For the die hard, the Greenbelt Aquatic and Fitness Center is offering a polar plunge into the new year.
“A lot of people go — it’s 38 degrees outside, why would I want to get in the pool?” Julie Magness, administrative assistant with the Greenbelt Aquatic and Fitness Center, said.
Magness answers them — “bragging rights.” Plus you get a cool tee shirt that lets people know you were brave enough to do a polar plunge, she said.
The polar plunge is not an annual opportunity at the center, Magness explained. It is only available this year because in May the center had its outdoor pool resurfaced with white coating. As part of the curing process for the resurfacing, the pool has to remain full and chlorinated.
“The pool is perfectly acceptable for swimming, except it’s really, really, cold,” Magness said.
But it could be colder. Magness said she has a friend who takes a similar polar plunge into a lake in New York, where a hole has to be chipped in the ice. Gives a whole new meaning to the word resolution.
EMTs will be on hand during the plunge, Magness said.
The polar plunge is for swimmers age 8 and up and costs $15. It starts at 11:45 a.m. at the outdoor pool and lasts until 11:55 a.m.
After the plunge, Magness said the center wants to bring people’s body temperatures up to normal — they can hop in the hot tub after it opens at noon. Payment for the plunge also includes use of the indoor pool when it opens for normal admission, from noon until 4 p.m.
Polar Plunge participants who registered by Dec. 15 will get a free tee shirt, but Magness said the center ordered extras, so those who swim can still purchase a shirt.
One thing participants can’t do, though, is dive into the deep end. They can walk down the ramp or jump into the water, where it is 4 feet deep.
For those who want a warmer start to the new year, the center is offering an indoor Resolution Swim. Registration is at the indoor pool for both the swim and the plunge, and participants can register up to and on Jan. 1.
The Resolution Swim is from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. It’s $5 per person for those age 8 and up.
Swimmers will share 3 ½ lanes with circle swimming. Those who want to swim in their own lane can pay $12 per hour for one of the four private lanes — as available. Some lanes have already been reserved.
When it comes to the center's New Year's events, Magness said, “If it gets people starting their year off with exercise, it’s a good thing."