Jacksonport 32nd polar plunge

Local News

Today Jacksonport saw its 32nd polar plunge.

What started as the Polar Bear Club plunge in 1986 with one to three swimmers has grown into a spectator event that brings people from across the country by the hundreds.

With a temperature of 1 degree, feel-like temperatures of 20 below and a water temperature of 32 degrees, some swimmers were shaking in their snow boots.

About 200 divers took the New Year’s Day plunge.

Typically they’d see 800-900 swimmers.

“Today’s number due to the dangerously low when chills and single digit temps, we’ll have a lot less people on the beach,” says founder for the event J.R.Jarosh. “But with the music, the sun is out and the water looks inviting. I really don’t know where I’d rather be right now then Jacksonport.”

For some the experience was new.

“I just kind of randomly thought I might as well since I’ve heard about it for years,” says Kailee Moe.

For more seasoned swimmers it was a new challenge.

“It’s the coldest year, you got to get the bragging rights,” says Jim Kapolmek. “I’ve done it before, I live right down the beach sometimes I do it unofficially.”

And others don’t think they’ll be repeating the frosty dive.

“This is probably the only time I’ll ever do this in my life,” says Jennifer Villalpanbo.

Dive teams and the fire department were there to make sure no one got hurt or suffered from hypothermia, but swimmers came prepared as well.

But the reason hundreds of brave swimmers show up every year is always the same.

No matter how low the temperature.

“People overcoming obstacles whether that be Mount Everest or skydiving or ultra marathoning, I think we as humans we like a challenge we like to see if we can do it,” says Jarosh.
 

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