Polar Plunge makes big splash for Special Olympics

About 350 people jumped into an icy pool at Cravath Lakefront Park Saturday looking to make a splash among the Whitewater community and raise money for Special Olympics.

“It shows that people can come together and show their support and are willing to go to extreme measures to support a great cause,” senior participant Angie Milkie said.

About 350 people jumped into the icy waters at Cravath Lakefront Park Saturday. Photo by Jenny Dupuis.

According to Plunge Organizer Rachel Tudjan, the fundraiser raised $55,000 to support the 1,400 Special Olympics athletes throughout the Southeastern Wisconsin region.

“These athletes would not be allowed the chance to compete and participate in the Special Olympics if it wasn’t for all the help of fundraising events like the Plunge,” junior MaryAnn Stassen said.

Participants had to raise a $25 minimum in order to take the jump.

Milkie reflected on her experience from plunging in the icy cold water.

“You could feel your entire body shutting down because it was so cold,” Milkie said. “It was a panic once you were in the water to quickly get out as fast as you could. I don’t think I’ve ever been that cold in my life.”

For some students, participating in the cold-water dive was a personal achievement to cross of their bucket list.

“It was so cold but it was a great experience and I’m actually really proud I did it,” Stassen said.

Some groups had their participants dress up and plunge in costumes to add another level of fun to the event.

“We decided to all wear scuba gear,” Milkie said. “One of our members wore a purple spandex costume and another member was dressed up in an Angry Birds costume. It was a lot of fun to see all the different costumes.”

T-shirts that read “I’m too chicken to plunge” were being sold for those who didn’t want to jump in the icy waters.

“I thought those shirts were a great idea because after jumping I now realized why people wouldn’t want to jump because it’s a rather intense experience,” Greg Federspiel said.

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