BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Three women plunged into the freezing cold waters of South Boston's Pleasure Bay on Sunday for a rather frosty swim.
Elaine Howley of Waltham, Natalie Lang of Watertown, and Vera Rivard of Springfield, New Hampshire took part in an Ice Mile, which according to the International Ice Swimming Association must take place in water temperature of 41 degrees Fahrenheit or less, and swimmers can only be wearing a standard bathing suit, goggles and one swim cap. All three women completed the mile.
"Everything in your body is screaming to get out, but you get to kind of push yourself and overcome that fear and see what you're capable of," said Howley, who told WBZ NewsRadio that she can deal with the extreme cold through acclimation and training.
"This is absolutely not a Polar Plunge, and we do not recommend that people go try this," Howley warned. "This is a really bad idea unless you're well trained and know exactly what you're getting into."
Lang, who described the Ice Mile as a science experiment, dipped her hands and feet into a bucket of hot water as soon as she got out, her friends covering her in warm blankets.
"Your body just wants to get out immediately, because it's stupid," Lang said. "I call it panic swimming because it's just a sheer panic and your body is like 'Get out, get out!' and you have to just override that and breathe through it."
"A lot of it is mental," said the 19-year-old Rivard. "It's kind of like breaking through that first survival instinct of your body saying, 'You need to get out, you need to get out.'"
WBZ's Suzanne Sausville (@WBZSausville) reports.