Tahunanui School students braved the icy water for the school’s annual mid-winter swim. Photo: Jonty Dine.

Mid-winter welcomed with chilly dip

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Her family has taken the annual polar plunge almost every year since the late eighties.

However, it was the end of an era for Joy Shackleton as she took her final mid-winter dip with son at Tahunanui Beach on Friday morning.

With her fourth son graduating to intermediate next year, she will no longer take part in the tradition.

“Since 1988. there has always been a member of my family that has done it, my four sons have all done it, I’ve done several, so it’s a bit sad that this is the last.”

She says it doesn’t get any easier as the years have gone by.

“It’s the shock more than anything, it’s really not that bad once you’re in.”

However, her merino undershirt no doubt helped.

“I’ve learnt a few tricks over the years.”

Joy says she will certainly miss marking the season with a wintry dip.

“It’s really fun and the kids just love it.”

Principal Barbara Bowen says the swim has grown to become part of the school’s culture.

She says a healthy dose of rain overnight ensured temperatures weren’t too piercing.

“Having no frost this morning was just so lucky.”

With this year’s theme being ‘world cup’, students had the option of dressing as rugby, cricket or footballing nations.

“It divided loyalties a bit,” says Barbara.

Phoenix Lasenby says due to his skinny frame he was particularly susceptible to the icy water.

“Getting my feet freezing was the worst, but it got easier.”

Phoenix says he has no regrets and it was all worth it for the hot chocolate.

Check out our photo gallery from the swim below: