Polar Bear Swim

Joelle Hawkins shivers during the 12th annual Polar Bear Swim last year at the City Park Pool in Copperas Cove. This year’s swim takes place Saturday.

With temperatures forecast to be between 40 and 65 degrees, the Copperas Cove Polar Bear Swim won’t be as cold as some northern winter dips, but it’s expected to be chilly.

“If the sun comes out, it is going to be a nice day to be outside,” said Daniel Huckaby, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth. “Any water that has been sitting around is still going to be quite cold.”

While Huckaby didn’t recommend swimming outdoors, at least 20 Copperas Cove residents are planning to take a plunge in City Park Pool Saturday as part of the 13th annual Polar Bear Swim.

“We have about 20 right now, and we are hoping to get about 50,” said Andy Cedillo, Parks and Recreation director.

Residents wanting to participate in the January tradition can register for the winter swim at the event.

“It is just a fun event that is offered for all ages,” said Angie Vanlandingham, the city’s aquatic director. “They come in, jump in the pool, and we just let them stay in the pool as long as they can.”

Vanlandingham said the city will give a prize to the person who stays in the pool the longest.

Since this is Texas and cold weather isn’t expected, Parks and Recreation will set a time limit of an hour, Cedillo said. If several people are still in the pool after an hour has elapsed, they will all get prizes.

Sponsors of the event are providing coffee and hot chocolate to participants so they can warm themselves up, Cedillo said.

The Polar Bear Swim has become a tradition for Copperas Cove residents as it has for people up North, Cedillo said. He hopes it is fun and exhilarating for residents looking to kick off the year.

For Parks and Recreation, it is the first major event of the year. Upcoming events include the Kids Fish in February, the Easter egg hunt in April, and the pools opening in May, Cedillo said.

Contact Mason W. Canales at mcanales@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7474

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