Winter Swim Challenges
Join one of our winter swim challenges
Challenges for open water swimmers that can be completed in any location – options for all abilities from beginner to experienced cold water swimmers.
Each challenge has a required number of swims to complete before March 31st. The Chilly challenges permit wetsuits, boots, gloves etc. The Frosty challenges are non-wetsuit (skins). Our Ice Master and Ice Legend are tougher challenges for experienced open water swimmer with distance and temperature requirements also.
How it works:
Choose which challenge (or challenges) you want to enter and sign up online.
Keep a record of your swims and submit the details to us using our simple online form.
We update the results table each month so you can keep track of your progress and see how your fellow challengers are doing.
At the end of the challenge period, if you have successfully completed the challenge, you will receive a custom woven swim badge, a commemorative challenge coin and certificate of completion delivered to your door.
You can also join our online community to share photos, stories, tips and updates with your fellow challengers.
Chilly 10 – Complete 10 swims between October and March. Minimum distance 50m per swim. Wetsuits permitted. £15
Chilly 20 – Complete 20 swims between October and March. Minimum distance 50m per swim. Wetsuits permitted. £15
Chilly 40 – Complete 40 swims between October and March. Minimum distance 50m per swim. Wetsuits permitted. £15
Frosty 10 – Complete 10 swims between October and March non-wetsuit. Minimum distance 50m per swim. Wetsuits NOT permitted. £15
Frosty 20 – Complete 20 swims between October and March non-wetsuit. Minimum distance 50m per swim. Wetsuits NOT permitted. £15
Frosty 40 – Complete 40 swims between October and March non-wetsuit. Minimum distance 50m per swim. Wetsuits NOT permitted. £15
Extreme Ice Challenges
Ice Master – complete a minimum of 30 swims between November and March non-wetsuit (min 50m per swim) with at least 10 swims under 10 degrees and a minimum of 5000m total distance over the challenge period. £20
Ice Legend – Complete a minimum of 60 swims between November and March non wetsuit (min 50m per swim) with at least 5 swims under 5 degrees and 10 swims under 10 degrees and a minimum of 10,000m total distance over the challenge period. £20
You can enter as many challenges as you like and each swim can count in more than one category so long as category conditions are adhered to.
Rewards – If you complete the challenge you will receive a custom fabric swim badge for your challenge, a commemorative challenge coin and certificate of completion.
You might also be interested in our Festive Swim Challenge!
For the ‘Chilly’ Challenges there are no restrictions on what you can wear to swim. Wetsuits, hats, boots, gloves etc are all permitted. You can set your own level of challenge and we encourage you to swim within your limits. These challenges are perfect for those new to open water or cold water swimming and those who prefer swimming in a wetsuit.
For the ‘Frosty’ challenges and the Ice Master/Ice Legend challenges, you can only wear standard swimwear that doesn’t go past the knee/shoulder (no wetsuits, neoprene etc) and you cannot wear accessories for warmth such as hats, boots, gloves, vests, base layers. Only standard latex or silicone swim hats are permitted. (Goggles, nose clips and ear plugs are permitted). The Frosty 10, 20 and 40 are great for those with open water and cold water swimming experience without a wetsuit. The Ice Master and Ice Legend are for swimmers who are very keen cold water swimmers and have plenty of experience swimming in very cold water for longer distances with no wetsuit. These should not be attempted by beginners.
For all challenges you must complete your swims outdoors in a lake, river, the sea or an unheated outdoor pool or lido. We ask that if your choice of venue has a current that you swim equally with and against the current for each swim.
Our Chilly and Frosty winter swim challenges are based on the number of occasions you swim, not distance or time (although there is a minimum of 50m per swim for it to count towards your total). This is so that they are accessible to all ability levels and allows you to observe cold water swimming best practice of stopping when you feel uncomfortable not when you have met a distance or time goal. You will however be able to log distance and/or time and these will be published in the results tables for interest.
Our more challenging options of Ice Master and Ice Legend do have cumulative distance requirements for the complete challenge and are aimed at more experienced cold water swimmers but still have a minimum distance of 50m for each individual swim.
Our challenges are honesty based and require you to accurately and honestly record and submit your own results. Use our simple online form to submit your results each month over the challenge period. We ask you to submit your results once a month so that we can keep an up to date results table on our website (you could send in all your data at the end of the challenge but it is great for all challengers to see the results table update each month so you can see each other’s progress). The submissions form can be accessed on the submissions page of the website is also emailed to you as a reminder each month.
All results must be submitted by 7th April 2021 – any results received after this date will not be included in the results table, will not be counted towards your total and you will not receive your awards.
