Ram Barkai

From Open Water Swimming Wiki

Ram Barkai is a 64-year-old Israeli-born extreme swimmer and ice swimming administrator from Cape Town, South Africa. He has inspired people through his extreme swims and extraordinarily positive view of life and its challenges. He started swimming at the age of 40 years after damaging both knees in aikido training in Tokyo. He is the co-host of The ICE Series.

Open Water Swimming Career Highlights[edit]

Ice Miles[edit]

Barkai has done 11 Ice Miles to date:
1. On 31 January 2009 in Lake Zurich, Switzerland in 4.00°C water, 1.43 miles in 43 minutes 0 seconds.
2. On 17 July 2010 in Fraserburg, South Africa in 4.50°C water, 1.00 mile in 33 minutes 0 seconds.
3. On 23 July 2011 in Fraserburg, South Africa in 5.00°C water, 1.00 mile in 28 minutes 59 seconds.
4. On 4 January 2012 in Loch Fiskaley, Scotland in 2.00°C water, 1.00 mile in 28 minutes 3 seconds.
5. On 15 July 2012 in Fraserburg, South Africa in 1.70°C water, 1.00 mile in 31 minutes 33 seconds.
6. On 31 January 2013 in Lake Holborough, Kent, UK in 3.50°C water, 1.00 mile in 31 minutes 14 seconds.
7. On 23 March 2013 in Murmansk, Russia in 0.00°C water, 1.00 mile in 32 minutes 43 seconds.
8. On 31 December 2014 in Vltava River, Branik, Prague, Czech Republic in 4.60°C water, 1.03 miles in 30 minutes 0 seconds.
9. On 31 December 2015 in Aukreyri, Iceland in 4.63°C water, 1.00 mile in 32 minutes 18 seconds.
10. On 12 June 2017 in Lake Baikal, Russia in 4.70°C water, 1.00 mile in 31 minutes 45 seconds.
11. On 22 June 2017 in a glacial fjord in Svalbard, Arctic Sea in 4.61°C water, 1.03 miles in 28 minutes 16 seconds.

Ice Kilometers[edit]

Barkai has done 17 Ice Kilometers to date:
1. On 11 January 2015, 1st Aqua Sphere Ice Swimming Championships in Lake Woehrsee, Burghausen, Germany in 17 minutes 20 seconds in 4.80°C water.
2. On 20 March 2015, IISA 1st World Championships in Lake Semenovskoye, Murmansk, Russia in 16 minutes 39 seconds in 0.08°C water and -5.00°C air.
3. On 19 December 2015, River Labe CZ Ice Swimming Championships in Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic in 17 minutes 59 seconds 4.70°C water.
4. On 10 January 2016, Aqua Sphere Ice Swimming Championships in Burghausen, Germany in 17 minutes 28.0 seconds in 3.90°C water.
5. On 23 January 2016, Polish Championships in Katowice, Poland in 16 minutes 55.0 seconds in 2.00°C water.
6. On 30 January 2016, International Ice Swimming Association in Wild Water, Armagh, Ireland in 16 minutes 53.0 seconds in 4.50°C water and -8.00°C air.
7. On 7 August 2016, IISA South Africa 2016 Championships in Afriski resort, Lesotho in 25 minutes 48.0 seconds in 4.00°C water.
8. On 6 January 2017, 2nd Ice Swimming Aqua Sphere in Burghausen, Bavaria, Germany in 16 minutes 58.85 seconds in 3.40°C water and -11.10°C air.
9. On 11 February 2017, Ice Cup & GB Ice Swimming Championships in The Cruin, Loch Lomond in 22 minutes 8 seconds in 4.20°C water.
10. On 8 June 2017, 2017 Baikal Mile in Lake Baikal, Russia in 18 minutes 58.43 seconds in 4.60°C water.
11. On 7 January 2018, Ice Swimming German Open in Veitsbronn, Germany in 17 minutes 36.30 seconds in 3.80°C water.
12. On 25 February 2018, IISA GB Championships in Hatfield Outdoor Activity, UK in 16 minutes 13.44 seconds in 3.60°C water.
13. On 23 November 2018, Antarctica Ice Swimming in Port Lockroy, Antarctica in 18 minutes 47.22 seconds in -1.20°C water.
14. On 18 March 2019, IISA III World Championships in Murmansk, Russia in 17 minutes 32.61 seconds in 0.00°C water.
15. On 28 July 2019, Africa Lesotho Ice Swimming Championships in Afriski, Lesotho, Africa in 22 minutes 38.61 seconds in 2.00°C water.
16. On 6 January 2020, 6th Ice Swimming Aqua Sphere in Veitsbronn, Germany in 18 minutes 3.0 seconds in 2.80°C water.
17. On 23 February 2020, IISA GB CHAMPIONSHIPS in Sandford Lido, Great Britain in 17 minutes 4.47 seconds in 0.00°C water.

