Cabrillo Beach Polar Bears ready to resume San Pedro’s 70-year-old tradition – Daily News

The Polar Bear swim at San Pedro’s Cabrillo Beach is no doubt one of many port metropolis’s oldest and hottest traditions.

And it’s once more as soon as extra this yr, splashing off at midday Saturday, Jan. 1, following its cancelation in 2021 due to the pandemic.

The New Yr’s Day ritual, going once more 70 years, attracts a complete bunch of parents to the leisure shoreline on the Port of Los Angeles for a brisk, splashing sprint by the waves.

The idea: to encourage people to start the model new yr off with some healthful practice, camaraderie and some time outside in nature.

The annual gatherings typically excessive out at 800 swimmers and consists of friends and neighbors, dad and mother with kids, and youthful and older of us alike, who saved in kind swimming all yr spherical off San Pedro’s shoreline.

Many wouldn’t contemplate missing it.

Then acquired right here the pandemic.

For the first time in its generations-long historic previous, the 69th swim was canceled for Jan. 1, 2021. A few of us gathered informally anyway, one among many organizers talked about, and a digital swim was posted on Fb.

However it was a far cry from the massive, boisterous mash-up of our our bodies charging into the breaking waves that has unfolded in earlier years.

The seventieth annual Polar Bear Swim is about to begin with the crowning of the king and queen at 11:30 a.m. — with of us laughing and screaming at noon as they make the leap.

No rain is forecast. It’s supposed to be sunny. However will most likely be chilly, by LA necessities, with an anticipated daytime extreme of about 59 ranges.

Beneath stormy skies on Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021, Steve Herbert and Kathleen Seixas-Greene, the king and queen for the seventieth annual Polar Bear Swim in San Pedro, will lead the throngs of New Yr’s Day celebrants. Solar is forecast for Saturday, Jan. 1, when the annual New Yr’s Day Polar Bear ocean plunge in San Pedro will splash off at Cabrillo Beach. (Picture by Brittany Murray, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

This yr’s presiding king and queen, elected by the Polar Bears members, are Steve Herbert, an audio technician and every day ocean swimmer, and Kathleen Seixas-Greene, a schoolteacher and mom.

There are some lodging which were made due to the pandemic, with the most-recent omicron variant, is now surging: Contributors are being requested to placed on face masks once they aren’t inside the water; the usual scorching cocoa and cupcakes gained’t be served; and everyone shall be requested to preserve 6 ft other than completely different households to allow some social distancing.

Different Polar Bear swims elsewhere are being way more cautious.

The 102nd Polar Bear Swim for Vancouver, Washington, will, for the second yr in a row, be a digital event as members are urged to plunge into chilled bathtubs or kiddie swimming swimming pools at residence.

However what’s believed to be the oldest organized plunge, going once more to 1903, However New York’s Coney Island Polar Bear Membership will ship once more what’s believed to be the oldest organized plunge — going once more to 1903 — after a one-year hiatus.

The annual dips in San Pedro was started informally sometime inside the Forties. The late John Olguin was amongst people who launched the idea, along with fellow Los Angeles County lifeguard Jack Cheaney.

Later, they customary the Cabrillo Beach Polar Bears and the first official Polar Bear Swim handed off on Jan. 1, 1953.

Contributors converge on the seaside to make the dash into the water, with about 100 going out farther to swim.

Nancy Utovac, 63, who was one among many early ladies to work on the docks, talked about she gained’t be shocked if this yr’s swim attracts a giant and grateful crowd. She served as a result of the event’s queen in 2000 and generally swims inside the ocean. Simply this week she and some fellow swimmers have been joined by about six dolphins exterior the breakwater.

“It’s a pleasant tradition,” she talked about, “and folks present up you haven’t seen in so lengthy. For thus many it’s simply what they do on New Yr’s Day. They create the children and the grandparents, they get their (participation) certificates and coco afterward.”

The ultimate time the swim was held — on Jan. 1, 2020 — it was weeks sooner than COVID-19 was confirmed on U.S. shores.

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