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Swimmers start new year with Polar Plunge into White Lake

The best way to warm up on a breezy New Year’s day at Camp Clearwater was to run into White Lake for a quick swim. The water temperature was 53 degrees. The wind chill on land as a result of the steady breeze off the lake was 38.

About 40 people took the challenge Friday afternoon, running into the lake and diving under the water as part of the fourth annual Polar Plunge. More than 100 watched from the shore or on the pier, taking pictures and video.

The event began in 2013 when former Army soldier Ray Goodin challenged ex-Marine Al Pingree to jump into White Lake on New Year’s Day. There were about 20 participants that first year, more than 40 in 2014 and about 30 in 2015.

Prior to the plunge, Pingree reads the official proclamination:

“Hear ye. Hear ye. Hear ye.
To all who shall see these present, greetings.
Know ye that reposing, special confidence and admiration.
In the bold initiative and intrepid courage — albeit, poor judgment and gross stupidity — of these most humble few,
We are here today to glorify your effort in the 3rd annual Camp Clearwater Polar Plunge.
We hereby dedicate our bodies in this most tenuous effort in the hopes that this new year will bring fun and enjoyment here at Camp Clearwater for all.”

Then, swimmers line up along the water’s edge, shout “We Love the Lake!” and, when Pingree blows his whistle, the plunge begins.

For more photos from the Polar Plunge, visit Bladen Online’s Facebook page.

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