clear
Monday May 30th, 2016 12:04PM

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 2016 AccessWDUN.com
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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.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 ( 2 years 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 ( 2 years 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 ( 2 years ago )
Local/State News
PHOTO GALLERY: Memorial Day Parade in Gainesville honors fallen veterans
Crowds lined historic Green Street in downtown Gainesville Monday morning as a plethora of entries paraded the street.
8:00PM ( 1 day from now )
PHOTO GALLERY: Gainesville, Hall County remember fallen military during Memorial Day
In public parks and at church services, Hall County residents took time Sunday to remember U.S. military members who offered the ultimate sacrifice in battle.
By B.J. Williams
7:00PM ( 1 day from now )
Forsyth County authorities searching for shooting suspect
Atlanta television media are reporting that two people were shot and wounded at a home near Cumming early Monday morning.
7:23AM ( 4 hours ago )
Gainesville area leads Georgia for most Memorial Day weekend BUIs
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources has released statistics on boating incidents for the Memorial Day Weekend and the Gainesville area has seen the most Boating Under the Influence incidents of any major waterway in the state.
10:00PM ( 14 hours ago )
Alexander Rossi pulls off stunning upset in 100th Indy 500
Alexander Rossi outlasted his faster rivals _ and his fuel tank _ for a stunning victory Sunday in the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500
5:50PM ( 18 hours ago )