Exclamations of ‘ I can’t feel my anything’, ‘this was a bad idea’, and ‘I’m like, minus 100 degrees right now’ were shouted, squealed, and screamed across the beach as Tahunanui School students ran full bore into the ocean during Thursday’s Mid Winter Swim.
Staff and parents joined 88 students at Tahuanui Beach, with some swimmers gingerly dipping their toes in and others screaming as they charged straight ahead.
Although this year didn’t have stormy waves or frost down to the sea, the water temperature was enough to take tiny bodies from warm to numb in seconds.
Tahunanui School student Jed Lyttle says only one word ran through his head as he hit the water – Ice.
“I’m 10 out of 10 cold right now but it was so extremely fun,” he says through chattering teeth.
Principal Barbara Bowen says the annual swim has become a bit of a right of passage for students and everyone really gets into it each year.
“The kids really look forward to it, they’re really challenged by it but once they’ve done it they feel so good and proud of themselves… it’s like an initiation for Tahunanui School, its kind of how you make it in this community.”
And Barbara says it’s not just the kids that got in the spirit of the Mid Winter Swim.
“We had 20 parents in the water, they’re always the hardest to convince to get in…they’ll groan but they’re all smiles afterwards.”
When asked how cold she was, Barbara says she was so numb she didn’t know what cold was anymore.
This year’s swim was themed around the America’s Cup with boos rising as a student dressed up as Oracle ran around and Deputy Principal Ian Lamby convincing students that Burmuda was straight out in the water and that by running in and chanting ‘Team New Zealand’ they would spur on the kiwi sailors.
After their polar bear swim, students got to warm up with hot showers, hot chocolate and a cheeky chocolate fish.