A Cabinteely man has become the first man in world to complete the Gruelling “Ice 7” swimming challenge.
The Ice 7s is created by the International Ice Swimming Association (IISA), where a swimmer has to complete an Ice Mile (1610 meters) in each of the seven continents, with water temperatures sub 5c.
The mile can be in inland water-mass or at its shores, and the icing on the cake is that one of the seven ice miles must be an Ice Zero mile, at water temperatures sub 1c.
It also must be done under standard ice swimming rules, which means no wetsuit and no neoprene hat.
Ger Kennedy (49) from Cabinteely completed the Ice 7 challenge on 4 October 2019, taking him seven years to achieve.
He is the first man to complete the challenge. Jaimie Monahan from USA was the first person, and woman, to complete the Ice 7s Challenge in July 2017.
The dad-of-two told Dublin Gazette that he started the challenge in February 2013 and finished it in October 2019.
Ger said it feels “surreal” to have completed the challenge.
“[It feels] surreal as [I] wouldn’t have thought after struggling with my first Ice Mile in 2013 that my journey would take me so far.
“I was a Triathlete for some time before I ditched the wet suit.
[I have competed] in many other open water swimming competitions, especially long distance from 10km to 35km distances.”
Ger shared the highs and lows of the Ice 7 challenge.
“The travelling has been amazing and meeting some amazing people.
“I found it very hard on my body due to the tough training and extreme conditions, also travelling to southern hemisphere for their winter, while it was our summer.”
He said his wife and two daughters were very supportive.
“[They were] very supportive and allowed a lot of time off from our family run company G&E Pumps.”
Founder of International Ice Swimming Association, Ram Barkai, congratulated Ger on his incredible achievement.
He told Dublin Gazette: “The ICE7s is a tough challenge that requires not only to swim an ice mile in each continent, but also to identify a location where the water will be below 5C, with all the safety and logistics involved.
“It’s an adventure which combines a very tough swim in remote locations. The Ice 7s takes you to magnificent places, that take your breath away, visually and literally.
“Ger is a tough swimmer, and his achievement is amazing. Well done to him on behalf of IISA.”