The Coney Island Polar Bear Club in New York is the oldest winter bathing organization in the U.S. The Club holds swims in the Atlantic Ocean every Sunday during the winter and hosts its well-known New Year’s Day swim that serves as a charity fundraiser for the Camp Sunshine.
While winter swimming has a long history and is well-established in Finland, the U.K., Russia and other countries in colder climates, there are innumerable opportunities for people to take a cold dip during the winter months in the Northern Hemisphere.
Like the Coney Island Polar Bear Club New Year's Day Swim, each event has its own traditions and many of the events have colorful logos and endeavor people to enjoy the health benefits of cold-water swimming.
An extensive article on the benefits and risks of ice/winter swimming can be found here.
Other polar bear swims include the Vancouver Polar Bear Swim in Vancouver’s English Bay in Canada, the Ventnor Boxing Day Swim in Ventnor Beach, New Jersey, the Jacksonport Polar Plunge (“Freezin’ for a Reason”) in Jacksonport, Wisconsin, the Olcott Lions Club’s Polar Bear Swim for Sight in Lake Ontario, the Lake Bemidji Polar Bear Swim in northern Minnesota, the Great Northwest Polar Bear Swim in San Antonio, Texas, the Vancouver Polar Bear Swim in New Castle, New Hampshire, the Williams Outing Club in Green River, Massachusetts, the Dartmouth Winter Carnival Polar Bear Swim, the Polar Bear Swim in Hayesville, North Carolina, the Huntington Masters Swim Team Polar Bear Swim in Huntington, New York, the Moultrie YMCA Polar Bear Swim Camp in Moultrie, Georgia, the Hanover College Polar Bear Swim in Hanover, Indiana, the American Swimming Association Polar Bear Swim in Lake Travis, Texas, the Polar Bear Swim in Chico, California, the Polar Bear Swim in Lake Lanier, Georgia, the Birch Bay Polar Bear Swim in Washington, the Saratoga Beach Polar Bear Swim in Campbell River, British Columbia, the White Rock Polar Bear Swim, the Polar Bear “Break the Ice” Swim in Oyster Bay, New York, the Polar Bear Swim at Qwanoes, Vancouver, Canada, the Lawrence Desrosiers Polar Bear Swim in New Waterford, Nova Scotia, Canada, Harvard University Alaska Klub’s Polar Bear Swim, the Portsmouth Rotary Club’s Polar Bear Swim in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Polar Bear Swim in Catalan Bay in Gibraltar, the Belmar Elks Polar Bear Swim in Belmar, New Jersey, the Polar Bear Swim for Charity in Silver Creek, Hanover, New York, the Eskasoni Polar Bear Swim in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, the Sam Fordyce’s
Polar Bear Plunge, the RCZ Polar Bear Swim in Zurich, Switzerland, the Thanksgiving Challenge in Lake Michigan, Chicago, the Commack Triathlon Club Polar Bear Swim, the Polar Bear Swim in Lake Michigan, Sheboygan, Wisconsin, the Pemberton Winterfest Polar Bear Swim in Vancouver, Canada, the Polar Bear Swim in Long Beach, New York, the Lions Surf City Splash in Huntington Beach, California, the La Jolla Cove Swim Club's Polar Bear Swim in La Jolla, California, the Polar Bear Swim in Los Angeles, California, the Polar Plunge in Oceanside, California, the Seal Beach Police Association's Polar Plunge in Seal Beach, California, the Venice Penguin Swim Club’s New Year’s Dive in Venice Beach, the Polar Bear Plunge in Bradford Beach, Milwaukee, and hundreds of other cold water swimming events around the world.
If there are inspirational leaders and pioneering swimmers of this genre of open water swimming, it has to be Lynne Cox and Lewis Gordon Pugh who have both pushed the boundaries of cold water swimming with their exploits in the Arctic and Antarctic.
If you know of other Polar Bear Swims, please comment or send an email to headcoach@10Kswim.com.
Upper photo shows the Coney Island Polar Bear Club.
Lower photo shows the Vancouver Polar Bear Swim by MBaumgartner.
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