Swimmers take a freezing dip in Lake Geneva

Admiring spectators lined the shore of Lake Geneva on Sunday to cheer on the 999 swimmers who braved the icy waters to take part in the annual Christmas Cup.

This content was published on December 18, 2011 - 17:48 and agencies

In a water temperature of 5.2 degrees, the fastest swimmers covered the 125 meters from one end of a city park to the other in about a minute.

It was the 73rd time the event has been held. Yves Parade, aged 78, has now swum in 45 of them.

But he was by no means the oldest person to have taken to the water. That was 86 year-old Rose-Marie Hintzy.

The cold was too much for five of the participants, who had to give up, completely stiff, the event spokesman said. They were quickly hauled on board one of the accompanying boats and given first aid.

Hot tea was on hand for shivering swimmers and spectators alike.

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