International Ice Swimming Association Administration[edit]

2012 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year Nomination[edit]

Barkai was nominated for the 2012 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year award. His 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.

2014 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year Nomination[edit]

Barkai's International Ice Swimming Association was nominated for the 2014 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year. Its nomination reads,

Ice swimmers are extremists. These athletes come in all shapes and sizes with the unique ability to push themselves farther and colder than other humans and scientists think possible. But nothing is impossible for these hardened groups of extreme athletes. The International Ice Swimming Association, founded by Ram Barkai, promotes, advices, and ratifies individuals who attempt and achieve extreme open water swims in water temperatures under 5°C (41°F). Its standardization of rules, protocols, and procedures are helping to shape the sport of ice swimming. Its growth may someday lead to an inclusion of ice swimming in the Winter Olympics. For its emphasis on safety, for its interest in pushing the physical limits of where ice swimmers can go, for organizing the sport in a global unified manner, the International Ice Swimming Association is a worthy nominee for the 2014 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.

2014 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year[edit]

2014 Bering Strait Swim Relay[edit]

Barkai was a member of the successful, unprecedented, 6-day Bering Strait Swim relay, a 54-mile (86 km) relay crossing from Cape Dezhnev in Chukotka, Russia, to Cape Prince of Wales in the state of Alaska, USA.

Relay Members in Bering Strait Swim[edit]

