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People frolic in icy water

SWIMMING in ice-cold water has become a widespread sporting activity in Slovakia and some traditional events like a St Stephen’s Day swim or welcoming the New Year with a ritual “cold water purification” are repeated annually.

Winter swimming in Motyčky.Winter swimming in Motyčky. (Source: Sme)

SWIMMING in ice-cold water has become a widespread sporting activity in Slovakia and some traditional events like a St Stephen’s Day swim or welcoming the New Year with a ritual “cold water purification” are repeated annually.

At the Motyčky pod Dono-valmi dam in Banská Bystrica region, more than 60 winter swimmers gathered to enjoy a St Stephen’s Day (December 26) swim in cold water. The air temperature was -1° C and the water was measured at 7° C. The Ice Games at Motyčky are held annually and are attended not only by the “Polar Bear” club in Banská Bystrica but also by people from all over Slovakia. The club boasts the greatest number of members in Slovakia, with around 100 to 120 attending the winter events. They say that the colder the water, the better the experience.

“I’ve gotten rid of a chronic cold because my immunity system has changed,” winter swimmer Milan Lichý told the TASR newswire. “Now I can overcome various colds and flu with ease; such troubles avoid me. The ice-cold water scares them away. Of course, it’s also a matter of training,” he explained.

Water with a temperature of 1.4° C at the Báger Lake in Partizánske in Trenčín Region was tested on December 28 by members of “Polar Bear” clubs from various towns and villages in western Slovakia. A total of 77 men, women and children plus one Labrador retriever joined in the pre-New Year’s Eve icy swim that has become a tradition for enthusiasts. The swimmers also praised the good conditions, particularly the presence of snow and ice, which were lacking last year.

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