Sigrún Geirsdóttir and Harpa Hrund Berndsen completed a seven kilometer (4.3 mile) ocean swim this weekend from Drangey island to the coast of the Reykjanes peninsula, Southwest Iceland, RÚV reports. Both women swim in the ocean year-round, so the water temperature of 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit) did not deter them.
The two swimmers have been planning on swimming the route for three years, but the ocean has always been too cold. “We had decided that if the water temperature went up to around 10 degrees, we would go for it,” Sigrún told RÚV in a radio interview this morning. They contacted the Icelandic Association for Search and Rescue (ICE-SAR), who took them to the island by boat and tailed them during the swim. A humpback whale made an appearance during the boat ride out, but paid little attention to the swimmers.
When asked what she thinks about during a seven-kilometer swim, Sigrún commented that the mind can be one’s best friend or worst enemy, and added it is important to stay positive when the going gets tough.
Both Sigrún and Harpa swim in the ocean year-round. Sigrún states it takes very little time to lose one’s resistance to the cold, so it is important to practice regularly. During the coldest winter days, the two swim for only a few minutes at a time.