Polar Bear Swim

Jan 2, 2011 11:58 AM

It's a chilly Chico tradition, dozens of swimmers brave the frigid waters of Sycamore Pool in Bidwell Park for the annual Polar Bear Swim. The goal is simple, get across the pool as quickly as you can. And for many it's the only way they start their new year. " If you can start off intentionally going through this, it can't get any worse throughout the year so it's a good way to start off" said Piper Bravo, a second time polar bear jumper. Nevio Renzullo adds that you " Got to start the New Year off right, that's the way you gotta do it".
The new years swim has been going on in Chico for 30 years. Each year it attracts more swimmers, and each swimmer is plunging in for a different reason. Second time swimmer Ryan Bonea says " It was freezing, but it's worth it to come out and then your steaming and feeling wonderful". Sam Piper, a first timer says, " I Can't believe there hasn't been a polar bear in the water yet, so I got my two polar bear buddies to come down from the north and we're gonna do it". " I'm thinking about making it to the hot dog stand on the other side" added Don Bravo.
Regardless of their motivation, they all agree on one thing. The 41 degree water is... " Cold cold baby cold!", " I'm so cold... That's all I know for now", " Freezing, I'm still cold", " It's freezing!!" said many of the swimmers.
And after it's all said and done, the big question is will they do it again? " I will come back every year I am able to, that's absolutely certain" said Bonea. First time jumper Kevin Seaver wasn't so sure when he said, " The water was so cold, I don't know if I'm ever going to do this again". " Yes, absolutely, I will be here next year to do it again" added Paul Bassi.


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