We do not require evidence of your swims but we do require the following details for each swim: date, distance in meters, time in minutes, water temperature in degrees Celsius, wetsuit worn?). These challenges rely on your honesty. You may wish to keep more records such as photographs of you at each swim, the thermometer, photos or screenshots of your swim data on your fitness tracker to help you keep track, but these are not required for submission. They are great to share in the Facebook group!!
Where there is a temperature requirement (Ice Master and Ice Legend) the temperature is counted by whole degrees. So if you are required to swim in water 5 degrees or less then any temp from 5.9 or lower can be counted.
If you swim at Race Hub or another NOWCA lake, you can retrieve your data from our system via your personal log in. If you swim elsewhere you will need to record the temperature of the water, distance swam and time spent in the water. To record the distance you can use either on your choice of fitness app, tracker or sports watch (eg garmin), or estimate it using google maps or similar and then add it to the spreadsheet. We don’t require photographic evidence to be submitted however it is great to share a photograph of you before and after your swim/thermometer reading/sports watch in the Facebook group and this can help you make sure you keep track of your swims. If you are unable to send us your data in a spreadsheet please email us before entering so that we can work with you to find an alternative.
Entry into one or more of our challenges also gives you access to our private 2020/21 Race Hub Swim Challenge Facebook group.
You may also wish to use your challenge as an opportunity to fundraise. We will donate £1 from each entry to our charity partner and will have a just giving fundraising page set up where you can join our team and fundraising efforts by getting your own sponsorship. Alternatively you may wish to fundraise for your own charity.
For each challenge that you successfully complete you will receive a certificate of completion and a fabric swim badge specific to your challenge and a commemorative challenge coin medallion. All certificates and awards will be sent out from the end of March once the challenge has ended. Should you wish to end your challenge early please be aware that you will not receive your awards etc until after the end of March.
No refunds or transfers. Min age 18 years. Declaration must be signed.
Questions? See our FAQ section below.
Winter Swim Challenges 2020/21 FAQs
What are the challenge dates and deadlines?
Last date to join a challenge - 31st Jan 2021
IMPORTANT - we have amended the challenge deadlines due to Covid-19 restriction impacting swimming. Please see the updated deadlines
The Chilly and Frosty challenges run from October 1st 2020 to March 31st 2021 (UPDATE - now to 15th May 2021). You can complete your swims at any time within these dates.
The Ice Master and Ice Legend challenges run from November 1st 2020 to March 31st 2021 (UPDATE - now to 15th May 2021). You can complete your swims at any time within these dates.
Final submission deadline for all results is 7th April 2021 (UPDATE - now 20th May 2021).
We ask that you submit results once each month.
What can I wear for the challenges?
For the Chilly 10, 20 and 40 there are no restrictions on what clothing or accessories you can wear to swim. Wetsuits, vests and base layers, hats, boots, gloves etc are all permitted but not required, meaning you can swim with or without a wetsuit on different occasions should you wish. You can wear any accessories including nose plugs, ear plugs, goggles, swim caps etc.
For the Frosty 10, 20 and 40 you can wear standard swim wear that has no sleeves past the shoulder and doesn’t pass the knee. It must be made of standard swimwear material (no neoprene or thermal layers). Only one swimsuit can be worn (one piece or 2 piece but no double layers). You can wear a single standard swim hat made of silicone or latex. Wetsuits, vests and base layers, hats, boots, gloves, etc are all prohibited. You can wear any accessories including nose plugs, ear plugs, goggles etc.
Ice Master/Ice Legend:
For the Ice Master and Ice Legend challenges you can wear standard swim wear that has no sleeves past the shoulder and doesn’t pass the knee. It must be made of standard swimwear material (no neoprene or thermal layers). Only one swimsuit can be worn (one piece or 2 piece but no double layers. You can wear a single standard swim hat made of silicone or latex. Wetsuits, vests and base layers, hats, boots, gloves etc are all prohibited. You can wear accessories including nose plugs, ear plugs, goggles etc.
Where can I do the challenges?
These are open water swimming challenges and can be completed in a lake, river, the sea, reservoir or an unheated lido/outdoor pool/swim spa or equivalent. If swimming where there is a current you are required to swim an equal distance with and against the current on each swim. It is your responsibility to ensure that you only swim in locations where swimming is permitted and that all guidelines, rules and regulations are adhered to for that venue. You cannot complete these challenges in any pool which is heated.
It is also your responsibility to ensure that the venue is safe for swimming at the time and that you have taken all necessary safety precautions.
This challenge is aimed at those swimming in the UK. If you live outside of the UK the water temperatures cannot be more than 2 degrees centigrade warmer than the highest UK sea temperature on that day. This information can be widely found online. Eg https://www.thebeachguide.co.uk/sea-temperature
What is the difference between the Chilly and Frosty challenges?
