Photo by: Andrea RayA mad dash for the beach after jumping into the December ocean at Helping Hands and Hooves’ annual Christmas Swim.
MATTAPOISETT — It was a frigid Christmas morning, marked by a short but strong snowstorm. The downed trees and choppy waters left several families undaunted, however, as they dove headfirst into the waters at Mattapoisett’s Town Beach for charity.
The 26 swimmers arrived at Town Beach wrapped in down jackets, wool hats and scarves, bathrobes, blankets and towels, often all at once. They paid a $15 fee to swim, the proceeds of which benefited Mattapoisett equine therapy center, Helping Hands and Hooves.
The swimmers agreed that the swim didn’t count unless the swimmer’s hair was wet. Dry hair meant another trek into the ocean.
The air temperature on the beach was a frosty 29 degrees, and the younger group participants shivered as they stripped down to their swimwear and posed for a group photo. Several other swimmers—those out of their teen years—kept their blankets and bathrobes on until the last possible moment.
When the whistle blew, there was a mad dash for the icy waters, followed by shrieks as the cold set quickly in. Almost as quickly as it began, the swim was over and the swimmers scrambled for the shore, only one participant pausing to take a leisurely swim.
Swimmers were met on the beach by friends and family with blankets and hot water bottles—and Santa, who was recovering from a night of delivering presents by handing out warm cider to those emerging from the ocean.
Posing for photos with a hot water bottle and a bathrobe before the swim. (Photo by: Andrea Ray)
The chance to jump into the water is just seconds away—but darn, the air is cold! (Photo by: Andrea Ray)
A smile of relief from one swimmer after finding a warm blanket. (Photo by: Andrea Ray)
(Photo by: Andrea Ray)
Some chilled swimmers, next to a few well-bundled spectators. (Photo by: Andrea Ray)