WNYT.com

Swimmers brave the Polar Plunge

Posted at: 01/01/2013 5:56 PM
Updated at: 01/01/2013 5:59 PM
By: Beth Wurtmann

LAKE GEORGE - Warming up by a small fire seemed like a smart thing to do, as Schenectady Firefighter Dave Massaro imagined the moment when he would take the polar plunge.

"Probably a little shivering and maybe scream like a girl! I'm not quite sure yet," he laughed.

"ARRRRRWWW!" growled one group of swimmers dressed-up liked the Avengers movie characters, as they posed for the camera.

More than a thousand people assembled in various costumes and swim gear for the yearly New Years dousing in Lake George. That included Albany Police spokesman Steve Smith, who along with friends raised 5,500-dollars for a cause.

"Everybody's wearing purple today in support of Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. We're going to take this plunge because there are a lot of other people out there today who suffer more than we do," Smith said.

With squeals and shouts, the revelers plunged into the 35-degree waters off Million Dollar beach. The event was moved there for the first time because of efforts to stop an Asian clam invasion at the traditional Shepard Park beach location.

"Shepard Park beach has a lot of mats in the water on the sand and we didn't want to mess up the mats in the water with people running in going swimming," Chimiak said.

"Shocking, very shocking!" shouted one swimmer as he emerged from Lake George.

"It's cold, but it's fun," said another.

Taking the plunge, people said, was a chance to cleanse away the old year, and give the new year a brisk start. Or as Dave Massaro saw it, a chance to be a little silly.

"Compatriots, ready to go, ready to start the new year. Friends, family you can't beat it. It's silly but it's the best," he said.

Participants were encouraged to donate ten-dollars to the event. Proceeds will be given to local food pantries of the churches of Lake George Village.