Ram Barkai, Mindful Ice Man

Ram Barkai was among the 15 nominees for the 2012 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year that were announced today. The World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year award honors the person who (1) best embodies the spirit of open water swimming, (2) possesses the sense of adventure, tenacity and perseverance that open water swimmers are known for, and (3) has most positively influenced the world of open water swimming.

His World Open Water Swimming Association nomination reads,

"The world according to Ram is expansive and empowering. His refreshing view of human potential is without limitation. His enlightening perspective effectively utilizes the power of the mind, and extends the world of open water swimming beyond contemporary comprehension. The founder of the International Ice Swimming Association inspires swimmers to look at water in an entirely new light; temperature no longer becomes the limiting factor. If the ice has melted, Barkai considers it a potential field of play. At the same time, Barkai understands the risk of extreme swimming. He counsels individuals to proceed with mindful caution and utilizes intelligent planning. The physiological data that he compiles and analyzes, the swims that he organizes, the risks that he manages and identifies are extraordinarily useful to the open water swimming world. For his encouragement of thinking outside the norm, for his properly-managed extreme swims, for his support of ice swimmers around the world, Ram Barkai is a worthy nominee for the 2012 WOWSA Open Water Swimming Man of the Year."

The 2012 nominees are (listed in alphabetical order of their first name):

1. Benjamin Schulte (Guam) – Fearless Olympic Marathoner
2. Craig Dietz (USA) – The Limbless Waterman
3. Colin Hill (Great Britain) – Olympic Showman
4. Doug Woodring (Hong Kong) – Ocean Environmentalist
5. Milko van Gool (Netherlands) – Humanitarian Swimmer
6. Oussama Mellouli (Tunisia) – Olympic Champion
7. Pierre Lafontaine (Canada) – Able & Ambitious Administrator
8. Ram Barkai (South Africa) – Mindful Ice Man
9. Salvatore Cimmino (Italy) – Swimming in the Seas of the Globe
10. Stephen Redmond (Ireland) - Oceans Seven Pioneer
11. Thomas Lurz (Germany) - Ambassador and Gentleman
12. Trent Grimsey (Australia) - English Channel Record Breaker
13. Wayne Riddin (South Africa) – Midmar Mile Director
14. Wayne Soutter (South Africa) – The Unthinkable
15. Morrie Chiang (Taiwan) – Sun Lake Moon Director

Online voting will take place here at WOWSA until December 31st.

The 2008 recipient was Randy Nutt of the USA. The 2009 recipient was Petar Stoychev of Bulgaria. The 2010 recipient was Marcos Diaz of the Dominican Republic. The 2011 recipient was Jamie Patrick of the USA.

Barkai is a renowned cold water extreme swimmer who holds several records including the title of the most southernly open water swim ever performed when he swam in Antarctica. He also swam in mid-winter in Lake Zurich, Switzerland and organized the Patagonia Extreme Cold Water Challenge in the Patagonia region in South America where he was among the first individuals to successfully swim around Cape Horn, at the tip of South America.

Ram also organized the Cadiz Freedom Swim, the Speedo Ice Swim Africa and the 2012 Ice Swim Africa. He is the founder of the International Ice Swimming Association.

He has inspired people through his extreme swims and extraordinarily positive view of life and its challenges. He has done ice swims with Anne Marie Ward and Nuala Moore in Ireland, with Gavin Pike in Scotland, and with Andrew Chin, Ryan Stramrood, Toks Viviers, Kieron Palframan and Andrew Chin in Chile and Argentina. He will appear on Stan Lee's Superhumans television series for this ability to swim without a wetsuit or neoprene cap at lethally cold water temperatures. In 2012, Barkai completed a 1.3 km swim in an ice-bound lake in Jondal, Norway water temperature of 0.2˚C at 1000m above sea level. The swim is part of a new series on Discovery HD, which will air in 200 locations towards the end of this year.

Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source

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