'Polar bears' take New Year's dip

Joe Vozzo emerges from the water after a dip during the annual New Years day Coney Island Polar Bear Club swim in New York, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2008.

Seth Wenig/The Associated Press
Published: Wednesday, January 2, 2008 at 10:59 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 2, 2008 at 10:59 a.m.

NEW YORK - Hundreds of hardy swimmers braved the 42-degree Atlantic Ocean on Tuesday for a traditional New Year's Day dip.

"It was a fantastic day," said Louis Scarcella, president of the Coney Island Polar Bears Club.

About 300 club members went in the water off Coney Island, raising $30,000 in pledges for Camp Sunshine, a camp for seriously ill children and their families in Casco, Maine, Scarcella said.

Another two dozen members of the Ice Breakers took a dip off nearby Brighton Beach, member Bob Stewart said.

"The cold water clears our minds and bodies so we can experience the new year in a more fresh and relaxed way," he said.

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