Spring officially starts next week, and the swimmers of the Marine Hills Swim and Tennis Club — as per usual — bid winter adieu with a plunge.
More than a dozen of them, kids and adults, leapt into the chilly waters of the Puget Sound on March 11 for their annual Polar Bear Plunge.
Shivering, laughing and gasping for air, they yelped or held hands to stomach the cold beach tides next to Salty’s Restaurant. A few of the kids stayed in for several minutes, testing how long they could brave the cold. The adults left in shorter order.
The average water temperature in the Puget Sound this time of year hovers around 46 degrees Fahrenheit, which is cold enough to cause hypothermia after too much time in the sea.
The club has been holding the Polar Bear Plunge for more than a decade, but this is their 60th year in operation. The club opens this year May 20, events coordinator Carol Armstrong said, but this event is a way of kicking off their season.
The pool remains open until September.
Marine Hills is a private swim club, but is open for tennis and swim lessons to the public, Armstrong said. This year, they hope to add pickleball to that repertoire.
The Marine Hills Swim Club is a member of the Seattle Summer Swim League and will compete against swimmers from Kent, Normandy Park and other areas throughout the summer season. It will culminate in a playoff consisting of all the members of the league.
All swimmers from ages 3 to 19 are eligible to participate on the swim team as long as they can swim 25 yards without touching the bottom or sides of the pool or stopping. A buddy system pairs the younger kids with teenagers who make sure the little ones are safe and get to their events on time.
“There’s not a lot of other sports that you see a mix of ages … all working together,” Armstrong said. “It’s a pretty cool thing … It’s been a really positive experience for our family.”
For more information, visit www.marinehillspool.org.