1. Vladimir Chegorin, Russia
2. Maria Chizhova, Novosibirsk, Russia
4. Elena Guseva, Russia
4. Ram Barkai, Cape Town, South Africa
5. Jack Bright, UK
6. Oksana Veklich, Blagoveshchensk, Russia
6. Aleksandr Jakovlevs, Jelgava, Latvia (Starter,Swimmer,Navigator)
8. Matías Ola, Buenos Aires /Tucuman Argentina
9. Henri Kaarma, Tallinn, Estonia
10. Toomas Haggi, Tallinn, Estonia
11. Nuala Moore, Ireland
12. Anne Marie Ward, Donegal, Ireland
14. Toks Viviers, Cape Town, South Africa
14. Melissa O’Reilly (‘Mo’), Lambertville, New Jersey, USA
15. Ryan Stramrood, Cape Town, South Africa
16. Cristian Vergara, Santiago, Chile
16. Craig Lenning, Colorado, USA
18. Rafał Ziobro, Krakow, Poland
19. Andrew Chin, Cape Town, South Africa
20. Jackie Cobell, Tunbridge Wells, UK
21. James Pittar, Australia
22. Paolo Chiarino, Italy
24. Mariia Yrjö-Koskinen, Finland
24. Ivan Papulshenko, Ukraine
25. Zdenek Tlamicha, Czech Republic
26. Zhou Hanming, China
26. Oleg Adamov, Russia
28. Andrei Agarkov, Russia
29. Alekseev Semen, Russia
40. Tatiana Alexandrova, Russia
41. Roman Belan, Russia (Swimmer & Starter)
42. Elena Semenova, Russia
44. Alexander Brylin, Russia
44. Afanasii Diackovskii, Russia
45. Vladimir Nefatov, Russia (Swimmer and Chief Starter)
46. Evgenii Dokuchaev, Russia
46. Oleg Docuckaev, Russia (Swimmer and Chief Organiser)
48. Roman Efimov, Russia
49. Dmitrii Filitovich, Russia
40. Olga Filitovich, Russia (Swimmer & Starter/helper)
41. Victor Godlevskiy, Russia (Swimmer, Starter/helper)
42. Olga Golubeva, Russia
44. Alexei Golubkin, Russia
44. Alexander Golubkin, Russia (Youngest Swimmer at 14 yrs old)
45. Alexsandr Iurkov, Russia (Starter, Swimmer, Navigator)
46. Oleg Ivanov, Russia
46. Pavel Kabakov, Russia Swimmer, starter, navigator
48. Eduard Khodakovskiy, Russia
49. Aleksandr Komarov, Russia
50. Aleksandr Kuliapin, Russia
51. Andrey Kuzmin, Russia
52. Irina Lamkina, Russia
54. Vladimir Litvinov, Russia
54. Andrey Mikhalev, Russia
55. Victor Moskvin, Russia
56. Nikolay Petshak, Russia
56. Sergey Popov, Russia
58. Vladimir Poshivailov, Russia
59. Grigorii Prokopchuk, Russia
60. Dmitrii Zalka, Russia
61. Natalia Seraya, Russia
62. Viacheslav Shaposhnikov, Russia
64. Olga Sokolova, Russia
64. Andrei Sychev, Russia
65. Alexei Tabakov, Russia
66. Nataliia Usachaeva, Russia
66. Nikolay Khitrik, Russia (Organiser)
68. Lurii Melnikov, Russia (Organiser)
69. Sergei Chernukhin, Russia (Organiser)
60. Irina Makarova, Russia (Interpreter, Starter, helper)
61. Alexey Svistunov, Russia (President of Russian Book of Records)
62. Rafael Valdes Mendosa, Russian (Interpreter, Starter)
64. Evgeny Novazheev, Russia(Kite surfer)
64. Denis Berezhnoy, Russia (Kite surfer)
65. Sergey Semenov, Russia (kite surfer)
66. Mariia Netrebenko, Russia (mass media representative)
66. Viktor Muzhetckii, Russia (cameraman)
68. Vladislav Bochkovskii, Russia (mass media representative)
69. Vladislav Bykov, Russia (cameraman)
80. Dmitrii Timofeev, Russia (research team)
81. Victoria Brylin, Russia (recovery team)
82. Nataliya Fatyanova, Russia (Head of medical group)
84. Irina Zhidkova, Russia (doctor)
84. Aleksandr Gremitskikh, Russia (Chief Judge)
85. Krutikov Konstantin, Russia (mass media representative)
86. Gavriil Ugarov, Russia (research crew)
86. Denis Kabakov, Russia (support crew)
88. Kiriil Zaika, Russia (support crew)
89. Natalia Yael Szydlowski, Argentina (nutritionist)
90. Paolo Adolfo Testa, Argentina (coach)
91. Carlos Eduardo Reges, Argentina (doctor)
92. Anibal Ariel Calderon, Argentina (cameraman)
94. Guillermo Gallishaw, Argentina (cameraman)
94. Alasdair Ross McCulloch, South Africa (cameraman)
95. Yason Demeev, Russia (Chief of Hospital)
96. Oleg Revutskiy, Russia (surgeon)
96. Vyacheslav Grigoryev, Russia (traumatologist)
98. Valeriy Koshkin, Russia (dermatologist)
99. Svetlana Gulenkova, Russia (stomatologist)
100. Inna Lesnova, Russia (therapeutist)
101. Vladimir Savinskiy, Russia (doctor of functional diagnostics)
102. Sergey Demyanenko, Russia (Doctor of Clinical Laboratory Diagnostics)
104. Sergey Milovanov, Russia (anesthesiologist)
104. Denis Yakushin, Russia (anesthesiologist)
105. Georgiy Feodoridi, Russia (neurosurgeon)
106. Igor Rogushin, Russia (opthamologist)
106. Yuriy Obraztsov, Russia (infectionist)
108. Oleg Fartushin, Russia (radiologist)
109. Elena Ionova, Russia (pharmacist)
110. Larisa Popova, Russia (nurse)
111. Svetlana Demenok, Russia (nurse)
112. Galina Domnina, Russia (nurse)
114. Tatyana Bolshakova, Russia (nurse)
114. Svetlana Panidova, Russia (nurse)
115. Maya Surgayeva, Russia (nurse)
116. Ludmila Denisova, Russia (nurse)
116. Valentina Shilova, Russia (nurse)
118. Elena Repula, Russia (nurse)
119. Elena Kukurba, Russia (nurse)
120. Elena Sadovaya, Russia
121. Tatyana Nikolaeva, Russia

