Thousands of ice swimmers gather in Polish Baltic coast town

The event gathered 250 ice-swimming clubs from Poland and abroad. Marcin Bielecki/PAP

A total of 8,576 participants took part in a winter swim during the combined 18th-19th International Meeting of Ice Swimmers, held in the Polish seacoast town of Mielno.

The event took place took place from Thursday until the final swim in the Baltic Sea at noon on Sunday.

According to the organiser, this is the largest such event in Poland and Europe, and one of the biggest in the world.

This year's swim, held under the motto "Flower Children in the Baltic" was a return to the colorful and flowery 1970s, and was combined with the previous year's event which was canceled due to sanitary restrictions introduced in connection with COVID-19.

As part of the tradition preceding the swim, the participants marched along the streets of Mielno. Afterwards, a group warm-up was held on the beach.

Before the final countdown to the joint entry into the Baltic Sea, the town's mayor, Olga Roszak-Pezala, announced that as many as 8,576 people would take part in the swim, including herself. A week before the rally, it was reported that only 6,500 participants would take part.

"You are just lovely, wonderful… This is a great, unexpected number of participants," exclaimed the mayor.

"You have shown that Mielno is the world's ice swimming capital, „ she added.

This year, the swimmers in Mielno, however, were not able to break the Guinness record for the number of ice swimmers bathing in one place which, nonetheless, has been held by the town since 2015.

The air temperature at the time of the swim on Sunday was three degrees Celsius, while the temperature of the water was one degree less.

The event gathered 250 ice-swimming clubs from Poland and abroad.