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

Victoria artist in residence seeks seniors to share stories of life with students

The meeting is part of an intergenerational project focusing on face-to-face conversations

Dozen Metchosin ‘barn cats’ on the hunt for new homes

Broken Promises Animal Rescue hoping to re-home feral cats

Victoria votes to slash sister city celebrations

Victoria will only celebrate its anniversary with Morioka, Japan this year

Shortlisted options for Beacon Wharf replacement cost between $6.3 and $14.2 million

Select committee will investigate various questions around proposed replacement of iconic wharf

Women take centre stage at NHL all-star skills competition

Canada beat the United States 2-1 in a spirited 3-on-3 game between female players Friday night

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

Vernon woman suing McDonald’s for spilled coffee

Woman seeking nearly $10K, says employee failed to put lid on properly

Diners’ health tax not catching on in B.C., restaurant group says

Small businesses look for options to cover employer health tax

B.C. comic wins judgment after club owner slaps cellphone out of his hands

Incident happened last summer when Garrett Clark was performing in Abbotsford

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Most Read