Swimmers take New Year's dip off Coney Island

January 1, 2012 1:23:31 PM PST
Two groups of winter swimming enthusiasts have taken a plunge into 2012 in New York City.

Both the Coney Island Polar Bear Club and the Ice Breakers took their annual New Year's dips into the Atlantic Ocean off Brooklyn Sunday afternoon.

Ice Breakers member Bob Stewart says the unusually warm, roughly 50-degree air made it "almost like a summer day" - by these swimmers' standards, anyway.

About two dozen Ice Breakers members immersed themselves in the roughly 45-degree water.

An hour later, a few hundred people joined the Polar Bears' plunge. First-timer Russell Downes called it "one heck of an ice bath."

The Polar Bears' event is a fundraiser for Camp Sunshine, an organization that helps children with life-threatening illnesses.

The Ice Breakers aim to promote human and environmental health.

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