Dozens brave icy water to benefit Special Olympics
WHITEWATER It’s hard to know what made Luke Haen gutsier, wearing nothing but his very skimpy swimsuit or plunging into icy water.
On one hand, he was leaving nothing to the imagination in his leopard-print trunks while standing in front of hundreds.
On the other hand, he risked his body by jumping into water slightly warmer than ice while the air temperature was a crisp 24 degrees.
So why did he do it?
“Because I’m stupid,” the 19-year-old UW-Whitewater student joked. “You’re freezing, but it’s definitely a rush.”
He also wanted to help raise money for the Special Olympics of Wisconsin. He and others participated in the Whitewater Polar Plunge at Cravath Lake to help 1,500 athletes in southern Wisconsin.
During the plunge, dozens of college students, local business people, children and others braved the frigid water. Many dressed in costumes, including a penguin and a flamingo.
Plungers often jumped in groups, holding hands and screaming while they leaped on the count of three.
They fought for the ladder to get out first then ran to a tent where they could put on dry, warm clothes.
“It’s crazy. You just jump in the lake water. You can’t even see anything,” said Travis Frazier, an 18-year-old UW-Whitewater student. “You have so much adrenaline going you can’t even feel it.”
Ashley Przekurat said she was a little nervous before the plunge, even though she had done it in previous years.
“It’s really fun. It’s exhilarating,” the 22-year-old UW-Whitewater student said. “Even though it’s cold, it’s not unbearable.”
Sue Fuller, 46, a member of the Kwik Trip team, said she was worried about climbing out of the water on the ladder. She didn’t want to get stuck.
“It gets slippery,” she said. “I wasn’t going to stand in there.”
When she jumped in, she gasped for breath. It was freezing cold, but she is proud to help Special Olympics athletes.
“I definitely did it because of the Special Olympics,” Fuller said.