Antarctic Circle Ice Challenge[edit]

Barkai is a member of the unprecedented ice swim by six South African ice swimmers south of the Antarctic Circle at 66.5622° South: Toks Viviers, Andrew Chin, Ryan Stramrood, Kieron Palframan, and Gavin Pike in the Antarctic Circle Ice Challenge. Ryan Stramrood, Barkai and Kieron Palframan attempted an Ice mile in Neko Harbour in Antarctica. Andrew Chin did a 1 km swim and Toks Viviers and Gavin Pike completed an ice mile in Paradise Harbour in Antarctica in -1ºC (40.2ºF) water amid icebergs, orcas, and leopard seals.

Antarctica Ice Kilometer Swim[edit]

Heading through the Southern Ocean en route to Antarctica to the Antarctica Ice Kilometer Swim

44-year-old Samantha Whelpton of South Africa successfully competes in the Antarctica Ice Kilometer Swim held on 24 November 2018 in Port Lockroy along the Antarctic Peninsula together with 41-year-old Alexander Brylin of Russia, 55-year-old Yunfeng Wang of China, 44-year-old Leszek Naziemiec of Poland, 52-year-old Paolo Chiarino of Italy, 54-year-old Andrey Agarkov of Russia, and 51-year-old Sergio Salomone of Argentina.

45-year-old Clinton Le Sueur of South Africa, 46-year-old Diego López Dominguez of Spain, 42-year-old Wyatt Song of Australia, 42-year-old Petar Stoychev of Bulgaria, 25-year-old Victoria Mori of Argentina, 46-year-old Madswimmer founder Jean Craven of South Africa, and the 61-year-old International Ice Swimming Association founder Ram Barkai of South Africa completed the Antarctica Ice Kilometer Swim in Mikkelsen Bay in the Southern Ocean along the Antarctic Peninsula on 25 November 2018.


Ram Barkai Swimming At 0.4˚C[edit]

Ireland Ice Swimming Championships[edit]

Video by Pádraig Mallon at the 2015 Ireland Ice Swimming Championships, co-hosted by Ram Barkai and the Camlough Lake Water Festival at Wild Water Armagh (Conroy Pond) in Northern Ireland.

Discovery Channel Superhuman Showdown[edit]

Barkai demonstrates his developed ability to generate cold water thermogenesis.

World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Men[edit]

He was named one of the World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Men in 2015 by the World Open Water Swimming Association. Among his accomplishments, he has completed 9 ice miles during his career.

Eastern Bay Invitational International Ice Mile Swim[edit]

He competed in the 4th Eastern Bay Invitational International Ice Mile Swim in Lough Dan Scout Centre, County Wicklow, south of Dublin, Ireland on 6 February 2016 in 28:55.