For the Chilly 10, 20 and 40 there are no restrictions on what clothing or accessories you can wear to swim. Wetsuits, vests and base layers, hats, boots, gloves etc are all permitted but not required. For Frosty 10, 20 and 40 challenges, wetsuits and accessories such as gloves/boots/hats etc are NOT permitted for any swims.
What information is required about my swims and how do I record my swim data?
You will need to record the details of your swims for each challenge that you enter so that you can submit them to us. We provide a spreadsheet template that you can use if you wish. For each swim you must record - date, distance in meters, time in minutes, water temperature in degrees Celsius, and if you wore a wetsuit or not.
If you swim at a NOWCA venue such as Race Hub in official sessions then your swim data including the distance, time, temperature of your swim are recorded on your NOWCA profile after each swim. You can retrieve this data by logging in to your personal swim page where a record of your swims can be found. We suggest that you check that your data has been recorded properly after each swim as technical or human errors cannot be corrected.
You can also use a fitness watch or tracker such as a Garmin or on a fitness app to measure the distance/time of your swim for your monthly submission. You may also record your swim details manually. At a swim venue they will likely provide you with information such as course distance and water temperature or you can estimate it using google maps or. You may wish to purchase a suitable digital thermometer to record water temperature if not swimming at a venue that provides it. These challenges rely on honesty and we expect all entrants to be honest with their own results.
All temperatures stated in our challenges are in degree Celsius and all submissions are required in Celsius, not Fahrenheit
Can my swims count for more than one challenge?
You can enter as many challenges as you like and each swim can count in more than one category so long as the category conditions are adhered to. However you must complete a separate submissions form for each challenge – so if you want one swim to be counted towards 2 challenges you will need to add the details of that swim onto both challenge submissions forms.
We suggest that you keep a separate swim record for each challenge (either using the spreadsheet templates we provide or your own records) and after each swim record those details in the records of all the challenges you wish to include it in. For example if you enter the Chilly 20 and Frosty 10 a swim can only count for both if it is non wetsuit as this is a condition of the Frosty 10, then this swim details will need to be added onto the submission form for the Chilly 20 and for the Frosty 10.
If you entered both the Chilly 10 and Chilly 20 the first 10 swims can count for both challenges and should be submitted for both challenges on their submission forms.
How do I submit my results?
We suggest that you submit your results once per month over the challenge period, rather than after each swim. This is so that you can keep track of your submissions. We provide a spreadsheet (link on the challenge page) that you can use to keep a log after each swim and then submit at the end of the month. You will get a copy of your submission emailed to you - we suggest you keep these emails safe for reference (check your junk folder if you don't see it). There is no way to view previous submissions on our website which is why we recommend to submit once per month and keep the email as a record.
If you are taking part in more than one challenge you must complete a separate submission form for each challenge with details of each swim you wish to include for that challenge. One swim may be submitted for more than one challenge so long as it meets the requirements for both challenges – but you must submit the details of that swim on BOTH challenge submission forms at the end of the month.
Forms can be found on the submissions page of the website and will also be sent to you by email once a month with a reminder. We will update the results table for the challenge during the first week of each month so that you can see your progress, standings and follow other people’s progress.
What evidence is required for submission?
We do not require evidence of your swims but we do require all the details stated above for each swim (date, distance, time, temp, wetsuit). These challenges rely on your honesty. You may wish to keep more records such as photographs of you at each swim, the thermometer, photos or screenshots of your swim data on your fitness tracker etc but these are not required for submission. They are great to share in the Facebook group!!
Where there is a temperature requirement (Ice Master and Ice Legend) the temperature is counted by whole degrees. So if you are required to swim in water 5 degrees or less then any temp from 5.9 or lower can be counted.
I have entered more than one challenge. Do I have to submit my results separately for each challenge?
Yes. Please complete a separate submission form for each challenge. If you want a particular swim to count towards 2 challenges you must make sure it meet the requirements of both challenges and enter the details of it on the submission form for each challenge.
I forgot to submit my results last month – what should I do?
Please submit them as soon as you remember using the form that was sent via email or from our website. They may not be processed and added to the results table until the following month. If this is after the final submission deadline of 7th April 2021 then you will not be allowed to submit these results and they will not be counted towards your challenge total.
Can I get a refund if I am unable to complete the challenges?
You have 14 days after purchase of your challenge to request a full refund. After this time no refunds can be given for any reasons.
Can I change category/challenge?
If you wish to change category you must do this before 31st Jan 2021 and before your awards are sent out. Your awards will be sent out if you complete your challenge and submit the results by the end of the month. If you plan to swap challenges you must inform us before you submit your results/complete your challenge. If you fail to do so and your awards are sent you will no longer be able to swap, but you can enter another challenge.
