They may have neoprene gloves and boots but not much else as they enter the water each Sunday. This would be the Coney Island Polar Bear Club members. But you wouldn’t confuse them with others out for a swim because I doubt if there are many others in the frigid waters off one of America’s most noted attractions when the Polar Bear Club chooses to take its weekly swims. They are definitely people who really LOVE swimming – or they are just plain crazy! After all, the Polar Bear Club endures water temperatures that have dipped as low as 32⁰F.
Dennis Thomas IS one of those swim-lovin’ people (or he’s crazy). He has been president of the group since he was 54 – and now – five years later – he still charges into the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean on Sundays from November to April.
This has grown into quite an event – raising significant $$ for children with serious illnesses and developed into almost a ritual for the participants who go through a process of announcements – warm-ups – immersion – post-swim for each and every event.
Don’t take my word for it. Read about the Coney Island Polar Bear Club for yourself. Enjoy the pictures of Dennis and his group as they go through their ritual They’re all smiling in their post-swim pictures, so they must enjoy themselves (or like Dennis – they’re all crazy)!
If you’d like to see what actually happens during a Polar Bear plunge, click here. In this ABC News story about Dennis Thomas, you can click through a slide show that tells you how the plunge affects your skin, blood chemistry, muscles and heart, what your potential for hypothermia is , how safe the activity actually is to participate in.
Photo Credit: © All rights reserved by JeffWellerPhotography