Hundreds of brave swimmers took to the icy waters of England's largest freshwater swimming pool on Saturday for the Cold Water Championships at Tooting Bec Lido in south London.
The water was only 37 degrees, according to The Guardian, but that didn't stop more than 400 swimmers from jumping in wearing just their bathing suits -- and their wacky costumes.
In the warmer months, Tooting Bec Lido -- a tree-lined outdoor pool built in 1906 -- can be a pleasant place to take a dip. But in the winter, it's a watering hole for only the most dedicated cold-weather swimmers.
"We often have to break the ice before we get in," lifeguard Brian Lodge told The Telegraph.
At the championships, racers as old 88 and as young as 7 took part in a number of events, capped off by a brutal 500-yard "endurance race," which requires swimmers to complete five frosty lengths in the frigid pool.
Though hypothermia is certainly a risk, many people find cold-water swimming to be "euphoric," according to the website of the South London Swimming Club, which hosts the event.
"It's the most fabulous sensation of being alive," event organizer Margy Sullivan told the press. "It stays with you all day and that's why we do it."
Read more at The Guardian and The Telegraph.
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