Take the plunge at New Year's Day swim

Barry And District News: BRAVE SWIMMERS: New Year's Day swim 2013 BRAVE SWIMMERS: New Year's Day swim 2013

IT'S that time of year again with hundreds of people getting excited and looking forward to the Barry Island New Year's Day Swim.

The event - a 30-year-old local tradition - has grown massively in recent years, making local and national headlines. The 2013 event attracted more than 200 swimmers (including some of the original 1984 participants) and thousands of spectators.

New Year's Day 2014 looks set to be even bigger and better. Swimmers meet under the Western Shelter and the swim is at noon. People are advised to arrive early as it is likely to be busy.

Over the years the swim has become a great social event – it is an annual reunion for many and there is a great atmosphere before, during and after.

The tradition is to totally submerge yourself three times, although some draw the line at a sedate knee-deep paddle. Hardened veterans will carry out the prescribed three submersions then retreat to the beach and regroup for a second dash into the sea, a few will brave a third. Big towels, dressing gowns and hot water bottles are the order of the day.

There are a few improvements this time around. Traffic control will be in place to help speed things along, lifeguards will be on patrol to make sure everyone stays safe and an après-swim get-together will be held at The Dolphin where swimmers and spectators can get some hot food and enjoy a drink or two. The chip shops will also be open under the shelter if you fancy some traditional seaside fare.

This year the swim will be supporting The Teenage Cancer Trust. Some of their supporters will be taking part in the swim to help with the fundraising, they will also be selling wristbands and have collection buckets available for donations. This is a very worthwhile and underfunded charity so it would be great if everyone could bring along an extra pound or two to help their cause.

Everyone is encouraged to use the event as a fundraiser for their favourite good cause. If anyone is considering this but isn't sure which charity to support consider The Teenage Cancer Trust, fundraising packs are available via the trust's website.

If you have any health issues that may be exacerbated by jumping into a cold ocean check with your doctor before taking the plunge. Also if you are taking children along ensure they are suitably supervised throughout.

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