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Home   Maidstone   News   Article

Ice woman Jackie Cobell in sub-zero challenge

13 December 2012

Brrr! The Ice Lady of Paddock Wood cometh - swimming in a Siberian river event this Sunday, where the air temp will be minus 40c and water at zero.

She’s 58.

While Britain struggles to keep warm Jackie Cobell will be taking on the Russians at their Ice Cold Water Championships in Tyumen, a city located on the banks of Tura River.

But there’s just one snag: the river is currently one huge lump of ice some nine inches thick.

Chain saws are busy carving out a pool area large enough to accommodate six lanes.

Mrs Cobell is well prepared. This week she became the first woman in Britain to swim the Ice Mile, an extreme cold water stretch in water of 5c or less.

She achieved it at Holborough Lake, Snodland, as part of the preparatory build up to Siberia.

Jackie takes a balmy dip in Kent's December waters

The Snodland challenge took 42 mins in a wind chill of minus 2 degrees. It was observed by a rescue boat team consisting of medics and official observers.

“You have to believe in yourself, ensure you eat well and see it as fun,” Mrs Cobell told the KM.

“This a sport people of all ages can do, and I would like to see it become an Olympic event.

“Entering ice cold water is really mind over matter. It’s head down straight away and keep on going. When it’s over you have a tremendous feeling of well-being, a kind of warm glow inside and out.”

Mrs Cobell already holds a gold medal in her age category, achieved in Latvia last January with a quarter mile swim where water registered 0.5c.

“It was wonderful to hear the Russians cheering me, although I couldn’t understand a word.

"Later there were presentations and dancing and I did a knees up Cossack-style during the party.”

She knows all about endurance, having swum the Channel two years ago in 28 hours, 44 mins - notching up a record for the world’s slowest Channel swim.

“I realised then I wasn’t all that cold and so took on ice cold swimming as a new challenge. I plan to do the Bering Straits next year.”

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