INTERNATIONAL ICE SWIMMING ASSOCIATION
On Easter Sunday, Kate Steels-Fryatt, a renowned ice water swimmer from Hampshire, UK, swam her seventh Ice Mile in Lake Simcoe, near Beaverton.
She is the Chairman of International Ice Swimming Association (IISA) of Great Britain Board and secretary to the global IISA Board as well as being an IISA Official.
The official rules state that an Ice Mile may only be swum in water that has a temperature of less than 5C. Kate and her partner, Rory Fitzgerald, arrived in Canada on Thursday, April 18, to get ready for the bone-chilling swim.
A week prior, the lake was broadly open but there was approximately a 40-50m band of broken ice on the shore in Beaverton.
The ice has started to clear on Friday at the town beach but is still frozen outside the B&B (my first choice venue).
It was 1.1C Friday afternoon but is forecast to snow and then warm up. She was anxious to find water 3-5C as every degree below 5C makes it harder. She has swam an ice mile at 0.9C and knows the difference. She was reassured that there were other venues if the water was too warm/cold.
She had a local swimmer, Josef Polcz, who kindly agreed to kayak for her and he suggested the beach in Barrie as an alternate.
The day of the swim turned out to be nearly perfect. The sun finally came out after almost a week of cloudy weather and excessive rain. The ice that had been in the lake and close to the Beaverton shore on Friday had been swept back out to the middle of the lake by a change in the winds. Everything came together.
The SJA Ambulance style vehicle was parked just up from the beach and that is where the team helped out Kate out of the water following her swim. Kate praised all of the members of the support and said, “I could not have done it without all the support of Jean- Maurice, Jason and the amazing team at St John's Ambulance. I am extremely grateful to you all.”
In preparation for it, she had contacted a Barrie native and asked him to be her safety kayaker. He who paddled beside Kate during her half hour swim in the frigid waters.
Through a mutual friend from the Borough of Harrogate, she contacted Jean Maurice Pigeon, the Community Services Chairperson at the Barrie-Simcoe-Muskoka Branch of St. John Ambulance (SJA) to see if they would provide an on-scene medical team.
Four SJA volunteers readily stepped up to assist: Isabelle Roberge, Jason Dippel, Melanie Moore, and Jean Maurice. Ali Green, a professional photographer, documented this feat of human endurance.
It was Kate’s fourth leg of her goal to swim an Ice Mile in the waters of each of the seven continents. She has now completed Ice Miles in Europe (Norway and the UK), Africa (Morocco), Asia (China) and now North America.
Jean Maurice Pigeon stated that he was “pleased that we could be a part of this event which although not directly a twinning event is related to our relationship with the Borough of Harrogate, the Village of Ripley and of course the Ingilby family. The feedback from the team was unanimous.
They were all pleased to have been part of an international event involving our English “cousins."
Kate is on her way to making history!