An extreme open water swimmer took the plunge this morning in the Columbia River for the ice mile swim--A feat that takes place in near-freezing water.
Ned Hastings is one of about 400 people in the world that can say they've completed the Ice Mile.
Mallory Mercer is one of Ned's family members who came to support him.
"It's amazing because it's like, so freezing. I can't even imagine being in the water for that long," said Mallory.
Ned's been open water swimming for about 5 years.
"I just love the serenity, the nature of open water swimming. That evolved into doing some long distance swims," said Hastings.
Hastings was the first person to swim all of Priest Lake, which he did in 2019 and last year was the first person to swim the Hanford Reach unassisted --- which was a 35-mile swim.
"I was training and getting in cold water--figuring it out and so I thought well, might as well take advantage of this opportunity and so this year I had a goal to do an ice mile," said Hastings.
Per the International Ice Swimming Association, he needs an observer, medical officer, and a witness alongside him while he does the ice mile. The water also has to be at a certain temperature.
Hastings has been waiting for the perfect conditions, and by perfect conditions--he means below 41 degrees Fahrenheit or five degrees Celsius for it to qualify as an ice mile. By the time Ned got in, the water was 39.6 degrees.
Hastings explained a concept called cold water acclimation--where the body gradually adjusts to colder temperatures to train. He started at 60 degrees last fall.
"Sixty degrees is actually a good temperature and you gradually go in as the water gets colder and colder...Your body adjusts and the next thing you know you're swimming in 45-degree water and it's not that big of a deal," said Hastings.
Will Mercer is another one of Ned's family members who came to support him during the swim.
"To come out here all winter and swim without a wetsuit in cold water to get training--talk about being committed," said Will.
Despite the strong current and freezing conditions, Hastings finished the mile in about 37 minutes. His family and friends were there to congratulate him and warm him up afterward.
Rhett Levin, Ned's nephew, watched as his uncle swam for more than half-an-hour in extremely cold conditions.
"There's definitely a lot of people who doubted him with this--Including me sometimes watching that. But he got it done and it really is a great achievement," said Levin.