Thousands of keen swimmers of all ages took the plunge in icy waters recently to set a new record for the largest polar bear dip in Mielno, Poland.
Organised by Centrum Promocji i Informacji Turystycznej Gminy Mieln – the region’s local tourism board – the event aimed to raise awareness of the coastal village as a destination for events outside of the warm summer months, as well as promoting ice swimming in the area and healthy living.
The attempt, which took place in February, marked the highlight of Mielno’s 12th Ice Swimmers Convention, which over the course of three days saw ice swimmers take part in sport activities and discos as well as basking in saunas and hot tubs by the sea.
Following a parade through the streets of Mielno on the final day of the convention, the ice swimmers entered the beach to attempt breaking the world record with a target of 1,352 participants beat – a benchmark that had been set in Kolobrzeg, Poland in 2014.
Hugely popular in the United States as a means of raising money for a charitable organisations, polar bear plunges are held during the winter where participants enter a body of water despite low temperature – in the case of this attempt the water was an icy 4°C.
As noon approached, a grand total of 1,799 brave swimmers, who had come from, Spain, Sweden, Czech Republic, Germany, Ukraine as well as Poland, held their breath and ran into the water to successfully take the record title by an impressive margin.
Speaking after the attempt, Mr Łukasz Molski – the tourism board’s manager and organiser for the event said: “Having successfully set the record as the event organiser has brought me a lot joy, and for our community it's been a great way to promote our city and improve our winter season at the seaside”.