Warming up: Competitors in the mid-winter swim get their circulation going for the icy dip. D8762-081

AROUND 120 of the Eastern Bay’s bravest – or possibly foolhardiest – residents participated in Sunday’s annual Mid-Winter Swim.

For some it was a choice and for others it was a challenge.

This year organiser Radio 1XX decided to change up the event and anyone who registered to take part would challenge another to participate.

Promotions co-ordinator Michelle Keighley says if that person chose not to participate, they are required to donate to the fundraiser’s beneficiaries – Whakatane Surf Lifesaving Club’s nipper programme and St John Whakatane.

She says the change was a success, resulting in a fundraising record.

“This year was the most amount of money we have raised, so the people who took part were really generous. We actually raised $500 which is triple the amount raised in previous years,” she says.

Participants were only required to sprint 20 metres or so into waist-deep water to complete the task.

“We put lifeguards in the water as a landmark.

“Swimmers had to actually make it to the lifeguards then come back to shore to
officially complete the swim,” she says.

The water temperature was a balmy 14 degrees and Michelle says most found it quite bearable.

For some of the Whakatane High School international students who participated it was almost tropical.

Norwegian Mathilde Dano compared it to the summer temperature of the Nordic seas she is used to.

Back home in Oslo, she says she would go for a swim at the start of every month – all year round.