“This is nuts but I am going to do it anyway!” said one swimmer … shivering in the cold winter air.  “This is a chance to brave the elements and celebrate the season” said another.
For the 11th year, the Rotary Mid-Winter Plunge event was organised for this seaside community by the Rotary Club of Pohutukawa Coast, this year  in aid of the Maraetai Coastguard which is there year round to help make boating and other water activities safer.
The weather was fabulous but being winter the air temperature was chilly and the water temperature was … chilly.  As a community event this excelled in attracting people willing to brave the cold to the seaside although the crowd watching was considerably larger than the 50 swimmers and well rugged up.
Swimmers ranged from first-timers to those who take this winter plunge annually, from the younger who barely feel the cold to the older swimmers who you might think ‘should know better’ but come because of the common sense of community and fun.
At the sound of the start signal, these brave-at-heart swimmers plunged into the calm waters and after many initial gasps and appropriate exclamations, swam one of two courses:   the longer was out to a buoy that seemed all too far way (wasn’t), and the shorter more sedate swim was around the Maraetai Coastguard Rescue Vessel before all returned to shore for warming up. 
The water temperature ensured the fastest possible times aided by the cheering crowd who from the comfort of the shore had lots of encouragement to offer.  The winner of the swim was Tom Stacey.
One fun feature of the plunge is dressing for the swim in a costume and swimmers clearly has put some thought into this adding to the already noticeable festive air. The best costume, judged by Franklin Local Board member Malcolm Bell, was 'Superman' and there were some great other costumes also.
Special thanks to the sponsors who showed great community spirit with their support: Maraetai Beach Boating Club, Turanga Creek, PepperJacks, Xtreme Entertainment and Franklin Vets.