2009 Polar Bear Plunge – Matthews Beach in Seattle

Today was the day of my first (and last?) Polar Bear Plunge. Here were the stats for the 7th Annual Polar Bear Plunge:

  • water temperature was 44 F
  • outside temperature was 41 F
  • wind chill temperature was 34 F

I’m probably the only one that actually trained for this event. Starting on Sunday I’ve been taking ice cold showers daily to prepare my body for the cold swim. Turns out an ice cold shower is actually colder than Lake Washington, so the plunge wasn’t as bad as I expected.


Some people wore costumes.


In order to get the Badge of Courage, you needed to go out far enough that the water hit your neckline. It took me about 45-60 seconds to reach that point. Instead of turning around, I dove under and swam another 10 meters, came up and then booked it back to the shore. Upon returning to shore, I completely forgot about getting the Badge and instead focused on getting warmer. Brain freeze?

It was a fun event. Some people do this every year. I’m probably thinking this is a Hit and Quit It event. Once is enough. Check it off the list. Damn I look pasty. How many more months to sun?



Add yours

  1. There are 3 pictures. Which one are you? The hairy one with the pink one piece and cap?

  2. The clue word in the post was “pasty”. 🙂

  3. OMG. I can’t believe you did it! Woo hoo! That’s crazy!

  4. white people are crazy.

  5. I am impressed!

    Happy New Year!

  6. Great job Micheal! I concur that it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting and I hadn’t ‘trained’ for this like you did (I’ve been taking cold showers for different reasons 🙂

    Sorry that we didn’t find each other in the mob there. That place was packed. I might have one more plunge in me, but next time on the east coast. Now that water is COLD – even in the heat of the summer.

  7. Good for you, Michael 🙂

  8. I can’t belive you did that Micheal!

  9. Hi…found you blog while searching info about ‘our’ (Marylands) Polar Bear Plunge.

    Pass on to Paul that if he wants to do an east coast plunge to check out the Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge (benefits Special Olympics Maryland). This past Saturdays was the 13th annual event.


    It has grown from about 20 participating in the first one to 11,000 in this years.

    Also to give you an idea of the frigidness our ours, the water temp was a balmy 34 degrees and air temp was 36 and windy.

    Thanks for letting me share!

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