Saturday, 1 August 2020

Record number of Vltava winter swimmers on December 26th

Prague Daily Monitor |
27 December 2019

There was a record number of participants at the 73 annual Alfred Nikodem Memorial Swim in the Vltava. The race is 750 meters long and starts at Slovansky Island. Water: 5.6 degrees Celsius, the air 4.7. 430 swimmers participated, 32 more than last year.

This year’s contest’s oldest contestant was 89 year old Božena Černá. There were also two contestants who deserved honorable mention in terms of participation: František Kosař, who was participating for the 49th time and Ladislav Komárek, his 47th winter bath.

Contestants participated from nine countries including Czechia, Slovakia, Great Britain, Belgium, Russia, Hong Kong (China), Kazakhstan, and Poland and had a choice of three lengths: 100, 300 and the 750 meter long main event.

The first winter swim in the Vltava as a group was recorded in 1923. The memorial was started in 1947 as a memory to Alfred Nikodemm a Prague businessman who started the phenomenon. The coldest temperature on record was the year before the memorial, 1946, when the group tried to break through the ice with the outside temperature being -25 degrees Celsius. After numerous attempts the group gave up and the swim was cancelled.