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Feb 7, 2016 10:08 PM

Penguin Plunge celebrates 17 years of diving into frozen waters


HAMPTON BEACH - Hundreds turned out for an annual event that involves jumping waves in February.

Hampton Beach is usually pretty quiet during the off season but Sunday, it was anything but that.

You could hear crowds cheering as parades of people danced across a stage dressed in American colors for the 17th annual Penguin Plunge.

The plunge is held in February, on Superbowl weekend, and usually people are jumping from a snow covered beach into ice-cold waters to benefit the Special Olympics.. But with the recent weather, plungers lucked out.

"The weather is fantastic! Honestly probably one of the best years we’ve had” said one plunger, ready to go.

The beach was also filled with spectators, waiting to watch almost 500 people go for a swim.

To psych themselves up, many yell and shout before charging into the frigid water. As soon as they're in, they're back out again.

But in the process, they raised about $550,000. All of that money will help the 3,200 Special Olympics athletes, like Kristen Davidson of Epping.

"I do Special Olympics" she said. "This (Penguin Plunge) helps a lot."

Other athletes participate in the plunge, like A-Train. He said being a part of the plunge reminds him of how much the Olympics means to so many.

“When you put that gold medal on their face, it’s their expression, like yea," he said.

And the Olympics is about more than just winning.

"They have team members that they become friends with," said Marcia Gardner, Athlete and Families Volunteer Coordinator for the Special Olympics. "It's not only about sports, it's about friendships..long-lasting friendships".

So getting a little cold is a small price to pay for helping others.

“It was awesome, freezing but awesome, and for a great cause...totally worth it” said one participant.

If you missed the plunge, there is another one called the Winni Dip in March, and registration is still open.


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