From sauna into the icy water and back
Heidi Pakarinen and Mari Anttila are friends and a familiar sight at the Tykkimäki sauna in the winter. Last year they competed in the 25-metre breaststroke at the Finnish Winter Swimming Championships.
The competition is all about having fun and so is ice swimming. From a warm sauna you jump into a hole in the ice and then back to the sauna. In one night, you swim perhaps ten times and the rest of the time is spent in good company sitting in a sauna shared by men and women.
Heidi visits the Tykkimäki Sauna on the Käyrälampi beach 2–4 times a week in the winter, while Mari goes less frequently. The best things about this hobby is how good and relaxed it makes you feel.
The Winter Swimming Championships are televised and aired in China, Japan and Italy. Being an exotic sport, it gets great coverage. Swimming in a lake in the summer is a unique experience for a foreigner, not to mention plunging in the icy water in winter. It’s quite an experience for a Finn too.