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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Brace yourselves for the cold! Christmas Day swimmers prepare to take the plunge into icy water

By STEVE ROBSON

Members of the Peter Pan club prepare to compete in the annual handicapped 100 yard swimming race in the Serpentine, Hyde Park, London

While most of the country was snuggling under a duvet or pulling on a Christmas jumper, these hardened swimmers were squeezing into their costumes.
Hundreds of hardened bathers have been braving wet and wintry conditions across the country to take a Christmas Day dip.
Despite torrential rain, winds of up to 30mph and temperatures as low as seven degrees - determined swimmers took the plunge at traditional swims in locations around Britain.

Around 100 swimmers took part in the annual Christmas Day race in Hyde Park

Around a 100 people from the Serpentine swimming club jumped into the lake at Hyde Park for the annual 100-yard dash which has been held every year since 1864.
And a group of determined swimmers took their annual Christmas dip at Brighton beach this morning - despite orders from the council not to enter the water because of dangerous weather conditions.

Torrential rain batters the swimmers as they finish the race this morning

Brighton and Hove City Council had announced yesterday that the traditional Christmas Day swim - which dates back to 1860 - could not go ahead with winds of up to 30mph predicted and 'volatile sea conditions'.
But these pictures reveal how a handful of hardy individuals got up at 7.30am to defy the ban and dive into water temperatures of only five degrees.

Members of the public braved the weather to come down and support the swimmers

Council officials had said they were planning to be on the beach warning off swimmers from 8.30am ahead of the traditional start time of 11am.
Seafront manager Viki Miller said yesterday: 'It can be tempting to have a splash in the sea at Christmas, but it’s absolutely not worth putting yourself at risk. Not only could you be caught out by the strong currents, but the sea temperature is extremely cold this time of year.

Swimmers make it across the finish line at the Peter Pan 100m dash in Hyde Park

'We will be monitoring the weather on the day and will be advising people about safety. The conditions are already hazardous, with the forecast set to get worse, so as a last resort we will be closing the beach tomorrow.

The race at Hyde Park has been held on Christmas Day every year since 1864

'We want people to be able to enjoy the beach, but safety is a top priority.'
Brighton and Hove Swimming Club has organised the event every year since 1860.
President of Brighton Swimming Club Margaret Tuppen said: 'We are quite happy with the responsible decision the council has made - safety comes first.'
But it seems several swimmers weren't to be told that this year was any different and took a dip nonetheless.

Hardened swimmers line up before deciding to take the plunge at 7.30am at Brighton Beach

A pair of Santas give a swimmer a helping hand at Exmouth

Swimmers in Exmouth enjoyed sunshine and milder temperatures of up to nine degrees

Tree-mendous: These girls decorate themselves as Christmas trees before diving in

source: dailymail



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