Today, under clear skies and with temperatures in the high 30s, the third annual Polar Plunge was ON! It started with Aquatics Coordinator Mitch Kallemyn giving the safety instructions, which I found interesting. No jumping in the deep end because when you jump in cold water – and water temp today was 37 degrees – there can be an involuntary gasp, which if you were under water would mean a gasp of cold water. Not good. Another safety precaution Mitch told me about is to NOT go in the hot-tub immediately afterwards, but to transition through the indoor pool first. Don’t want to shock the system TOO much.
Another safety precaution was the ambulance waiting nearby.
This year about 20 Greenbelters participated as Plungers, with their $15 registration fees going to the Special Olympics (after paying for the neat purple shirts being modeled above, right.) I asked a few of the Plungers why-o-why they were jumping into near-freezing water and the answers included “It’s fun,” “For the bragging rights,” and “I’m just crazy,” with one participant crediting his 100-pound weight loss as the inspiration. (Um, but what’s the connection? See previous answers above.)
Enjoy the Plunge via video, from the comfort of your living room or office! If you’re inspired, you can participate next year because this IS a regular feature of the Aquatic Center. I learned that the pool’s surface is protected by having water in it all year, so there’s no special filling of the pool required for the Plunge. And it’s such fun – for us spectators especially.
UPDATE: NBC-4 played this video on the evening news! Don’t know how they found it, but I got an email early in the morning New Year’s Day asking for permission, which naturally I gave. They must have called the Aquatic Center because when Jim Vance introduced the video he said there were four lifeguards on duty for the Plunge, plus the ambulance, and that there were 40 Plungers. Lesson learned? The power of Youtube cannot be underestimated!