PHOTOS: First-timers plunge into Gorge Waterway for annual polar bear swim

Regular polar bear swimmers Anya Reid (left) and Hayes Zirnhelt jump back into freezing waters after taking their first dip moments before. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Dozens of swimmers took the plunge into the cold waters off Banfield Park for the annual polar bear swim in Saanich. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
First timer Sam Salamon joked that the polar bear swim is the best way to get rid of a hangover. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Kerri Morash (left) convinced her daughter, Kora, to join her in their first polar bear swim at Banfield Park Wednesday afternoon. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Dozens of swimmers took the plunge into the cold waters off Banfield Park for the annual polar bear swim in Saanich. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Polar bear swimmers were greeted by a warm propane fire, hot soup, and snacks to recover. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

Kerri Morash had never done a polar bear swim until Wednesday.

The Saanich mother took her daughter to join her plunge into the freezing waters at Banfield Park.

“It was exhilarating and then after a second or so, it was pins and needles,” Morash said. “It’s an amazing way to start the new year and try something that I’ve never done before. It’s exciting to push the limits and see what your body can do.”

ALSO READ: Sooke family welcomes Vancouver Island’s first baby of 2020

Morash and her daughter Kora were part of dozens of Greater Victoria residents who hopped off the park’s dock around noon. Screams and shouts were heard every other second, as swimmers jumped in.

“[It helps] getting over your hangover, right?” joked Sam Salamon, another first-timer.

READ MORE: Sooke’s polar bear swim a shiveringly good time

After people jump into the water, they are met with a warm propane fire, hot soup and snacks for anyone who needs to recover. Organizer Robin Rombs is reminded of the sense of community he feels when swims like this happen.

“I started this event six years ago with just my brother and I can’t believe how much it’s grown. The water is freezing, but you’d be surprised how warm it feels after jumping in more than once.”

aaron.guillen@goldstreamgazette.com


@iaaronguillen
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Local Monarchist says Saanich Peninsula would be a ‘great place’ for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Bruce Hallsor also expects the couple’s professional opportunities to lie outside Greater Victoria

Court rejects mistrial for accused Victoria drug dealer who fired his lawyer

Horst Schirmer filed a mistrial application on basis of receiving incompetent representation

Saanich seeks young residents to serve on 2020 advisory committees

Youth members must be between 16 and 24 years old

VicPD confirms wolf sighting in James Bay

Police ask that children and pets be taken inside

VIDEO: Furry, four-legged donors make their way to doggy blood drive in Langford

WAVES and Canadian Animal Blood Bank host blood drive for dogs

Risk of coronavirus low in B.C. as first case emerges in Toronto: officials

There have been no confirmed cases of the virus in B.C.

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

VIDEO: Drone footage shows extent of damage in Highway 4 rockslide

Tofino, Ucluelet still cut off from rest of the island, as crews work to repair roadway

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

‘My heart is going to bleed’: Bodies brought back to Canada following Iran plane crash

Remains of Sahar Haghjoo, 37, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elsa Jadidi, were identified last weekend

BCLC opens novelty bet on Harry and Meghan moving to the west coast

Meanwhile, real estate agency points to four possible homes for the family

Canada slips in global corruption ranking in aftermath of SNC-Lavalin scandal

The country obtained a score of 77, which places it at the top in the Americas

Wuhan bans cars, Hong Kong closes schools as coronavirus spreads

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said her government will raise its response level to emergency, highest one

Most Read