His preparation included workouts in a freeze chamber, ice baths, and swimming in secluded lakes on mountains, but it all paid off for Alistair Bell.

The 33-year-old Tenby Aces member finished second in his category in the recent UK Ice Swimming Championships in Cheltenham, following a race that comprised of 1000 metres in a specially designed open air pool.

Water temperature for official ice swim races usually have to fall below 5 degrees centigrade, and although the lido used slightly exceeded that, Alistair’s placing was made official after clocking 17:12, just a second outside of his personal best.

And it vindicated a change of approach to training this season that has seen him spend more time acclimatising, and less time in the lake.

“In the past I’ve been going to lakes and doing ice swims a few times a week,” he told Telegraph Sport.

“But Castell Howell gave me use of a freezer with a temperature of minus 22 so I did a lot of workouts in that, which included exercises like press ups, dressed in my swimming trunks.

“I was also gifted loads of ice by Eddie Rocks nightclub and Starbucks in St Clears, so I used that for baths and kept exposing myself to cold conditions.

“I used a swimming pool to work on my speed and although I still went to mountains and lakes, I concentrated more on fine tuning.”

It paid off for the 33-year-old, who is based in Llanteg and works as an occupational therapist in Gwangwilli Hospital, as he was runner up in the 30-35 category. And that was despite the strange sensation of not competing in a lake.

“There was more guidance in the open air pool as you had under water markings. And the end of the pool is designed for swimmers and turning, whereas the lakes tend to have a makeshift board.

“But it was 50 metres long and over 20 lengths so it was hard.”

For Bell though, Cheltenham was about more than his own performance. During the event he took part in scientific research along with other competitors, to test how quickly their core temperatures returned after exiting the water in a hypothermic state. The results were positive, with authorities now hoping to use the evidence to push ice swimming towards becoming a Winter Olympic sport.

And Bell will now look ahead to two major goals next year. Having competed in his World Championships in Russia in 2020, he is now targeting another appearance at the ultimate stage of his sport in Poland.

The qualification events appear in jeopardy due to the Coronavirus pandemic, but he will hope being selected by Team GB last time around will stand him in good stead.

Furthermore, he hopes to complete an ice mile in zero degreees, which would see him join an elite band of swimmers to have completed the feat.

Like every other athlete in UK sport however, he is of course now in lockdown. So how is he adapting?

“Obviously we are allowed out to exercise once a day but as I’m now training alone, I’m swimming in shallow rivers. The River Tawe, north of Carmarthen, is good as you can swim against the current.

“But it is frustrating as ideally you want to be swimming with people of a similar pace or faster.

“I have a jacuzzi at home though which I pile ice into and I’m going to carry on acclimatising all year round, not just in winter.”

And he hasn’t forgotten his friends back at the Aces either.

“I’m looking forward to giving them all a swimming race when we get the chance to start up again.”

Alistair covers his own travel and training costs and any businesses or individuals interested in assisting him, can contact him on alistairgbell@outlook.com or 07835765681.