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Annual Polar Plunge Celebrates Warmer Water, No Ice

Those who head to Bradford Beach on New Year's Day are likely doing one of two things: plunging into Lake Michigan, or watching.

The annual Polar Plunge along the lake shore is a tradition for many.

"It's kind of a winter baptism and rebirth of the new year," said Dennis Wurch.

"I tried it once, and it was fun and exhilarating so I keep coming back every year," said Linda Koenig. 

Koenig has been going to the plunge 18 years along with her son Paul. 

This year the conditions were more favorable than past years.

The water was 44 degrees, but some plungers felt it was warmer.

"It's just like Florida except a little colder," said Wurch.

"There's no ice shelf. There's no floating ice chunks out on the water. Winds are out of the West. The lake's fairly calm -- all around a decent day for a Polar Plunge," said Christopher Schutte, the director of the Milwaukee Fire Department Dive & Rescue Team.

It was also a safe year. The fire department didn't have to rescue anyone from the water.
 

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