Jump into ice-cold waters: New Year's swimming in Daun


Dive into the new year in a special way

300 visitors did not want to miss the wet and cold fun at the Gemündener Maar.
300 visitors did not want to miss the wet and cold fun at the Gemündener Maar.

I was looking forward to the new year 2020 a little bit more this year than all the other new years I have experienced. Because for this start of the year, a very special event will take place: a New Year's swim at the Gemündener Maar in Daun! The idea had been the result of a collaboration between the city of Daun, the GesundLand Vulkaneifel and a few other committed partners, and would soon hopefully be successfully put into practice - and I would get to experience it firsthand as a co-organizer. For the event, we were inspired by many such actions throughout Germany and Europe. Whether on the North Sea, the Rhine, or even the Tiber River - in many places along the water, people overcome themselves to jump into ice-cold waters at the start of the year. There is some disagreement about the origin of this winter swim. Some sources say that the original idea of such New Year's swims came from Canada, where bathing in ice-cold water is known to harden and keep the body healthy in the New Year. Other sources say that ice bathing is based on a long tradition that originated in Russia. There, ice bathing is said to have once been part of the Christian Orthodox Epiphany festival, celebrating the appearance of the Lord.

Be that as it may, at least for us today it should only be about the fun of it. Well, at least almost, because such a winter swim also has positive effects on health: The cold stimulus strengthens the immune system, because the body is exposed to a strong temperature stimulus by the sudden onset of cold. The body reacts by producing heat as quickly as possible. In order to do this, the blood vessels must dilate. This allows the blood to circulate more quickly and stabilizes the circulation. This is the reason why regular bathing in cold water is beneficial to health. It also strengthens the immune system and protects the organism from infections. Nevertheless, one must be careful when taking such a bath in icy cold. In no case should you be in the water for more than a few minutes, otherwise you run the risk of hypothermia.

But that can't happen to us today, because representatives of the DLRG will keep a watchful eye on all those who decide to take an ice bath, not to bathe too long and that no one comes to harm. Representatives of the German Red Cross are also here to intervene in case of emergency and to provide medical care. When I arrive at Gemündener Maar, there is still calm around the icy body of water. Here and there, some of our hard-working helpers are at work, making the final preparations for the event. I am quite curious to see how many people will dare to jump into the ice-cold water. It's already crisp and cold outside. The bone-chilling cold air fills my airways and makes me shiver a little. I take a look at our thermometer, which we need to record the correct temperature on the participants' certificates at the end. Just three degrees outside temperature! Oh dear, how cold it might be in the water then...

At 11:30 a.m. the starting signal for the jump into the Gemündener Maar should fall. I am already curious how many daring swimmers we can welcome. After all, it is also for a good cause! All proceeds will be used to purchase a defibrillator, which will make swimming at the Gemündener Maar even safer in the future. Last but not least, I hope that in addition to many participants, numerous visitors will come to watch the spectacle from the shore. You don't have to jump into the cold waters yourself...because I just can't bring myself to do that either.

I look a little nervously at the clock. Shortly before eleven...well, there's still some time. Not that we end up standing alone at the Maar - maybe no one just wants to take an ice bath in this cold? I'm honest, with a water temperature of 3.5 degrees I wouldn't do that voluntarily either. Not that everyone thinks like me and no one comes, I ponder. But a few minutes later it turns out that my worries are completely unfounded. The first daredevils arrive! I am happy that the first swimmers have accepted our invitation and I greet the curious visitors. It's a bit crazy, I think to myself: you're standing at the Gemünden Maar at the beginning of January with temperatures around freezing point, and people are arriving with large swimming bags because they want to jump into the ice-cold water right away. That will be an experience!

As the hand approaches the magic mark of 11:30, I also get a little nervous. In a moment, the starting signal would be given, and the pack of now a good 60 swimmers would jump into the ice-cold water. Already with the thought of it I could shiver and am once more glad that this jump does not have to dare. There is a hectic hustle and bustle and the crackle of general anticipation is in the air. Then the time has come: our cold-resistant water sportsmen are ready and dare to take the plunge into the icy cold waters. The starting signal is given and they are already in the water!

A splash and a gasp can be heard - at these water temperatures you first have to gasp for air. But I also see many happy and cheerful faces. Who would have thought that a bath in water around freezing point can apparently be so much fun? Most of them did without "professional" swimwear like wetsuits and went into the water with simple swimwear. I imagine how that must tingle on the skin. One is even quite daring and swims even a good piece. It's good that the DLRG is on site and accompanies him, because swimming at such temperatures is not quite without.

Many spectators, around 300, have arrived and follow the spectacle with excitement and a delicious mulled wine in hand. From the outside, warmly wrapped in thick coats, cozy scarves and warm hats, the fun is of course twice as much fun. The first swimmers get out of the water again. That's good, because you shouldn't stay in it too long. Many of them now make use of our field kitchen and fortify themselves with a portion of our delicious pea soup.

Satisfied, I look around and observe the large crowd of visitors and swimmers who make our first New Year's Day swim a complete success. I meet some more familiar faces and enjoy the cheerful and exuberant atmosphere at the edge of the volcano. So many good-humored people around me. I am happy that our first event of this kind went so well.

That was a wonderful start for the new year and I already know: It will happen again in 2021! And who knows? Maybe I'll get over myself and dive into the new year myself next time...


Author: Michaela Schenk/Valerie Schneider


Other comments
Valerie Schneider
Guten Tag Frau Esper, weitere Informationen über das Neujahrsschwimmen 2024 sowie die Möglichkeiten zur Anmeldung finden Sie hier: https://www.gesundland.tourismusnetzwerk.info/2023/12/15/neujahrsschwimmen-am-gemuendener-maar-jetzt-anmelden/ Viel Spaß bei der Veranstaltung! Mit freundlichen Grüßen Valerie Schneider/GesundLand Vulkaneifel
Edeltraud Esper
wo kann ich mich anmelden?
Edeltraud Esper
ich hoffe, meine Nachricht ist angekommen
Edeltraud Esper
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