The Responsible Finance Officer for Ringwood Town Council had some chilling news for colleagues this week after announcing he had been selected as one of only 4 swimmers to represent the UK in an International Ice Swimming Competition.

Rory Fitzgerald who has been with Ringwood Town Council for just over 2 years had previously been presented with a trophy by the Town Council after completing a Channel Swim.

This latest challenge will see Rory heading to Murmansk where he will be one of 40 swimmers representing ten nations of which half come from Russia. Just to qualify for the swim contestants must prove they are able to swim 600m in water of 6 degrees C or less. In preparation for the event Rory has been spending up to 30 minutes swimming in the River Avon and will be heading for Snowdonia later this month.

Rory said ‘it’s amusing to see people raise their eyebrows when I tell them what I am up to and most people just say ‘why?’. I enjoy the challenge of it and cold dips have long been considered healthy in many countries’.

There is a very serious element of danger to these events so organisers insist on stringent health checks including an ECG and no swimmer can stay in the water longer than 25 minutes.

A 25m pool will be cut in the ice of Lake Semenovskoye as the venue for the competition and Rory plans to stay an extra few days to take part in the Russian Ice Swimming Championships.