditions where there is an elevated risk of injury and various degrees of challenge.

Based on the International Scale of River Difficulty, a system used to rate the difficulty of navigating a stretch of river or a single rapid, white water swimming can be evaluated by the six grades of difficulty used in white water rafting. The grades range from simple to very dangerous and potential death or serious injuries.

International Scale of River Difficulty
Class 1: Very small rough areas, might require slight maneuvering that requires a very basic skill level.
Class 2: Some rough water, maybe some rocks, might require some maneuvering that requires a basic paddling skill level.
Class 3: Small waves, maybe a small drop, but no considerable danger that may require significant maneuvering and some experience in rafting skills.
Class 4: Whitewater, medium waves, maybe rocks, maybe a considerable drop where sharp maneuvers may be needed and exceptional rafting experience is required.
Class 5: Whitewater, large waves, large volume, possibility of large rocks and hazards, possibility of a large drop, that require precise maneuvering and a full mastery of rafting skills.
Class 6: Class 6 rapids are considered to be so dangerous that they are effectively unnavigable on a reliably safe basis. Rafters can expect to encounter substantial whitewater, huge waves, huge rocks and hazards, and/or substantial drops that will impart severe impacts beyond the structural capacities and impact ratings of almost all rafting equipment. Traversing a Class 6 rapid has a dramatically increased likelihood of ending in serious injury or death.

For more information, visit www.alpine-swimming.com.

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