Friday, January 01, 2010

2010 Comes with a Splash -- in the Mon

I got to conduct some business on the Mon Wharf today, just before jumping into the River. I (Schenley High School) gathered with the head swim coaches of Central Catholic/Oakland Catholic and Brentwood High School to discuss future swim meets with them this season. We were hoping to get meets with those two schools to fortify our schedule -- and we sealed (pun intended) the deal today.

The one swimmer dude from Central said he'd say in the water for 3 minutes -- and he did. Merci's quote was great. "Well, they earned their varsity letters today." Funny.

Most of us were in and out in a matter of seconds, snow flakes in the air. Plenty of crocs were seen floating down the river near the shoreline.

The Brentwood coach, Robo, is a police officer in the city. Good to meet his wife too. She works at the school. He swam, as did Dave, Brentwood's Assistant Coach, and a Facebook Friend. We really missed Anna.
Another group:


Anonymous said...

Trib coverage:

Polar Bears plunge into icy Monongahela River in New Year's tradition

By Mike Cronin
Saturday, January 2, 2010

The cold painted Katie Mauro's cheeks with rings of concentric circles. Porcelain white surrounded a band of coral pink. A disc of deep purple lay at the center.

Minutes after dashing from the just-above-freezing temperatures of the Monongahela River on Friday, Mauro, 18, of Greensburg still stood drenched, dressed only in a bikini and towel and trembling.

"Woooooooooooooo!" howled Brad Messner, 30, covered by a nothing but a blue Speedo a few feet away. The information-technology director from Greensburg thrust his fist into the air, ignoring the wind and light snow falling on his still wet skin.

"This is just how we are," Mauro said to explain why she, Messner and several others in their group still had not sought clothing or shelter after hurling themselves from the Mon Wharf into the water.

Hundreds of Pittsburgh Polar Bear Club members joined them in the annual New Year's Day dip.

"I bet we had 500 people this year," said Frank Nelson, 61, the club's president. It was Nelson's 45th consecutive New Year's plunge.

Friends congratulated him with a champagne toast as they stayed in the river for about 15 minutes — savoring it.

Submerge-time air temperature was 28 degrees, said Lee Hendricks, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Moon. This year's warmer temperature — last year it was 18 degrees when they leapt from the Downtown parking lot — could explain the record number of participants, Nelson said.

But with wind gusts up to 20 mph yesterday, it felt like 5 degrees, Hendricks said.

That explained why Lacey Buckwalter, 21, couldn't speak when she got out of the water. Trembling and wrapped in a yellow towel, the University of Pittsburgh linguistics and Spanish major answered one word when asked if this was her first New Year's Day swim:

"Second," she said, then bounded off toward her car.

Others, such as Jeff Bronowicz, 44, seemed unaffected. Still wet, the truck driver from Etna, stood in only a bathing suit and talked about his new ritual.

"I'm cold, but it feels good," he said. "This is my second year and I hope to make it every year."

Anonymous said...

Elsewhere in the region:

CONNELLSVILLE: 6th Annual Connellsville Polar Bear Jump
Posted: 11:56 am EST December 23, 2009
Updated: 12:04 pm EST December 23, 2009

The 6th Annual Connellsville Polar Bear Jump will take place on Friday, January 1st at 10:00 AM. Many brave and daring souls will take a dive into the Youghiogheny River at the Yough River Park in Connellsville.

The Connellsville Polar Bear Club will be collecting canned and boxed food to donate to the local food bank. All jumpers and spectators are encouraged to bring something for the Connellsville Community Ministries Food bank.

The event will include a bonfire, hot chocolate and hot cider.

This is the 6th time the Connellsville Polar Bear Club has hosted this event and since its beginning six years ago, the number of participants have grown significantly. Last year over 200 people participated, and organizers are hoping more will this year.