The “Ice-Mile” swim challenge requires participants to swim one mile in icy temperatures below five degrees. The challenges have grown in popularity in recent years, it is well-known as one of the toughest physical challenges on the planet and has encouraged many brave swimmers to attempt it.  

Safety measures and rules are put in place for the challenge by the International Ice Swim Association:

“The swim must be unassisted and with one pair of goggles, cap, and standard swimming costume. The Ice Mile is the ultimate personal challenge that should be followed with all the safety controls in place.”

The Ice Mile Case Study of two swimmers was researched and conducted by John Kenny, Sarah Jane Cullen, and Giles D. Warrington. The study examined potential safety issues of the Ice Mile as well as the physiological challenges that the swimmers may face.

Breathing Rate and Respiratory Rate were sampled at 5-second intervals and recorded for 30 minutes pre-swim, during swimming, and for 60 minutes post-swim. Breathing rate was reported at 1-minute intervals for the entire testing period and respiratory rate was reported at 1-minute intervals for the duration of the swim.

The EQ02+ LifeMonitor is ideal for this type of research as it provides real-time data transmission, the device has an IPx7 Water Ingress protection rating which means it is capable to monitor data up to 1m in water for up to 30 minutes.


The LifeMonitor can operate from -10 degrees and up to 50 degrees which makes it capable when working in the freezing conditions that the Ice Mile entails.

Co-Author of the paper, Giles D. Warrington explains the rationale for the study and why they chose the Equivital LifeMonitor as the best way to measure physiological data during the research:

“Over recent times, sporting activities in extreme environments such as the “ice mile” challenge have become increasingly popular but place significant physiological demands on the human body. The rationale for this study was to monitor and evaluate the physiological responses to swimming 1,600m in cold water at less than 5oC from a performance and safety standpoint. In order have a valid, reliable and non-invasive measure of key physiological variables such as core body temperature and respiration rate the Equivital LifeMonitor was the idea integrated physiological monitoring system or use in such extreme conditions”.

Giles D. Warrington

The study found some great insights into the physiological demands of an Ice Mile Swim, helping participants and organizers to maximize the efficiency, effectiveness and most importantly safety to all that take on the challenge.

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