Can I transfer my entry to another swimmer?
No, entries cannot be transferred at any stage of the challenge.
I entered one challenge but have actually achieved the number of swims required for a different challenge. Can I get the award for that?
You can only receive the award for the category you entered – so if you entered the chilly 10 but completed 20 swims you will only receive the Chilly 10 award.
If you wish to change category or enter an additional category you must do this before 31st Jan 2021 and before your wards are sent out (they will be sent out in the first week of the month following you submitting your final results).
For example: if you complete your Chilly 10 by mid January and want to keep swimming you can opt to change for the Chilly 20 or 40 instead if you inform us before your awards are sent out. Or you could enter another challenge as well (in which case you will get both the 10 award and the new award providing you meet the requirements). If you complete your Chilly 10 by mid February and want to keep swimming you cannot opt to change for the Chilly 20 or 40 instead or enter one of these as entries will have closed already. (You can email to check whether we have had any cancellations as numbers are limited by badge/coin numbers).
I have submitted results for the maximum number of swims for my challenge but I have improved my time/distance and want to swap some results, can I do this?
You qualify for the awards when you complete the number of swims required for your challenge regardless of time/distance. We include time and distance on our results table interest only and cannot make changes based on improved distance or time. If you submit more than the required number of swims for each challenge we will not include any additional swims in the results.
I forgot to record my swim or had a technical problem– what shall I do?
This is an honesty based challenge so record the details to the best of your ability (an honest estimate is ok). You can use resources such as weather apps/websites to estimate water temperature and google maps/google earth/map my run etc to estimate distance. You can also use the Facebook group and ask other swimmers for water temps etc to get a reasonable estimate. If this is for submission to the Ice Master/Legend we will allow submissions without proof at our discretion.
I have completed my challenge before March, what should I do?
You can complete your challenge at any time before March 31st 2021. Make sure all your data is submitted and you will receive any awards that you have successfully completed the month after you submit your final results or at the latest by the end of April 2021. If you complete it before the entry closing date of Jan 31st 2021 then you may if you wish transfer to another challenge or enter another category. Your swims can be counted towards more than one challenge but you would need to submit the data for them separately for each challenge. For example you enter the Chilly 10 and complete it in December and wish to enter the Chilly 40 as well – go online and enter the Chilly 40 and if you wish to use the swims you have already completed you can submit those at the end of the first month along with any new swims on the Chilly 40 submission form. The only swims you cannot include are those done outside the timescales of the challenge (October -March for Chilly challenges) or those that don’t meet the requirements (eg those done in an indoor pool).
I haven’t completed my challenge by the March 31st deadline, what happens now?
If you do not complete the challenge requirements by March 31st AND submit the results by the deadline of 7th April, then you will not receive your badge or coin.
I missed the final submission deadline – what can I do?
We will send email reminders and reminders in the Facebook group about submission deadlines. If you do not submit results for all swims before the final submission deadline of 20th May, your achievements will be based on the results you have already submitted. If this means you have fulfilled the requirements of the challenge your awards will be sent out. If your results to that point do not meet the requirements to complete your challenge then you will not receive your awards.
When will I receive my awards (badge, coin, certificate)?
Awards are sent out during the first week of each month. If you submit your results to complete your challenge by the last day of the month you will be included in the update the following week and your awards sent. If you submit your results after the last day of the month your results will be updated in the next update the following month. After the final submission deadline of 20th May, entrants who have successfully completed the challenge and submitted their results by the deadline will receive their awards by the end of May. They will be sent by post to the address you put on your entry. If you address changes you can change this in the My Account section of our website but we ask that you also email us to alert us of this change so that we can ensure your awards are sent to the correct address.
I can see an error with my results – what should I do?
Please email us and we will look into this for you.
How can I fundraise for the Winter Swim Challenges?
You do not have to fundraise to enter this challenge, but if you wish to there are 2 options:
- Join our fundraising team. We have set up a Just Giving team for this challenge series and you can find details of how to join and start getting sponsorship here.
- Set up your own online fundraising event. If you wish to fundraise for your own choice of charity you need to arrange this yourself. We ask that this is done via a recognized fundraising platform such as Just Giving.
I have entered online but I haven’t had an email.
Please check junk/spam folders and make sure you check the account for the email address you put on your entry form. Please email us if you have any problems.
How do I join the Facebook group?
Our Facebook group is only open to people who have entered a challenge. The link to the group will be sent with your welcome email. If you cannot find this email please check junk/spam folders and contact us if you have any problems. Please request to join the group AND complete the joining questions. If you do not complete the questions you will not be approved. If you add a member to the group they will not be approved if they haven’t completed the joining questions. The group will remain open until the next year’s challenges start in October 2021.