New year rung in with cold swims

Jan. 1, 2013 at 3:55 PM
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EXCELSIOR, Minn., Jan. 1 (UPI) -- Brave swimmers in Minnesota, South Carolina, Wisconsin and Chicago rang in the new year Tuesday by jumping into frigid waters.

ALARC, the Minnesota club behind the 1 p.m. swim in Excelsior, said prior to the event that participants were to include the tradition's founder, Bill Wenmark, 86, who has participated in 22 previous New Year's Day swims.

The Hilton Head (S.C.) Island Packet reported the 11 a.m. Hilton Head Polar Bear Plunge at Coligny Beach was expected to be attended by at least 1,000 brave swimmers while the Friends of Hunting Island said a similar number was expected for the 1 p.m. Pelican Plunge at Hunting Island State Park, which raised funds for the Discover Carolina educational program.

The Jacksonport Polar Bear Club in Wisconsin said its 27th annual plunge was scheduled for noon Tuesday and participants were asked to donate cash or nonperishable food items for charity Feed My People, the Door County (Wis.) Advocate reported.

WBBM-FM, Chicago, reported 50 brave souls in the city jumped into Lake Michigan, where the water was measured at 37 degrees and the air was an even colder 18 degrees, for the annual Polar Bear Plunge.

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