In 2019 hundreds braved the chilly waters of the Salish Sea for the annual polar bear swim at Esquimalt Lagoon. (Black Press File Photo)

In 2019 hundreds braved the chilly waters of the Salish Sea for the annual polar bear swim at Esquimalt Lagoon. (Black Press File Photo)

Victoria athletes to kick off New Year’s Day polar plunge at Esquimalt Lagoon

Troy Birtwhistle and Bruce Deacon to perform ceremonial ‘first dive’

Two Greater Victoria athletes will be doing a polar dive at the Esquimalt Lagoon Wednesday to mark the beginning of a new year and a fresh decade.

Victoria HarbourCats former pro player Troy Birtwistle and two-time Olympian Bruce Deacon will be performing the “Ceremonial First Dive” at the New Year’s Day Polar Swim at Esquimalt Lagoon to raise money for the Victoria Women’s Transition House.

READ ALSO: Hundreds brave chilly waters of the Salish Sea to start 2019

“I look forward to it, it will be fun, and it is a great cause,” says a statement from Birtwhistle, who performed the dive once before in 2018.

Deacon, a three-time world track and field champion and GM of the upcoming Pan Am Cross Country Cup, will take the plunge alongside Birtwhistle. Deacon also coaches a high-performance run group for youth athletes.

The swim, hosted by Smart Dolphins IT, will start at noon with a traditional welcome from Darwyn Seaweed of Songhees First Nation and will include a New Year’s Day Levee. Awards will be given out for best costume, first in the water and the fully-immersed contest.

Organizers suggest donating $5 for the swim. Those who donate $30 or more get a commemorative shirt, unlimited chocolate and a reservation under the portable heaters.

READ ALSO: 10 ways to spend New Year’s Day 2020 in Greater Victoria



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

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