Swim under a several-meter ice circle in the Lipno dam, which shows zero degrees Celsius, without wetsuits, only in T-shirts and without diving goggles. This was one of the tasks of the Strakon soldiers who spent a week in the Boletica military area in Český Krumlov, where they trained to survive in winter conditions. They then moved to Dolní Vltavica for one day, where they practiced what to do when the ice breaks under a person.
Freewoman Aneta Kalivodová also found herself under the “ice trap”. “At the beginning I was very nervous because I didn’t know how I would react to it,” said Kalivodová before entering the ice water. “Then I calmed down and concentrated mainly on breathing. A person’s chest is completely tight. While swimming under the ice itself, I felt no fear. I tried to be on the other side as quickly as possible. In the end, I managed it without any problems,” described her first dive under the ice.
In ice water for five minutes
Thirty Strakon soldiers tried swimming under the ice for the very first time. “Their task was to get into the water, move to the ice floes, sink, swim under the ice floes and return to the shore again,” said Jana Samcová, press officer of the 25th anti-aircraft regiment in Strakonice. The soldiers spent an average of five minutes in the ice water. During the training, they were supervised by rescuers from the Water Rescue Service.
“Swimming under the ice is the most demanding part of the entire issue of personal self-protection when breaking through the ice. You have to swim under the obstacle in the form of ice above you, find an opening in it and emerge through it. It’s a lot about the psyche, about the head. When a person panics, he can react completely senselessly,” said Milan Bukáček from the Water Rescue Service of the Czech Red Cross in Český Krumlov, adding that water professionals also explained hypothermia to the soldiers, i.e. how cold affects the body, how to behave when it occurs and how to prevent it. to avoid serious complications. Bukáček also emphasized that the water surfaces are currently thawing due to ice and represent a death trap. People should not enter them.
They slept under shelters
In addition, as part of the training, the soldiers in Boletice slept outside under shelters that they built themselves. “They also tried to make a fire and prepare food in improvised conditions. It was very demanding and a military psychologist was available to them,” said Michal Šťoural, the unit commander, adding that in the end they all managed the extreme training.