Swimmers start year with icy dip

New Year's Polar Bear dip planned for Summerland again over holidays.

The new year will begin with a chilly dip in Okanagan Lake for around 100 brave swimmers in the 27th annual Polar Bear Dip on Jan. 1.

The swim, which takes place at Sunoka Beach at noon that day, is an initiative of the Summerland Kinsmen Club.

Kelsey Van Alphen of the Kinsmen Club said the club is looking to expand the event this year.

He said a prize will be awarded for the swimmer with the best costume.

While most swimmers do not don costumes for the brief dip in the lake, a few have dressed elaborately for the occasion.

Van Alphen said a superhero costume and a presidential costume are two of the more memorable recent efforts.

He said the club would like to give the annual plunge more of a festival atmosphere.

He added that he would like to see other community organizations and service clubs raise money and take part in the swim.

While the event is not a big moneymaker for the Kinsmen Club, Van Alphen said funds raised will go to various Kinsmen projects.

“I think it’s the biggest overlooked event in Summerland,” added Jason Mathers, another Kinsmen member. “We have a fairly big Polar Bear Dip.”

He added that the swim is a great way to start the new year.

“It’s a shock to the system, from what I’ve been told,” he said.


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