31st Lewes polar bear plunge returned, participants excited to be back in the water

REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. – On Sunday people from all across Delmarva came to the beach to take a dip in the cold water to support the Special Olympics of Delaware.

Over 3,000 people put on their best costumes and swimsuits and headed to Rehoboth Beach to take a quick dip in the 30-degree ocean, and it was all to support the Special Olympics of Delaware. “I don’t usually run but I will be running in and out today so I’m excited!” says Alina Horne, a local health care worker, participant, and member of the ‘Barely Naked Women.’

For some people, this was the first time they took the icy plunge. “This is my first year as well and I’m just kind of excited to be here with everybody in our group,” says Olivia Dukes, a participant and member of the ‘Barely Naked Women.’ “We decided to support Special Olympics this year and just have some fun with it so we came up with Barely Naked Women,” says Horne.

For others, I’m told it’s a years-long tradition, each year bringing another opportunity to make friends and support the special Olympics. “It’s so much fun, just the atmosphere, and the countdown is the best,” says participant, Cheri Watts, and member of the ‘Barely Naked Women.’ She adds, “For everyone’s feeling each other’s energy and dancing around and listening to the music and just having fun it’s just great to support a great cause.”

We’re told the greatest part of the day for seasoned plungers was just being back in person to support the Olympians. “Since we took the last year off this year it’s different, it’s like an awakening,” says participant Dominque Emory. After hitting the water, Emory gave just a few words to describe it. “It was freezing frostbite can’t feel my feet it was so cold!”

However, Emory says while the shivers may not take very long to subside, it’s the impact that leaves a lasting mark. “Especially if you like helping people, just come out without even personally going to them, you can help them out and you don’t even know it,” says Emory.

Participants also tell 47 ABC, they’re just excited to return for next year.

We’re also told the event raised over $1 million, making a total of over $14 million in its history. The funding will support the 4,200 athletes who train and compete in the Special Olympics of Delaware.

The event was sponsored by Wawa and Discover.

Categories: Delaware, Local News