Members of the Black-ice Open Water Swimming Club, based in Black Rock, Australia (outside of Melbourne), are one tough, dedicated group of open water swimmers.
To become an official member of the Black Rock Icebergers (Black-Ice), a swimmers is required to complete a 3K circuit of the long course at Brighton Baths during winter when the water temperature must be at or below 10°C (50°F) under the following rules: 1. Definitely no wetsuits and 2. No neoprene swim caps.
The Black Rock Icebergers include English Channel swimmers, Cook Strait swimmers, Rottnest Channel swimmers, and many others.
Besides the number of Black Rock Icebergers who are preparing for the English Channel, one 23-year-old member, Chloe McCardel is planning to do a triple-crossing of the 19K Rottnest Channel in February 2009, a double crossing of the English Channel in September 2009, and a 80K (49.7-mile) crossing of the Bass Strait between Tasmania and Victoria on the southeastern seaboard of Australia.
The Black Rock Icebergers train every Saturday morning throughout the year at the Brighton Sea Baths, including winter when the air temperature ranges from 6°C to 15°C (42°F to 59°F).
Despite the hardiness of the Black Rock Icebergers, anyone can join in the Saturday practices, but as founder (and 2003 English Channel swimmer) Albert (Alby) Bardoel asks, "Remember our club rules - NO WETSUITS – because would you climb Mt Everest in a helicopter? Would you ride the Tour de France on a motorbike? Would you sail the world in a motorboat? Or would you run a marathon in your car?"
Our non-neopreme caps off to this tough group of swimmers.
Photos from the Black-ice Open Water Swimming Club website.