West Kelowna  

Iceman swims in Okanagan Lake

Angelique Duffield from Bright Spark Media sent us this press release about a man on a mission:

Have you ever experienced freezing cold, wet hands after skiing or playing in the snow? Now imagine immersing your whole body in ice-cold water for 30 minutes or more, and doing so voluntarily.

That is what West Kelowna swimmer Paul Duffield plans to do this Sunday. Paul plans to attempt to become Canada’s first Ice Swimmer - an honour held by only 25 other swimmers worldwide. The rules set out by the International Ice Swimming Association (IISA) state that he must complete a 1 mile swim in water colder than 5*C only wearing a single cap and swimsuit (no wetsuit).

He might as well be naked.

If successful it will be Canada's first ice swim. After completion of the swim, Paul will have to officially apply for membership to the IISA and submit documentation from the swim for official verification, which includes a medical, witness statements, as well as swim details with video or photography evidence.

Ensuring Paul’s safety is of utmost importance. Paul and his wife Angelique have worked out a routine that started back in the fall. As the weather and water temp dropped, more safety support was added, including a kayaker to monitor Paul’s motor function and skin colour, which are early signs of hypothermia. And for the official ice swim attempt there will be a doctor on shore who is also a fellow open water swimmer. Paul recently underwent medical tests and an EKG to ensure he was fit to undertake the challenge.

As the weather turned wintery over the last few weeks and Paul continued his open-water training in Gellatly Bay, joggers and dog walkers stopped by to ask what was going on. A kayaker even asked “are you crazy, or did you lose a bet?”

Lots of people are curious to know what Paul is training for. They are shocked when they learn that he is training for an ice swim...and no, he is not wearing a wetsuit.

Paul was to attempt a practice swim last weekend, but the blustery winds forced him to call off the swim. The weather cleared somewhat by afternoon, so in an effort to stay focused on the swim Paul kayaked himself to map out the distance across the bay.

“There was a few inches of snow on the ground, so we were an odd sight at the beach that day. Someone parked next to us asked if he could take our photo. He couldn’t believe Paul had been kayaking in the winter. Imagine the man’s surprise when we told him that Paul had planned to swim that day in only a swimsuit and swim cap.”

The attempt will take place weather permitting at Gellatly Bay in West Kelowna on Sunday December 23.

We invite you to attend the event, or contact us with any questions or for an interview. Unfortunately we cannot guarantee a start time, but hope it will take place between 10am and noon.

Check out Paul's Blog for more info.

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