Tuesday December 1st, 2015 6:02AM

Polar Bear swimmers soak in the rain and Lake Lanier

By Jerry Gunn Reporter
GAINESVILLE - Ninety-two swimmers showed up in the cold wet rain to get wet during the 16th Annual Polar Bear Swim held at the Olympic Venue on New Year's Day.

The steady rain did not discourage them at this first of the year event hosted annually by the Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club. Veteran Polar Bear diver Tom Kupec came from Cumming with his family to jump into the 58 degree water.

"You've got to start the year doing something silly and it's a good family tradition for us," Kupec said.

Kupec added he used to do the Polar Bear Swim in upstate New York. His son joined him for the Lake Lanier swim while his daughter jumped in up in New York. Chad Kupec won the 'best splash' category.

The Polar Bear Swim has never been rained out. Event coordinator Chris Potter, who jumped in himself, said the water was colder than he expected but at least it was not freezing.

"We actually had a surprisingly good turnout," Potter said. "I suppose the weather could be a lot worse on January 1st, it could be a lot colder."

The event was held on the Olympic Venue side of Clarks Bridge Park because of the low lake level.

"It's unfortunate but we had to move the docks over here," Potter added. "On the other side by the boat houses it was just too low."

The event was emceed by long time Polar Bear and Gainesville City Councilman George Wangemann, who was the first to jump in. After their dive swimmers headed directly to hot tubs provided by LCKC, then onto the club house across the road for hot chili and a desert and an event T-shirt.

Dan Decraene from Atlanta, his daughter Nicole and her friend Courtney Woodside warmed up in the hot tub after their Polar Bear Plunge. The Decraenes won the best costume competition with Courtney & Nicole dressed as M & M's. LCKC listed 'Greg and Robert' as the best divers.

Potter said the Swim is one of his club's biggest money making events.
© Copyright 2015
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Ethics laws set to take effect Jan. 1 in Georgia
After dominating much of the legislative session, a set of major ethics reforms is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1.
7:04PM ( 1 year ago )
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 1 year ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
White House offers governors info on refugees in their states after Syrian migrants uproar
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is proposing to offer governors individualized reports about refugees in their states.White House chief of staff Denis McDonough says in letters to all 50 governors t...
9:08PM ( 8 hours ago )
Hall deputies arrest Nov. 21 chase suspect
A Gainesville man wanted for allegedly sideswiping a patrol car on Highway 365 a week ago was arrested over the weekend.
3:06PM ( 14 hours ago )
Man struck by car, killed on Athens Hwy. south of Gainesville
Charges are pending in a weekend accident that killed a pedestrian on Athens Highway.
1:34PM ( 16 hours ago )
Georgia's Mark Richt not done coaching, will listen to anyone interested in giving him a job
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Mark Richt remains interested in another coaching job and said Monday he will listen "to anybody who has interest in me" as he prepares for his final game as Georgia's coach.Georgia...
1:10PM ( 16 hours ago )
Flowery Branch man charged with Thanksgiving Day attack on juveniles
Flowery Branch police have arrested a man for a Thanksgiving Day assault on two juveniles.
12:49PM ( 17 hours ago )