In a 500 metre race in zero degree water, Pugh beat the Russian ice swimming champion Brylin Viktorovich by more than one hundred meters to take the gold medal and set a new world record time of 7 minutes and 2 seconds.
The international swimming's "cold war" was held in an ice-pool cut from the frozen estuary of the Oulu River in Finland. Afterwards Pugh said, "I am absolutely delighted to have won, especially considering the fact that Brylin was swimming. He and the other Russian swimmers are very hard competitors."
Pugh is no stranger to cold water. He recently became the first person to complete a long distance swim in both the Arctic and Antarctic. Pugh's emphatic win has restored some honour to Britain after their poor performance at the recent Winter Olympics Games in Turin, Italy.
Pugh's coach David Becker said, "Pugh has been in awesome condition since swimming in Antarctica in December, and it didn't surprise me that he won by such a margin. It is a great day for British swimming!"
In addition to swimming in the World Winter Swimming Championships this week, Pugh has also been working with scientists from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health who have been testing his unique ability to withstand long periods in icy water.
South African sports medicine guru Professor Tim Noakes, who accompanied Pugh to Antarctica, determined that Pugh has a unique ability to raise his body temperature to nearly 39 degrees C, just by visualising the swim ahead of him.
Pugh is well-known across the world for his ability to swim long distances in icy waters, and is almost legend in Scandinavia. In 2003 he swam around the top of the island of Spitsbergen barely 1,000 kilometres from the North Pole. And in 2004, he baffled sceptical Norwegians when he decided to swim the length of their longest fjord, Sognefjord, a gruelling 204 kilometre journey in water temperatures as low as 6 degrees C, which took him 21 days to complete.
In February this year, in Sydney, Australia, Pugh notched up the distinction of becoming the first person ever to complete a long-distance swim in all five oceans of the world, a feat which many had considered to be the "Holy Grail" of swimming.
"All my previous swims have been about competing against myself and my own limits, so this was really new ground for me. I enjoyed the race and plan to swim in more galas".