Warm day didn’t take bite out of the Polar Plunge

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The more than 1,000 plungers who committed to jump into the Chesapeake Bay back on Jan. 25 were happy the event was rescheduled for a warmer day.

But as expected, the water temperature still delivered a shock.

“I’m numb, freezing but excited,” says Anna Capozzoli just after getting out of the water.

Some wearing costumes, others wearing Maryland flag print bathing suits and Polar Bear Plunge gear, the participants raised $75 each for Special Olympics go into the 32-degree water.

Their contributions got the organization closer to its $2.5 million-dollar fundraising goal.

“We’re hopeful there is more in the end when we do the calculations, but we really feel good that people still supported,” says Jason Schriml with the Special Olympics. “It’s weeks later; they have plans and things have moved on, but we still have a large crowd and that’s great.”

Harsh conditions forced organizers to cancel the original event that 7,000 people agreed to attend. The warm weather on Saturday helped bring out more walk-up participants, Schriml says.

While most appreciate the near 60-degree temperatures, 16-year-old Andrew Hicks does not.

“I don’t know, it has to be cold,” says Hicks, of Olney. “It’s not as fun when it’s not cold.”

This is his family’s third Polar Bear Plunge, though they’re involved in a number of programs that benefit Special Olympics. Hicks’ sister, Bella, has Down Syndrome.