WESTPORT, Conn. – With a crowd of close to 100 onlookers cheering them on, more than 40 brave souls plunged into the frigid waters off Compo Beach in Westport Tuesday morning as part of a fundraising event for Save the Children.
The annual “Polar Plunge,” sponsored by Team Mossman Triathlon Club, raised about $3,000 for Westport-based Save the Children, according to the event’s organizer Southport resident Robin Myers. The 10 a.m. 2013 plunge marked its 10th year, and just in case, members of Westport’s EMS crew were present at the swims in case any swimmers ran into difficulty.
“This year was probably the coldest it’s been,” said Myers while he toweled off following his two dunks into Long Island Sound. “But it’s a fun event and a great start to the new year.”
The Team Mossman plunge was one of two polar bear swims Tuesday morning at Compo Beach. The second was about an hour later, sponsored by Temple Israel to benefit United Cerebral Palsy of New York City.
According to Team Mossman members, the water temperature was 44 degrees Tuesday morning, and following the quick swim, some participants warmed up with a jog down the beach and others with a cup of hot soup provided by the local Bertucci’s restaurant.
“My biggest fear was that my body would shut down,” said Rocky Hill resident Nick Kane, who participated in his first Polar Plunge. “But it was actually a blast. It was cold but not as bad as I thought it would be. I can’t wait for next year.”
Norwalk resident Andrea Williamson, a corporate secretary at Save the Children, said she raised $1,050 herself for her two dunks Tuesday morning, the seventh time she’s participated in the plunge.
“This was probably the best turnout we’ve had,” Williamson said. “As Robin said, our few moments of discomfort is nothing compared to the discomfort that the children we’re trying to help often feel.”