Tuesday, December 29, 2009

13th Annual Polar Bear Swim on Lake Lanier

13 years ago a Canadian tradition moved south to Lake Lanier. The Lake Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club started with a Canadian coach Tony Hall who thought it would be fun to copy the real Canadian Polar Bear Plunge, where people cut a hole in the ice and jump through.

60 brave people attended that first New Years Day event and 13 years later organizers expect over 200.

The next installment of the Polar Bear Swim is at 2 p.m. on January 1 and is being held at the Olympic Venue at Clarks Bridge Park .

The event is a fun way to start the year but is also a fund raiser for the Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club . The event raises several thousand dollars each year to pay the club's bills and support young athletes.

Gainesville's Polar Bear Swim has been held in a variety of weather over the years. Sometimes temperatures have been warm and around 60, while other times more normal, in the 40s and 50s. One year when there was actually a thin layer of ice on the lake when it came time to jump.

Jumpers can enter various competitions including best costume and best jump.

Reprinted from lakelanier.com
Photo: National Geographic

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