Penguin Plunge In Madison, CT Raises $60,000 For Special Olympics
The 20th annual penguin plunge for Special Olympics was held today at noon in Madison, CT at Hammonassett State Beach. A full 326 plungers registered for the event to try to raise $65,000 according to coordinator Liz Cantrell.
The water temperature for the day was 37 degrees and air temperature was 40. The sun was shining despite a strong snowstorm that has been over the region since Thursday. Past years have had ice on the water with daytime temperatures in the 20s, according to participant Mike Docker of Madison.
This years plunge had 20 teams including Docker’s team, the Salty Scoundrels. The Scoundrels, consisting of 19 members raised over $6,000 dollars for the Special Olympics of Connecticut (SOCT) and were the number one fundraising team. They have been involved in the effort for 3 years, though Docker has participated for 5 years.
Special Olympics Activities and Services
The SOCT has provided year-round sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with disabilities since 1969. Currently there are over 6,500 athletes in the state who benefit from Special Olympics. The SOCT hosts 40 tournaments and competitions annually in 21 different activities including this weekend's winter games in East Hartford, New Hartford and Simsbury.
The annual penguin plunges occur throughout the state from December through March. These plunges raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for Special Olympics. Today’s plunge in Madison raised about $60,000 dollars and has grown since last year's plunge, which raised a little over $50,000 dollars, according to Cantrell, and had 20 fewer participants. They are hoping to have 400 participants next year.
After the plunge, Docker said that the quick dip was very invigorating. Most of the participants did not spend more than a few seconds in the water, but one team went in a second time. The team of Ryans Café have been participating for 10 years,and today’s balmy temperatures were too much to pass up so they went in again.