Local Polar Bear Plunge sees lowest temps ever | The Cullman Tribune


Polar Bear Plunge sees lowest temps ever

The crowd at this year's Polar Bear Plunge may have been smaller, but it was no less enthusiastic. / Nick Griffin

CULLMAN - This year's Polar Bear Plunge is in the books and according to CP&R's Director of Marketing Waid Harbison, it was the coldest one on record. Harbison let all the participants know just before the countdown that the pool temperature was sitting around 20 degrees and that they were the bravest group of plungers they've had so far. 

This week's historically cold weather deterred some people from participating, but there were still close to 30 people that dove in.

One of those brave swimmers was 15-year-old Jonah Hilb. Hilb participated in last year's plunge and was hoping for an easier dive this year.

"I don't remember exactly how cold it was last year, I think it's about the same right now," he said. "It was freezing, the water didn't even feel like water. Hopefully it'll be better this year."

Unfortunately for Hilb, he was diving into the coldest Polar Bear Plunge ever. After warming back up, he reflected on this year's temperatures.

"It's way colder this year," he laughed. "Last year was closer to 30 or 40 degrees in the water but this year it was like 20 degrees."

This year's winner of the year-long family membership to the Cullman Wellness and Aquatic Center was Lindy Bennefield, who had her two sons, Isaiah and Zeke, and two nieces, Madison and Brooklyn, also putting their names in the hat and diving into the pool. The family has been in the event for the last three years and echoed what many people were saying about the frigid temps. Lindy and her husband Wesley said they had yet to jump into the pool with the kids saying they don't have the guts to get into that January water.

Inside the facility, Community Wellness Week was in full swing with fitness classes, basketball games, food vendors and more all available to the crowds of people taking advantage of the admission-free day. Memberships were also $50 off for everyone during the week and some people took home giveaway items throughout the day.

The Plunge didn't have its normal crowd, but the courage of the participants has never been higher.

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  • Winner Lindy Bennefield, back right, with her husband Wesley and nieces and nephews Madison, Brooklyn, Isaiah and Zeke
  • Health fair
  • Health fair