Over 800 brave cold water winter swimmers smashed the 5.6C water at the Big Chill Swim event on Lake Windermere in Cumbria, England.

The event started 2 years ago (2013) and has gained a huge popularity and growth since then. The beautiful Lake District venue in front of Low Wood Bay Hotel and Marina on Windermere offers a fantastic place for such a vibrant event.

This event is another sign of how open water swimming continues grow in the UK.

This year´s entrants came from all around the UK, Ireland, Latvia, Germany, Russia, France, Finland and USA. Swimmers were competing in 30m, 60m, 120m, 450m and 1000m disciplines. The latter one was held on Sunday and it was a very tough test of cold water endurance.

The best result and new record was achieved by German, Christof Wandratsch, a former English Channel world record holder and an avid cold swimmer today. He ended 1000m race at an impressive time of 12:30.5. Mr. Wandratsch has also started his own winter swimming events in southern Germany.

Our founder Borut Strel joined the relay team of Lake District National Park.

They were doing the 4x30m relay race and ended in 2nd place. Our team included swimmers: Tim Duckmanton, Alison Gilchrist, Katy and Borut Strel.

Our guide, swim coach and experienced cold water swimmer Giovanna Richards entered several races including 30m, 60m, 120m and 450m. This was her first time at 450m distance in such cold water and she did incredibly well. See below for the video we made about Giovanna´s swim and the event. Congratulations G! G also runs her own swim coaching school Blue Manta Swimming.

The hardest part of cold water swimming is recovery when you come out.

It depends how long you stay in the water, but the recovery could take up to four times longer than the swim itself. To make the recovery easier Chill Swim put up a nice hot tubs outside so we could get into warmer water after the races.

Mariia Yrjö-Koskinen from Finland is the president of the International Winter Swimming Association and she presented the medals with a few quotes at the end: ´´This event is very special, it’s like we are one big family and We very much look forward to returning again next year.´´

Colin Hill, the event organiser has already announced the entries for 2016 will open on March 1st and both wetsuit and non-wetsuit participants will be able to enter.

We believe Strel Swimming will be there again in 2016 and we look forward to seeing you next!