Local amateur swimmers will brave freezing waters in just their swimsuits in an attempt to take home the world cold water swimming title next month.

A team from the Bluetits Chill Swimmers, including eight swimmers from Pembrokeshire and one from Ceredigion, will compete in races ranging from 25 to 450 metres wearing just their swimming costumes in two to three degrees centigrade water.

Milford Mercury: Some of The Bluetits Winter Swimming World Championships team.

The Bluetits is sending a 60 strong team of amateurs to Tallinn in Estonia to compete for a place in the world rankings in the Winter Swimming World Championship.

In a true “Eddie the Eagle” effort, the swimmers are taking part in the championship from March 4-10.

It will be the second year running that a Bluetits team has entered the event, following their trip to last year’s championship in Slovenia, where their excellent turnout meant they accounted for 16 per cent of the entrants.

The Bluetits Chill Swimmers is a worldwide movement that began in St Davids, Pembrokeshire in 2014 and now has over 100,000 members all over the world.

While the Bluetits are all amateur swimmers, the championship is the ideal challenge for them because of their focus on cold water swimming.

Milford Mercury: Flying the flag at last year's World Championships in Slovenia .

Bluetits founder Sian Richardson will be competing this year and was also a member of last year’s team .

“Two to three degrees centigrade is really cold, and the way your body reacts to the temperatures below five degrees centigrade is literally shocking,” said Sian.

“When you go into 15-degree water, you feel a little chill, and then you can feel your body getting colder.

“But go into anything between under five and your body just goes cold instantly - there doesn't seem to be that process where you start feeling colder, and the cold really hits your brain like a brick.”

With that in mind, she and her teammates are making use of the cold weather in the UK to get their bodies and minds used to swimming in cold water without insulation such as gloves, boots or a wetsuit.

“The biggest challenge our members have is going to be swimming in very cold water, predicted to be around 2 degrees – especially if they have to swim with their heads down,” said Sian.

“I’m advising them to do away with their boots, gloves, rash vests and shortie wetsuits now; get your bodies and brains used to swimming in cold water without that armour. Many team members are also dipping three times a week in an ice bath at home.”

The Winter Swimming World Championship, organised by the International Winter Swimming Association, draws people from all over the world. Everyone who takes part in the competition gets a position in the world rankings.

Besides the participating Bluetits, an estimated 30 supporters – fellow Bluetits, friends and family, are flying to Estonia to support the swimmers.

“I don’t know what the organisers will make of us – there’s a lot of us, and we’re going to make a big impression.” said Sian.

“We’re really looking forward to the adrenaline on the day, and we know from last year that this competition is run beautifully. There will be the build-up as you walk to your swim spot, the thrill of hearing your name called out, and then the additional thrill of hearing 70 or 80 Bluetits screaming your name.

“It really gets your pulse racing – and then there’s the incredible feeling when you reach the other end, get out, and everyone says you were amazing. However cold it is, I guarantee it makes you wish you could do it again.”