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Morzhi Fest gathers winter bathers (PHOTOS)

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A man dives into cold water as he attends Morzhi Fest during Epiphany celebrations on Jan. 19. (2017)
Photo by Volodymyr Petrov

Kyiv’s third annual Morzhi Fest ice swimming festival was held on Jan. 19 in Kyiv’s Extreme Park recreation area, in Druzhby Narodiv Park, between the Dnipro and Desenka rivers.

The festival coincided with the Orthodox Christian festival of Epiphany, which commemorates the baptism of Jesus Christ in the Jordan River.

Morzhi Fest, however, included competitive ice swimming, with a 15-meter course for women and a 30-meter one for men. There were also masterclasses in winter swimming, and obstacle course race, and a cross-country skiing event.

The festival takes its name from the Ukrainian word for walrus, “morzh.” The word is commonly used in Ukraine and Russia to refer to people who swim outdoors in winter.

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