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Over one thousand brave swimmers take to the winter waves at Coney Island Beach, to ring in 2012 with good intentions and a cold splash. But what would real polar bears think of all this?
More than 1,000 revelers gathered on Coney Island Beach in New York on Sunday to participate in the annual New Year's Day swim.
Enthusiasts in bathing suits braved the cold and charged to the water at exactly 1:00
p.m. local time (1800 GMT).
For most participants the cold splash in the sea on the first day of the year meant a refreshing start.
[Adam Mathews, Polar Bear Plunge Participant]:
"Well, it seemed like the best way to start the new year. Just one big awakening."
The temperature hovering around 48 degrees Fahrenheit (8 degrees Celsius) didn't seem to bother most who splashed around for many minutes inside the water.
Michael Pastine was one of them.
[Michael Pastine, Polar Bear Plunge Participant]:
"How was the water? It was very cold. I'd say that it's colder this year than last year, but it's a nice sunny day though, so pretty cool."
The annual event was hosted by The Coney Island Polar Bear Club—the oldest winter bathing organization in the United States, founded in 1903.
Members of the club come together every Sunday from November to April, to swim in the Atlantic Ocean.
The event is a fundraiser for the charitable organization "Camp Sunshine", that supports children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.
According to the club, last years swim had close to 1500 participants, 7500 onlookers and raised almost $50,000 USD.
Similar new year's day events took place throughout the country in places like Chicago, Boston and Seattle.