A LAKE District swimmer has spoken of his ‘euphoria’ after becoming the first UK male to complete an ‘ice mile’.

Colin Hill, who has spent the last 20 years competing in open water swimming competitions worldwide, took the ice-cold plunge in Windermere earlier this month.

The 42-year-old of High Wray, near Ambleside, has now been officially recognised by the International Ice Swimming Association (IISA) as the first UK male swimmer, and only the 44th person in the world, to complete a mile in temperatures below five degrees celsius.

“I was euphoric when I had reached the mile and the team told me to stop swimming.

“Unfortunately there wasn’t any time for celebration as I was bundled into the bottom of the boat, covered with coats and driven at high speed back to shore,” said Colin.

“Since then I’ve had time to reflect and I have been asked to take part in some cold water swims elsewhere in the world.

“It took me a week before I could face going back into the water.”

The swim took place near the Low Wood Bay Hotel where Colin was accompanied by a support boat, medic and two support crew. The association bans the use of wetsuits to be officially recognised - so Colin braved the icy chill with just trunks, a swimming hat and goggles.

He was also required to take special insurance and health checks before attempting the potentially dangerous swim.

Colin said: “Swimming in such cold water for long distances can be very dangerous and your body can potentially go into severe hypothermia.

“The association has strict rules about undertaking such a swim, both in terms of health and judging.

“I train regularly in cold water, so I had been building up for this swim over a long period of time. You can’t just decide one day to jump in and do it.

“The swim had to be recorded on GPS, video and photos to authenticate the achievement.”

The experienced 450m UK and world endurance cold water champion completed the mile in 24 minutes and 22 seconds, one of the fastest on record - but he still thinks twice before taking a dip.

Colin said: “Every time you get in the water you think to yourself: ‘Why am I doing this?’ “But when you get out your body is in shock and you are buzzing from the endorphins. It’s addictive, in a weird kind of way.”

Colin added that the Lake District was the ‘Mecca’ of open water swimming and that it attracted worldwide interest from ice swimmers.