History of Winter Swimming in Harbin
Harbin's winter swimming sport can be dated back to the 1970s. Some local swimming enthusiasts carved the frozen Songhua River and took winter swimming attempts bravely in the river. In 1983, the swimming enthusiasts established Harbin Winter Swimming Association. In 1985, Harbin Winter Swimming Association and Harbin City General Union jointly sponsored the first North Country Winter Swimming Competition. It is known as one of the earliest winter swimming competitions in China. In 2000, the competition was renamed Harbin International Winter Swimming Invitational Tournament for many foreign winter swimming enthusiasts participated in the competition. Currently, Harbin City Labor General Union is responsible for the organization, guidance and management of winter swimming in Harbin. 40% of the winter swimmers in Harbin are aged 70 or above.
Winter Swimming Performance in Harbin With the popularity of winter swimming in Harbin and the promotion of Harbin Ice Festival, winter swimming performance become part of the ice festival for attracting more tourists from all over the world. The performance take place from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. in the Swimming Pool for Harbin City General Union, which is carved from the frozen Songhua River at the Wharf of Harbin City General Union near Jiuzhan Park.
During the annual Harbin Ice Festival, tourists can see comical diving shows and professional winter swimming competitions in Songhua River.
Swimmers are trained for months in the freezing water of the Songhua River to compete in a winter ice swimming tournament held annually in Harbin. They have to start swimming from autumn so that the body can conquer the sudden icy impact on their cardio-vascular system.
Temperatures can plunge as low as -35℃ in winter. Winter swimming is a sport for the brave, showing off their strong physique and iron will. These brave swimmers are taking to the water in -25 ℃.
The different level winter swimming contests/tournaments and winter swimming performances are parts of the annual Harbin Ice Festival. Swimmers compete in an ice swimming contest in the Swimming Pool for Harbin City General Union carved from the frozen ice of the Songhua River.