If the current cold snap has you reaching for your thermals or is giving you frostbite clearing the windscreen in the morning, then spare a thought for the Donegal Person of the Year who is about the take part in a distinctly chilly swimming event.
World open water swimmer of the year, Anne Marie Ward from Ards Creeslough, is currently winging her way to the balmy waters of Siberia to take part in the Russian Winter Swimming championships in temperatures as low as -30 degrees.
Ann Marie has become a famous face on the world swimming stage for her daring endurance swims, having entered the history books as the first Irish woman to successfully cross the infamous North Channel between Ireland and Scotland.
Speaking yesterday as she made her way to the airport, she said her trip to Siberia will be a “whole new experience” in her swimming career.
She is travelling with fellow cold water swimmer, Nuala Moore from Kerry, and Creeslough man, Noel Brennan, a well-known diver and water safety expert.
The championships will take place in freezing temperatures over the weekend in a swimming pool cut from a frozen river.
Anne Marie explains how the challenge came about.
“We were invited over to take part in the Russian Winter Swimming Championships and there will be many other cold water swimmers from all over the world there as well.
“It will be a struggle to get used to it as we are there for such a short time. The championships take place on Saturday and Sunday, with the shorter distances being raced on the Saturday and the longer distances on Sunday. We are on the first flight back home on Monday morning,” she said.
She says the mission is all part of their preparation for the “Bering 13” challenge next year, which will see a team of swimmers attempt to swim in relay across the Bering Strait from Russia to the United States.
Meanwhile for those of us staying local, tonight will again be frosty over Ulster, but temperatures should rise quickly during the night as milder, cloudy, windy weather extends countrywide from the southwest.
Tomorrow is expected to be a wet and windy morning, with temperatures of 6 to 10 degrees dropping to between one and 4 degrees on Friday night with a slight ground frost.
Saturday will be mostly dry with some winter sunshine.
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