Home Ice bergs Melbourne shivers on the coldest winter day in four years as St Kilda icebergs head for the beach

Melbourne shivers on the coldest winter day in four years as St Kilda icebergs head for the beach

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It was Melbourne’s coldest morning in four years, but for the St Kilda Icebergs it’s not the plunge into near-freezing conditions that’s the struggle – it’s getting out of bed.

Actress and Icebergs swimmer Natasha Herbert said she got into the habit about two years ago, during the COVID-19 shutdowns.

“I was just doing it by myself and it was only because all the theaters were closed – I didn’t have a job, I was worried about that,” she told ABC Radio Melbourne.

“I discovered that you had to go into cold water every day, it took all the anxiety away from me.

Natasha Herbert started swimming daily in 2020.(Provided: Natasha Herbert)

Ms Herbert said that despite her hard work keeping her on stage until almost midnight, the reward was worth starting early.

“Before, I was someone who went out for a drink afterwards – now I’m like, ‘I have to get home quickly, set the alarm and get up early,'” she said.

“Getting out of bed is the hardest part.

“It’s harder than getting into the water, actually.”

Melbourne Harbor with flat water, yellow light and boats in the background.
Swimmers say the feeling of swimming stays with them all day.(Provided: Natasha Herbert)

No combination Wednesday

Swimmers took on the challenge of giving up wetsuits on Wednesday.

“We are all addicted to the cold,” Ms Herbert said.

But when pushing themselves to swim longer distances, they tend to choose the warmer option.

“Hypothermia is a real thing,” Ms Herbert said.

Ms. Herbert said 40 minutes was enough for her.

“We came to a pole and I was like, ‘Oh wow, I have to swim 20 minutes back,'” she said.

Two people raising their arms out of the water to touch a yellow buoy.
Ms Herbert says she can stand the cold for about 40 minutes without a suit.(Provided: Natasha Herbert)

‘Meerkats’ at sunrise

In 12 degree water, the group stopped for sunrise.

“We swim to a pole – each pole has a name,” Ms Herbert said.

“The first pole vaulter is Sammy and everyone turns like meerkats into the sunrise… submerged in the water.

A swimmer's hands form a heart of love through which the sun shines as it rises over a city.
Natasha Herbert says her daily swim gives her a huge boost.(Provided: Natasha Herbert)

Ms Herbert said she felt she was going through the rest of her day with a sense of lightness.

“The feeling you have for the rest of the day is amazing,” she said.

“It’s a kind of euphoria.”

Mrs. Herbert has found a few tricks to help her warm up once she’s back on dry land.

“A two-litre hot water bottle and Alan brings a bucket,” she said.