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Meet Ireland’s ice swimmers: ‘Your blood stops flowing, you never warm up – they thought I was mad’

Ice swimmer Ger says Covid drove people to take the plunge

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Ger Purcell (66) on right set a Guinness World Record for swimming a mile in ice-cold waters. He is pictured with his friends and fellow ice swimmers Alan Gleeson (53) and Harry Harbison (63)

Ger Purcell (66) on right set a Guinness World Record for swimming a mile in ice-cold waters. He is pictured with his friends and fellow ice swimmers Alan Gleeson (53) and Harry Harbison (63)

Ger Purcell (66), on right, with his friends ice swimmers Alan Gleeson (53) and Harry Harbison (63), about to embark on a training session in the Shannon. Photo: Liam Burke/Press 22

Ger Purcell (66), on right, with his friends ice swimmers Alan Gleeson (53) and Harry Harbison (63), about to embark on a training session in the Shannon. Photo: Liam Burke/Press 22

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Ger Purcell (66) on right set a Guinness World Record for swimming a mile in ice-cold waters. He is pictured with his friends and fellow ice swimmers Alan Gleeson (53) and Harry Harbison (63)

Ger Purcell was told he was mad when he took up ice swimming at 65, and he agreed the general vibe is probably right.

The Limerick man has been an avid swimmer for 31 years, but none of that prepared him for the shock of the ice water.


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