Cape Gazette

Lewes Polar Bears plunge into year 32

By Dave Frederick | Jan 07, 2014
Photo by: Dan Cook More than 30 Polar Bears plunged into the chilly Atlantic Ocean New Year's Day to celebrate the arrival of 2014.

The Lewes Polar Bears started the jump into the new year with five members in 1983, swelled to a record 350 for the millennium jump of 2000 and by Jan. 1, 2014, had fallen back to 30 plungers.

Yes, it seems that everyone and his grandmother is jumping into the ocean from Lewes to Dewey, Bethany and Ocean City, Md. Whatever the tradition lost, it's a free country to the 200-mile offshore limit.

"It's tradition here in Lewes," said Bill Lingo. "We will always come here on New Year's Day." Hard-core Lewes Polar Bear Bob Hughes has mixed feelings about all the groups forming and wondered when conditions are brutal who shows up. Last New Year's Day was relatively easy with 45-degree air temps and about 38 in the water.

The next jump is the Sunday, Feb. 2 Polar Plunge for Special Olympics in Rehoboth Beach.

Christening 2014 at the Cape Henlopen State Park were Dale Johnson, Glenn Gerson, Karen Gusmer, James Gusmer, Tom Gusmer, Wendy Gusmer, Spencer Steele, Chip Davis, Karen Verna Carlson, Harriet Taylor, Amanda Lantz, Richard Lantz, Alison Hughes, Connie Miller, John David Miller, Avary Miller, Bob Hughes, Ed Tesseia, Bruce Egolf, Bill Lingo, Tessa Lingo, Jack Lingo, Pat Backus, Murray Padgett, Jonathan Ball, D. Brooks, Rachel Dawson, Aryanna Briddell, Keith Ricker, Erin Ricker, Kamdyn Shockley, Tykee Perry, Brittany Kelson, Brad Egolf, Julie Egolf, and Carr and Carrie Lingo, who was accompanied by several members of her surprise wedding party.


Polar Bears gather on the Cape Henlopen State Park beach after their New Year's Day plunge to celebrate the arrival of 2014. (Photo by: Dan Cook)
Former Olympic hockey player Rachel Dawson takes her first ever plunge into the chilly water of the Atlantic. (Photo by: Dan Cook)
Jack Frederick sprints toward the ocean during the plunge. (Photo by: Dan Cook)
The plunge was a way to see old friends as Carrie Lingo, left, hugs Chip Davis as they exit the water. (Photo by: Dan Cook)
John David Miller runs out of the ocean with his daughter Avary after her very first plunge. (Photo by: Dan Cook)
It was Newlywed Day at the plunge as former Olympian Carrie Lingo and her new husband and former Navy member Murray Padgett pose for a post-plunge picture. (Photo by: Dan Cook)
It was Newlywed Day at the plunge as Jack Lingo and his new wife Tessa pose for a post-plunge picture. (Photo by: Dan Cook)
Ralph Gooch of Lewes has plunged for many years. (Photo by: Dan Cook)
Former Dewey Beach Patrol members Richard Lantz and his wife Amanda celebrate 2014 with a jump into the Atlantic. (Photo by: Dan Cook)
Brad Egolf, left and dad Bruce always celebrate the new year with the plunge. (Photo by: Dan Cook)
Veteran plunger Bob Hughes exits the chilly water. (Photo by: Dan Cook)
Veteran Dale Johnson brings friend Glenn Gerson for his first plunge. (Photo by: Dan Cook)
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