|Jimmy, Sharon, me, Tony and Stephen|
The rest of us soon followed suit as fellow Pod member Mark Heuwetter, there just to cheerlead, encouraged us from the beach while taking pictures and videos of our progress (including the ones posted here - thanks, Mark!). The wind-driven chop made swimming difficult, and several of us struggled with leaking, fogging goggles that were impossible to adjust with cold, gloved hands. Back at the beach, Jimmy’s friend Bondy waited for our return, intent on taking her own first polar plunge, which Jimmy had promised he’d join her in after our swim. That was all I needed to hear to be inspired myself, and when the Polar Pod’s brief but exhilarating excursion was over, Jimmy and I both stripped off our wetsuits and joined Bondy in a bathing-suit-only bone-chilling New Year’s polar plunge before dashing back to our cars to dry off, warm up and drink hot tea.
Cold-water swimming certainly isn’t for everyone. For the members of the West Neck Polar Pod, our compulsion to push the boundaries of the "open-water swimming season" is motivated less by a fondness for cold water and goosebumps than by a stubborn unwillingness to relinquish the delicious freedom of the open water for the finite container of the pool (though the cold water definitely kicks up our endorphins!). That’s why we were out there today on this first day of 2016...and why we’ll be out there again as often as the weather and our personal constraints allow. So if you weren’t able to join us today (Gae Polisner, Annmarie Kearney-Wood and Joye Brown, you know I’m talking to you!), don’t worry – you’ll have 364 more chances this year!
Happy New Year, everyone! See you in the Salt!