What Are The Ice Swimming Rules In The Winter Olympics?

Commentary courtesy of WOWSA. Video courtesy of ICE Swimming Burghausen by www.hd-porduction.at.

Thinking ahead…and wondering out loud:

China is the site of the next Winter Olympics, officially XXIV Olympic Winter Games, and is scheduled for February 4th – 20th 2022 in Beijing and around the neighbouring Hebei province.

If an ice swimming competition were added to the next Winter Olympics and other future Winter Olympic Games, what could possibly be the proposed rules and qualification process? Who would adjudicate these rules?

It makes most sense – and the only way to go – is to work within the existing infrastructure and entities. That is, ice swimmers can use the same fundamental rules and processes utilized by FINA for the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim and the International Ice Swimming Association for its Ice Kilometer race at the International Ice Swimming Association World Championships.

The parameters could include the following:

Event
A men’s and women’s 1 km ice swimming competition

Course
A 25-meter pool carved out of a frozen lake or river with 8 competitive lanes

Number of Athletes
8 men and 8 women selected from the previous year’s World Ice Swimming Championships

Rules of Competition
* 8 athletes swim 40 lengths of freestyle in the 25m pool
* In-the-water start (i.e., no dive start) is mandatory with one hand placed on wall and feet off the bottom of the pool
* Open turns are required at each wall (i.e., no flip turns or underwater streamlining off wall is allowed)
* Electronic timing is done by Omega Timing
* Each athlete is supported by their second, positioned at the opposite end of the start
* Water temperature must be below 5°C (or 41°F)
* After start instructions (i.e., “Swimmers take off your clothes. Enter the water.”) are declared by the Starter, the athletes must immediately enter the water and place one hand on edge of pool

Swimwear
* Swim briefs or jammers allowed for men
* FINA-approved tech suits for women are allowed
* Only one rubber or silicon swim cap permitted of standard thickness; no bubble caps or neoprene swim caps are allowed
* Ear plugs permitted; no additional equipment or neoprene allowed

Qualification Process
* Host country is allowed one automatic qualifier, both male and female
* Remaining 7 male and 7 female finalists are selected from the previous year’s Ice Kilometer world championships, limited to a maximum of 2 individuals per country

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