Press-Republican

Amazing Neighbors

November 17, 2013

Record numbers turn out for Plattsburgh Polar Plunge

PLATTSBURGH — A bathrobe was the costume of choice for Faust D’Angelo at the fourth-annual Plattsburgh Polar Plunge Saturday afternoon.

The SUNY Plattsburgh student was one of more than 400 participants who lined up along the shore of Plattsburgh City Beach, ready to dash into the waters of Lake Champlain to raise funds for the New York Special Olympics.

“I didn’t feel like bringing a towel and I thought a bathrobe would be like wearing a towel and I’d be all comfy,” D’Angelo said.

D’Angelo said he wasn’t concerned about the mid-40-degree water temperature predicted by the National Weather Service, having jumped into cooler waters before.

The 2012 Polar Plunge had seen heavy winds and a lower temperature than the 2013 event, leaving many former plungers thankful for the calm skies.

For polar plunger Jerry Blair, the weather above the water was a bigger concern than the temperature below.

“The wind is not here today and that’s huge,” Blair said.

Along with 19 other team members, Blair took the plunge as an employee and representative for the special education unit of Champlain Valley Educational Services.

While some runners went up to their waists before turning back, others took to the water as they might have on a warm summer day.

Such was the case for SUNY Plattsburgh students and Long Island lifeguards James Hernon, Jacob Otto, Patrick Tucker and John Keenan.

The four students were the last polar plungers to leave the water, roughly 10 to 15 minutes after the starting signal.

Coming back to shore, the group said that the plunge had been the result of weeks of training.

“We’ve been doing cold showers only,” Hernon said.

Each team member would try to endure the cold temperatures for as long as possible in addition to a regular exercise routine.

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