Great Shark Swim[edit]

He participated in the Great Shark Swim, a planned 100 km charity swim organised by Madswimmer in the Agulhas Current along the KwaZulu Natal Coast in South Africa. The team stopped after 28.24 km and 9 hours 4 minutes due to stings by blue bottles on 2 December 2016.

Dead Sea Swim[edit]

Participating open water swimmers in the 16 km group tandem swim called the Dead Sea Swim between Jordan and Israel across the Dead Sea on 15 November 2016 that took 6 hours 9 minutes included Udi Erell, Adina Faur, Kimberley Chambers, Abigail Thomson, Avishag Turek, Ori Sela, Oded Rahav, Juandre Human, Jean Craven, Evan Feldman, Ben Enosh, Doron Amosi, Munqeth Mehyar, Brooke Penney, Dov Litvinoff, Nick Papageorge, Samuel Moran, Luc Chetboun, Karon Marx, Neil Macaskill, Herman van der Westhuizen, Hylton Lokitch, Gita Osrin, Ram Barkai, Erez Amir, Yussuf Muhammad Ahmad Matari, Olfat Haider, Rachel Sharon Lane, Qusai Abdullah khalaf Al-louzi, Ahmed khalil ahmad murad, and Jackie Cobell. Members were from South Africa's Madswimmer group and the Cyprus Israel Relay Team.

2016 World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Men[edit]

Barkai is named to the World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Men in 2016 (alphabetized by last name) by the World Open Water Swimming Association:

1. Dr. Doron Amosi, extreme relay/cross-border swimmer from Israel
2. Antonio Argüelles Díaz-González, channel swimmer and endurance athlete from Mexico
4. Cyril Baldock, marathon/channel swimmer from Australia
4. Ram Barkai, administrator, event organizer and ice swimmer from South Africa
5. John Batchelder, butterflying marathon swimmer from USA
6. Nejib Belhedi, marathon/stage/boat pull swimmer from Tunisia
6. Alexander Brylin, channel ice swimmer from Russia
8. Luc Chetboun, extreme relay/cross-border swimmer from Israel
9. Salvatore Cimmino, amputee advocate and marathon/extreme swimmer from Italy
10. Jean Craven, marathon/extreme swimmer from South Africa
11. Ned Denison, IMSHOF administrator and marathon/ice swimmer from Ireland
12. Craig Dietz, disabled open water swimmer from USA
14. Ben Enosh, extreme relay/cross-border swimmer from Israel/USA
14. Udi Erell, extreme relay/cross-border swimmer from Israel
15. Stephen Junk, channel swimmer from Australia
16. Henri Kaarma, event organizer and ice swimmer from Estonia
16. Ger Kennedy, ice, underwater and extreme swimmer from Ireland
18. Craig Lenning, marathon/channel/ice swimmer from the USA
19. Neil Macaskill, extreme/cross-border swimmer from South Africa
20. Pádraig Mallon, escort pilot, event organizer and marathon/channel/ice swimmer from Ireland
21. Ingemar Patiño Macarine, channel/marathon swimmer from the Philippines
22. Andrew Malinak, administrator and cold water/marathon/channel swimmer from the USA
24. Chris Marthinusen, extreme/high-altitude swimmer from South Africa
24. Patrick McKnight, marathon/channel swimmer from the USA
25. Allan McLeland, Peak and Pond swimmer/climber from the USA
26. Darren Miller, channel swimmer and event director from the USA
26. Rohan More, marathon/channel swimmer from India
28. Gullupilli Narhari, extreme relay swimmer from India
29. Matías Ola, event organizer and ice/extreme swimmer from Argentina
40. Kieron Palframan, ice/extreme swimmer from South Africa
41. James Pittar, blind marathon/channel swimmer from Australia
42. Javier Mérida Prieto, disabled Triple Crown swimmer from Spain
44. Lewis Pugh OIG, ocean advocate and ice/extreme swimmer from the UK
44. Oded Rahav, extreme relay/cross-border swimmer from Israel
45. Stephen Redmond, channel/marathon swimmer from Ireland
46. Adrian Sarchet, marathon/channel swimmer from Guernsey
46. Ori Sela, extreme relay/cross-border swimmer from Israel
48. Dan Simonelli, coach/guide/observer and marathon/channel swimmer from the USA
49. Paramvir Singh, extreme relay swimmer from India
40. Albert Sobirov, ice swimmer from Russia
41. Petar Stoychev, marathon/channel/ice/Olympic swimmer from Bulgaria
42. Ryan Stramrood, ice/extreme swimmer from South Africa
44. Martin Strel, marathon/stage swimmer from Slovenia
44. Dr. Otto Thaning, channel/marathon swimmer from South Africa
45. Jacques Tuset, prison island swimmer from France
46. Toks Viviers, ice/extreme swimmer from South Africa
46. Adam Walker, coach, event organizer, and channel swimmer from England
48. Christof Wandratsch, event organizer and ice/marathon/channel/professional swimmer from Germany
49. Brenton Williams, event organizer and butterfly ocean swimmer from South Africa
50. Herman van der Westhuizen, extreme high-altitude swimmer from South Africa

