My sister is an amazing girl. This time she did a world record attempt in under ice swimming. Longest swim under ice, female record, 14.3.2015, 50 metres.
She didn’t just suddenly think of doing something like this. Since the year 2000 she has been competing in freediving at the top level, held a world record in 2004 in dynamic with fins. And done all kinds of crazy stuff so that we sometimes worry :). So it was not a surprise when - after swimming and diving in cold water here in Finland for a few years, after she broke her leg badly when downhill biking, she said she might want to try this.
During the winter months here when it can be a bit chilly ( :) ) she swam in the outdoor pool in a close by swimming pool. My training was watching her swim and make sure she was ok… so I got pretty good at standing outside with my swimsuit, wet, in minus something degrees watching her. I did tip my toes in the water maybe a couple of times but that felt a bit horrid so I just let her do the swimming.
On the day the weather was perfect. The sun was shining. It was almost warm. I probably hadn’t seen the sun in about 4 months so it was a really lovely day. There was enough ice still left which was good because it had been a bit rainy before the event so we thought maybe there is not even ice left anymore. Here in Helsinki the sea was completely open already.
Stig Severinsen, who has the male record in this discipline 76,2 metres, had come to the event as well, to give Johanna the last tips. The organizers had done an amazing job. Everything was ready for Johanna’s dive. I was nervous. As I am usually when does something a bit extreme. But I knew she is such an experienced freediver and used to the cold water. There should be no problems. And she said she would come up at 25 metres if her head was hurting because of cold. So I tried to calm my nerves and take pics and wait for her at the other end.
And well she did! Amazing. And she said it was an easy dive. Not too cold.
We are thanking everyone who was there and who helped us along the way.
Let’s see what we decide to do next.
Johanna is ready. The hole in the ice is waiting. I might be (just might) just a little bit nervous for her. But I know she'll be fine and we agreed that she will come up at 25m if any problems.
Everyone is gathering around the starting point.
There is still time to prepare and calm down. The ropes had to be fixed a little so another 15 minutes before the start.
Stig Severinsen, who holds the male record of 76,2m is there for Johanna. Teemu Liakka from Matila & Röhr Production is filming the dive.
It's time to hop in. The water is 2 degrees.
Two breaths. And then it's on.
We are waiting at the other end. She swam past 25m so I'm guessing she is fine. At 50m we are waiting. Natalie Halla, Stig Severinsen, crew from France, reporter from Germany, all the spectators. Me. Nervous.
She came after swimming past the hole first. Antero Joki as a safety diver was following her and filming underwater. All is good. Johanna is talking about the sound of the ice. It sounded like whales she said. First I thought now she froze her brain. Whales? Before I realized it was the sound of cracking ice.
She's happy. 50m under ice.
Maybe we will do this again next year.