Bondi Icebergs

I first heard about the Bondi Icebergs through a friend and became very curious about the story behind the exclusive swimming club.  Founded in 1929 in Sydney, Australia, the ‘the home of winter swimming’ has some very strict membership rules and it’s definitely not easy to make the cut.

As Michelle Wranik of CNN International discovered, if you can’t remain fully committed over a five-year period, you cannot obtain full membership (the initiation includes swimming in the outdoor pool for three Sundays every winter month, and more than 75 times over five years).

Fancy a dip in one of the best saltwater pools in Australia but can’t be bothered with all the membership rules? Well you’re in luck as non members can also swim at the Icebergs! Pool entrance is AUD$5.50 for adults, and towel hire $3.50.

Although it will likely be a pain to battle all the tourists (erm…like myself?) at Bondi Baths, I reckon it’ll be worth the visit at any time of year, even if just for the impressive views.  We do plan on making a trip out to Bondi Beach when we’re in Sydney, so do check back for an update on our experience there!

Here is my favourite section on the Iceberg’s website, which I have included here for your enjoyment.

How to Join the World Famous Bondi Icebergs

Potential Icebergs should note that induction days for the Bondi Icebergs Winter Swimming Club are held over two weekends in April. NB You should confirm these dates and times at the club.  Complaining about getting it wrong and citing this information, will get no hearing.

After being “Lofterized” in the Members room (don’t worry it doesn’t hurt…much), filling out a form, paying membership up front, you swim a 50m time trial.

a.  To establish you won’t drown.  You need to be able to get from one end of a 50m pool, to the other, via the water, self propelled.  (For stroke correction see “Jo the Mermaid”.  Have noticed a few improved swimmers around the pool and even “the Spy” is vowing to learn to freestyle, so get on with it.)

b.  To establish your handicap time.  I’ll repeat that, your handicap time.  So swim faster, if possible, than you’ve ever swum in your entire life.  (If you don’t get it by now, oh well…)

However, be real, the Icebergs is a commitment and the Club makes no apologies for that.  It is what makes the Club the largest, most recognized winter swimming club in the country, if not the world.  You are obliged to swim 3 Sundays a month over the 5 month winter season.  You will be considered a novice  i.e., not a Long Service Iceberg, until your 75 swims over a minimum of 5 years is up. Being an Iceberg is a responsibility and taking responsibility for yourself.  As JFK said when he was an Iceberg,  “Think not what the Icebergs can do for you, rather, think what you can do for the Icebergs.”

Can’t make the Induction Days?

No worries – You can’t be an Iceberg.

Live too far away to make the commitment of every week?

No worries – You can’t be an Iceberg.

Former Olympian “I don’t like swimming in cold water.”

No worries – You can’t be an Iceberg.

You want special rules, that you’ve decided to make up, to apply to you.

No worries – You can’t be an Iceberg.

You think you want to be an “Iceburger”, like it’s something you get at Macca’s.

You’re an idiot – You can’t be an Iceberg

You’re a hand wringing, slim hipped, purse carrying, nancy boy, who’s blaming everyone but yourself for not having your current membership card on Winter Season Opening Day.

Be an Iceberg – Pay the Pool Entry Fee, it’s about taking responsibility, remember?

Being an Iceberg isn’t for everyone and that’s why being an Iceberg is special.  There are plenty of other winter swimming clubs you can join.  They have limp wristed names like Dolphins, Seals, Crabs or Eels.  None of them are the Icebergs.  None of them have “Rule 15B”.  It wasn’t a Penguin that sunk the Titanic was it?  You’re not going to walk into some gin joint anywhere in the world and proclaim proudly “I’m a Splasher” and expect anyone to care…oh please.  None of the other clubs have hundreds of swimmers turning up week after week after week, rain or shine.  It’s what makes the Icebergs great.

Wrong Question:  How cold does it get?

Correct Answer:  It’s never cold enough!

You’re an Iceberg!  Toughen up!

So why do it?  It’s fun, whether you like it or not!  It’s a point of contact with people from all walks of life, you can bag a local Fireman (everyone does) and an aspiring Prime Minister on the same morning.  You can drink beer and eat meat pies.  There’s healthy food at the “Crabbe Hole Cafe” on pool level.  (The best coffee in Bondi, no contest and food is good for you, scary but true.)

At a time when sleazy public figures try to dictate what it is to be an Australian, this stands above all that sludge as a Great Aussie Institution.  If you need exercise, REAL men and women swim the Bay, 800m each way, before, or after their race, or both.  Even Tex has done it and everyone knows what a pussy he is.  (What do you mean SHARKS?  There aren’t that many.  Well, maybe a few…)

Be a man, not a mollusc.  Do it for yourself and do it for AUSTRALIA!  See you there sport.

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