Swimming with Shivers[edit]

Barkai wrote an article in Swimming with Shivers, a book co-authored by Claire Bunker-Fellingham and Gary Standen that includes stories from, by and about Carl Atkinson, Deborah Banks, Jo Barkwith, Andy Bennett, Katie Blair, Sylvia Bland, Gideon Bright, Claire Bunker-Fellingham, Judith Charman, Sze-Ming Cheung, Chillswim, Tracy Clark, David Coleman, Phil Coombe, Talbott Crowell, Ned Denison, Nick Dorey, Dryrobe, Ros Edmonds, Rory Fitzgerald, Daniel Gilmore, Will Glendinning, Gone Swimming, Rebecca Goodson, Julie Gregory, Shaun Hales, Happy Cold Swimming, Louise Hazelton, Colin Hill, Elaine Howley, International Ice Swimming Association, Roni Jelgavas, Mark Johansen, Jody Jones, Ele Jump, Ger Kennedy, Ivan Lewis, Julie Lloyd, Jules McRobbie, Sally Minty-Gravett MBE, Jaimie Monahan, Steven Munatones, Diane Murphy Weaver, Jim Nyberg, Barry O'Connor, Outdoor Swimmer, Simon Parkin, Lisa Peake, Kevin Proctor, Jane Saycet, Val Smith, Fergal Somerville, Jodi Songhurst, Gary Standen, Lucy Stansfield, Kate Steels-Fryatt, Swimming With Smiles Book, Tidal Wave Fitness, Jonty Warneken, Karen Weir, Haydn Welch, Samantha Whelpton, Emily Whittaker, and Nicola Wood.

2018 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year Nomination[edit]

The IISA World Cup Series was nominated for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year by the World Open Water Swimming Association:
The benefits of cold water swimming has been known for millennia, but it was only in 2009 that the sport of ice swimming was formalized and popularized by Ram Barkai and his South African colleagues. After defining ice swimming as a completion of at least 1 km in 5°C water and creating a ratification process, the International Ice Swimming Association has been rapidly expanding on a hockey stick uptick. Its growth is documented on every parameter: increases in corporation sponsorship, television and media exposure, number of official Ice Miles completed, and professionally-run international competitions. The International Ice Swimming Association World Cup Series is the latest embodiment of growth and popularity. The Series includes several events for newcomers and veterans: 50m butterfly, 100m breaststroke, 200m, 500m and 1 km freestyle races as well as 4 x 50m and 4 x 100m relays. For creating a formalized, global excitement about the sport of ice swimming, for standardizing safety, logistical and operational procedures around the world across cultures and in different languages from Russian and Chinese, Norwegian to Czech, for continuing to enhance the competitive experiences for ice swimmers of all ages and abilities, the International Ice Swimming Association World Cup Series by Ram Barkai is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.

External links[edit]