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About Me

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Awarded an MBE in the New Year's Honours List 2023.

I founded Devon and Cornwall Wild Swimming in 2010 with the aim of setting up a network of swimmers in the two counties promoting open water swimming in all its different genres.

The groups began with just 5 members and now there are over 10000 as well as a dozen or more smaller local groups.
The group operates mainly through it’s Facebook groups Devon Wild Swimming and Cornwall Wild Swimming where swimmers chat and organise to meet for swims. The two groups are separate only for Facebook purposes as there is so much going on the forums would be far to busy to follow if they were together !  Facebook Devon Wild Swimming     Facebook Cornwall Wild Swimming
My passions have evolved into Ice Swimming, sea swimming and endurance swimming.

( see Significant Swim lists at the bottom of the page ).

In 2014 I swam a ( 21 mile ) 2 way swim of Lake Windermere overnight which took me 16 and a half hours.

Between 2013 & 2016 I completed four English Channel relays and in July 2015 I attempted a solo swim. However due to tidal and weather conditions ( Force 5 winds ) the swim was aborted after 13 and a half hours as I had been swept too far North to successfully land in France. ( At one point I was level with Belgium ! ).

I have also swum a 4 person relay along the length of Loch Ness  setting the UK record and was one of the swimmers at the inaugural Lake Geneva Classic swim crossing the 13KM from Switzerland to France.

I swim without a wetsuit all year round and I am an ambassador for the International Ice Swimming Association. I have take part, representing Great Britain, in many of the  Winter Swimming and Ice Swimming events around the world including Siberia, China, America, Latvia, Estonia, Germany, Netherlands, Poland and Spain. Closer to home I also swim at the UK Cold Water Swimming Championships held at Tooting Bec Lido as well as PHISH ( Parliament Hill Ice Swimmers Hootenay) and the ChillSwim at Windermere.

In 2015 I won the marathon Ice Swimming event in The Baltic Sea in Estonia by swimming 1200 metres in 1.7 degree water ( 28 minutes ) and in 2016 won the Polish Ice Swimming 1000 metres in a pool cut from the ice.

In the world of Ice Swimming I completed my first Ice Mile in January 2014 and in 2018 become the first woman in the world and one of only 3 people to have completed 10 Ice Miles. ( an Ice Mile is a swim of 1 mile in water temperature below 5 degrees wearing just a normal swimming costume, goggles and hat - no wetsuit).
One of my Ice Miles was swum entirely in butterfly and am one of only two people in the World to have completed an Ice Mile in fly.

In 2021 5 of my Ice Miles were recognised as 'Extreme Ice Miles' and I am one of only 90 people in the World to have completed an extreme Ice Mile and only two other swimmers have completed 5 Extreme Ice Miles.

In 2017 I founded The Polar Bear Challenge to share my knowledge of cold water swimming and to encourage swimmers to swim throughout the winter. The Polar Bear Challenge is now in it's 5th season and has expanded with the advent of The Penguin Challenge and there are thousands of swimmers from all over the world taking part each year.

I organise several open water swim sessions in and around Plymouth where I live and I try to provide opportunities for those new to the sport to jump in and give it a go as well as encouraging more established swimmers to extend their swimming boundaries – safely of course!
I am always happy to speak with anyone wanting to find swims or swim buddies in Devon or Cornwall or to chat about Ice Swimming and you can contact me on Facebook or email or

Pauline Barker MBE

( MamaBear )

ocean hero 2
2 Way Windermere ( 21 miles ) 2014
English Channel solo 2015
Switzerland ( Lausanne ) to France ( Evian ) 13K - 2017
Chillswim Coniston ( 5.25 miles ) - 2013
Chillswim Coniston ( 5.25 miles ) - 2013

Significant Endurance Swims


ChillSwim Coniston 5.25 miles

Plymouth Breakwater Swim 2.2 miles

Burgh Island 1.5K

St Michaels Mount 1.5K

Aveton Gifford to Bantham 6K



Swim Serpentine - 6 Miles

Lake Geneva Classic - Switzerland to France 13Km


English Channel Relay ( 4 Person - Jellybabes )


English Channel solo swim attempt



ChillSwim Coniston 5.25 Miles

English Channel Relay ( 4 Person - Team Selkie)

English Channel Relay ( 4 Person - Seize The Day)

English Channel Relay ( 5 Person - Aspire Team Turtle )


Two Way Windermere - 21 miles

Loch Ness Relay - 4 person - 23 miles

Significant Ice and Winter Swims

February 2020 - Ice Swimming in Katowice, Poland and Winter swimming in Gdynia, Poland

February 2020 - Lake Bled, Slovinia. IWSA World Championships

January 2020 - China ( IWSA World Cup )

December 2019 - Tyumen, Siberia, Russia ( IWSA World Cup )

December 2019 - Moscow Ice Swimming

November 2019 - Latvia ( IWSA World Cup )

January 2019 -

London ( UK Cold Water Swimming Championships )

London ( Parliament Hill Icy Swimmers Hootenay )

February 2018 -

Ice Mile #10, Cornwall, UK 2.97 degrees

Ice Mile #9, Cirencester, UK 3.07 degrees

Ice Mile #8, Cornwall, UK 3.3 degrees

January 2018 -

Ice Mile #7, Volendam, Netherlands 4.00 degrees

Ice Kilometre #10, Amsterdam, Netherlands 3.6 degrees

Ice Kilometre #9, Katowice, Poland 2.3 degrees

January 2017 -

Ice Mile #6, Volendam, Netherlands 4.27 degrees

Ice Kilometre #8, Amsterdam, Netherlands 4.5 degrees

Ice Kilometre #7, Volendam, Netherlands 4.2 degrees

Ice Kilometre #6, Katowice, Poland 1.5 degrees

Ice Kilometer #5, Burghausen, Germany 3.4 degrees

( IISA World Championship event )