Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

When we observe Usain Bolt run, his speed boggles our mind. When we observe Michael Phelps swim, we think, “How does he swim so fast?” When we see other forms of superhuman feats, we are always amazed and humbled how fantastically the human body and mind can perform at the highest levels.

At the 2014 Winter Swimming Championships in Rovaniemi, Finland, we are similarly amazed how far, fast and powerfully these athletes push themselves in water just above freezing.

Magda Okurkova of the Czech Republic swam the fastest 450m endurance swim in Rovaniemi, but all the women who entered are heroines. Without a doubt.

They do things only a very small percentage of humans can do. Additionally, they are all so humble about their mental and physical skills.

The entrants in the 450m endurance swim were as follows with their final times:

*Magda Okurkova (CZE) 6:26.31
*Melissa O’Reilly (USA) 7:21.71
*Cecilia Schutte (RSA) 7:31.45
*Anna-Carin Nordin (SWE) 7:38.04
*Irina Purtova (RUS) 8:13.04
*Tatyana Karas (RUS) 8:17.45
*Alexandra Zamchevskaya (RUS) 8:23.81
*Renata Polanczyk (POL) 8:39.64
*Nataliya Usacheva (RUS) 8:50.84
*Isaeva Marina (RUS) 9:27.00
*Jackie Cobell (GBR) 9:50.99
*Christine Allum (GBR) 10:02.89
*Tatiana Alexandrova (RUS) 10:04.04
*Nedezda Dudina (RUS) 10:38.59
*Anne Marie Ward (IRL) 10:46.96
*Lubov Borisova (RUS) 10:52.66
*Mette Thomsen (DEN) 11:00.30
*Sandra Brettar (GER) 11:31.80
*Olga Golubeva (RUS 11:32.14
*Jitka Pospisilova (CZE) 12:36.78
*Natalya Seraya (RUS) 12:41.49
*Vladimira Fialova (CZE) 12:53.02
*Olga Sokolova (RUS) 13:06.30
*Nuala Moore (IRL) 13:29.00
*Elena Semenova (RUS) 13:42.40
*Jana Matustikova (CZE) 13:42.42
*Marina Schwarz (GER) 22:22.63
*Emma Brown (GBR) DNF
*Margita Lauermannova (SVK) DNF

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