Swimmers Brave Chilly Waters in Annual Prague Race

Dozens of hardy swimmers took a very cold Christmas dip in Prague’s Vltava river on Sunday.

It was the 75th edition of the event which commemorates the life of Alfred Nikodém, who was a goldsmith and a promoter of the Spartan lifestyle.

The water and air temperatures were 3.5 and -1 degrees Celsius.

The swim took place under tight anti-virus measures, with swimmers getting tested for Covid-19 and having to wear masks when not swimming.

Swimmers from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Germany, Britain, Austria, the USA and Russia took part in the competition.

The competition takes place between two islands, the Slovanský and Strelecky islands. Along the entire route specialists observe the race and are ready to act if they detect hypothermia in participants.

As participants completed the races, they dried off on the Slavonic Island where the prize ceremony took place in the Renaissance Zofin Palace.

Last year, the race took place despite anti-pandemic measures. The water was 5.8 degrees a year ago, the air temperature was 1.8 degrees. Also this year, only those who have recovered from Covid-19, who are vaccinated or, have submitted a negative PCR test, could participate.

Winter swimming was first seen in Prague in 1923 when he and six other enthusiasts plunged into the freezing cold Vltava River watched by a crowd of stunned on-lookers.

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