Tuesday, January 26, 2016

US Winter Swimming Championships, coming to Manhattan on Saturday, January 30th!

The Coney Island Polar Bear Club heads to the water for their weekly winter swim, the day after our giant blizzard (oh yeah, some of 'em even went IN the blizzard - these folks are not easily deterred, and some of them are in training for this weekend's big event!). Photo by Deb Rabinowitz, via Polar Bear Allyson Howard. Thanks Deb and Allyson! 

Just a quick lunchtime post to share info about a really amazing event that's happening this coming Saturday (January 30th, 2016). It totally snuck up on me - I meant to post about it late last week, but better late than never. Saturday's forecast says 40 degrees and partly sunny; the Stevens Institute NYHOPS site (I love that site) shows water temperatures at the northern end of Manhattan to be in the mid to low 30's - now doesn't that just sound like the perfect conditions for a swim meet in the Hudson River? Well, it does to the fine folks at the US Winter Swimming Association, who have picked the Hudson River as the location for their 2nd annual US Winter Swimming Championships. Full details at their website. I'm going to go cheer on my friends from the Coney Island Polar Bear Club! Woohoo! Go Capri, Go Cristian, go anybody else who's competing!

Note - Oops, at the time I posted this there was no actual schedule of events on the USWSA website, but when one of my paddling friends pointed that out, Capri (The Polar Bear Princess, who's actually the one who gave me Pedro the Penguin Hat) was able to provide a tentative one: adjusted tentative schedule for next SAT JAN 30, 2016 - US Winter Swimming Association National Championship 2016 - at La Marina: SAT JAN 30, 2016
9am – registration begins 

10am – 200m free 
11am – 25m breast 
12noon – 50m free 
1pm – 50m breast 
2pm – 100m free 
3pm – 25m free 
5pm – relays

I'm always a bit amazed at these folks who actually swim in water that would stop most of us untrained mortals cold (literally) in minutes -- if you've ever read any of those cold-water safety sites over there in my sidebar, you'll know that off-season boating is something that smart boaters approach with full awareness of the hazards and an expensive (and generally garish) wardrobe of outfits designed to extend your period of functional time should you accidentally end up in the icy drink -- cold water is nothing to be messed with and the folks who actually swim all winter (not just for a New Year's Day caper) are a very special kind of athlete. I'm very excited that the championship is here this year!

For more NYC winter swimming fun/madness, check out the Coney Island Polar Bear Club on Facebook or at Polarbearclub.org.


Carla said...

How. FUN!!!!
I live in Austin Texas but my husband's job is based out of Manhattan and he will be there this weekend!

Laurie Oien said...

There's an annual Polar Plunge done in our local lake here in Minnesota. My husband did it about 7 years ago and my college-age daughter did the plunge last year with her boyfriend. You'll NEVER find me doing this. Those people are crazy!! It is for a good cause though and give the crazy ones credit for taking the plunge.

bonnie said...

Cool, Carla! Thanks!

The Coney Island Polar Bear Club actually swim all winter - some just go for a dip, some actually swim. They organize and supervise the big crazy New Year's Day plunge at Coney Island - they consider it a way to give back to the community and they raise a lot of money for Camp Sunshine, a camp for children with life-threatening illnesses. If the weather was ever too terrible for my paddling club's New Year's Day paddle I would love to go to the Coney Island event, but I think I'd leave my clothes on, stay on shore and take a ton of pictures.

I have had a great time joining the Polar Bears for an Easter Sunday swim for the last two years, but that's the earliest I've even gone in the water in just a swimsuit here in NYC!

bonnie said...

ps - it is still very very cold on Easter!

Laurie Stone said...

Brrrr... cold just looking at the photo. I give such credit to people who do the impossible.