BEIJING SSNAPSHOT: Swimmers dive in an icy lake close to the Olympics

Chen Jieyu, sixty-years-old, plunged into the murky waters of Houhai Lake. She was partially covered in ice and snow.

BEIJING SSNAPSHOT: Swimmers dive in an icy lake close to the Olympics

She was covered in snowflakes, but she only had on a regular swimsuit. Her legs and arms were exposed. It was 21 degrees Fahrenheit outside (minus-6 degrees Celsius).

Beijing residents enjoy traditional winter games at the lake in Xicheng as the Winter Olympics continue just a few steps away from the bubble.

Chen said that anyone could do it and anyone would be cold. He also suggested that their icy swims should be considered an Olympic event. "You'll feel more comfortable in winter swimming if you continue to do it."

She smiled as she got out of the water. The boy was watching her and he reached out to grab her hand. He shrieked, "Oh so cold!"

Age ranges for the swimmers of Beijing Houhai Happy Winter Swimming Team from 20 to 90. Some of them come every day, no matter the weather, clear or rainy. They are often seen in winter by many curious people. Their presence has become an iconic feature of the city.

Han Liyuan (72-year-old Beijing resident) said, "I go in the water every day. All four seasons in one year." Han has been swimming at the lake since 2008, eight years ago.

Han stated that it's not for the weak of heart. He can't breathe immediately after he dives in. His body must adjust to the shock.

They keep their swims brief in the cold waters. Even if it's only for a few minutes.

He has also learned to cope with cold as he continued swimming over the years. His physical health has also improved.

"I can walk fifteen miles without stopping, and I'm able to compete with anyone 20 or 30 years old when it comes to walking."


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