UPDATE: Record-breaking crowd rings in the new year at Delta Polar Bear Swim

Records were broken as more than 500 raced towards the cold waters of Boundary Bay for the 40th annual Polar Bear Swim at Centennial Beach in Delta, B.C. on Jan. 1, 2020. “There were so many people we actually ran out of Polar Bear buttons, way more than 500 participants this year,” said event volunteer Britta Forbes. (Ryan-Alexander McLeod photo)Records were broken as more than 500 raced towards the cold waters of Boundary Bay for the 40th annual Polar Bear Swim at Centennial Beach in Delta, B.C. on Jan. 1, 2020. “There were so many people we actually ran out of Polar Bear buttons, way more than 500 participants this year,” said event volunteer Britta Forbes. (Ryan-Alexander McLeod photo)
Records were broken as more than 500 raced towards the cold waters of Boundary Bay for the 40th annual Polar Bear Swim at Centennial Beach in Delta, B.C. on Jan. 1, 2020. “There were so many people we actually ran out of Polar Bear buttons, way more than 500 participants this year,” said event volunteer Britta Forbes. (Ryan-Alexander McLeod photo)Records were broken as more than 500 raced towards the cold waters of Boundary Bay for the 40th annual Polar Bear Swim at Centennial Beach in Delta, B.C. on Jan. 1, 2020. “There were so many people we actually ran out of Polar Bear buttons, way more than 500 participants this year,” said event volunteer Britta Forbes. (Ryan-Alexander McLeod photo)
The goal of the Polar Bear Swim is to swim out to the bell and ring in the new year at Centennial Beach in Delta, B.C. on Jan. 1, 2020. (Ryan-Alexander McLeod photo)The goal of the Polar Bear Swim is to swim out to the bell and ring in the new year at Centennial Beach in Delta, B.C. on Jan. 1, 2020. (Ryan-Alexander McLeod photo)
Paddle boarders watch the 40th annual Polar Bear Swim at Centennial Beach in Delta, B.C. on Jan. 1, 2020. (Ryan-Alexander McLeod photo)Paddle boarders watch the 40th annual Polar Bear Swim at Centennial Beach in Delta, B.C. on Jan. 1, 2020. (Ryan-Alexander McLeod photo)
Paddle boarders watch the 40th annual Polar Bear Swim at Centennial Beach in Delta, B.C. on Jan. 1, 2020. (Ryan-Alexander McLeod photo)Paddle boarders watch the 40th annual Polar Bear Swim at Centennial Beach in Delta, B.C. on Jan. 1, 2020. (Ryan-Alexander McLeod photo)
Grandmother Julie Favella gets set for her fourth Polar Bear Swim at Centennial Beach in Delta, B.C. on Jan. 1, 2020. (Ryan-Alexander McLeod photo)Grandmother Julie Favella gets set for her fourth Polar Bear Swim at Centennial Beach in Delta, B.C. on Jan. 1, 2020. (Ryan-Alexander McLeod photo)
Records were broken as more than 500 raced towards the cold waters of Boundary Bay for the 40th annual Polar Bear Swim at Centennial Beach in Delta, B.C. on Jan. 1, 2020. “There were so many people we actually ran out of Polar Bear buttons, way more than 500 participants this year,” said event volunteer Britta Forbes. (Ryan-Alexander McLeod photo)Records were broken as more than 500 raced towards the cold waters of Boundary Bay for the 40th annual Polar Bear Swim at Centennial Beach in Delta, B.C. on Jan. 1, 2020. “There were so many people we actually ran out of Polar Bear buttons, way more than 500 participants this year,” said event volunteer Britta Forbes. (Ryan-Alexander McLeod photo)
The crowd rushes into the frigid ocean during the 40th annual Polar Bear Swim at Centennial Beach in Delta, B.C. on Jan. 1, 2020. (Ryan-Alexander McLeod photo)The crowd rushes into the frigid ocean during the 40th annual Polar Bear Swim at Centennial Beach in Delta, B.C. on Jan. 1, 2020. (Ryan-Alexander McLeod photo)
Records were broken as more than 500 raced towards the cold waters of Boundary Bay for the 40th annual Polar Bear Swim at Centennial Beach in Delta, B.C. on Jan. 1, 2020. “There were so many people we actually ran out of Polar Bear buttons, way more than 500 participants this year,” said event volunteer Britta Forbes. (Ryan-Alexander McLeod photo)Records were broken as more than 500 raced towards the cold waters of Boundary Bay for the 40th annual Polar Bear Swim at Centennial Beach in Delta, B.C. on Jan. 1, 2020. “There were so many people we actually ran out of Polar Bear buttons, way more than 500 participants this year,” said event volunteer Britta Forbes. (Ryan-Alexander McLeod photo)
Water temperatures were around 12 degrees Celsius for the 40th annual Polar Bear Swim at Centennial Beach in Delta, B.C. on Jan. 1, 2020. (Ryan-Alexander McLeod photo)Water temperatures were around 12 degrees Celsius for the 40th annual Polar Bear Swim at Centennial Beach in Delta, B.C. on Jan. 1, 2020. (Ryan-Alexander McLeod photo)
Sam Martin dressed like a Santa on vacation for the 40th annual Polar Bear Swim at Centennial Beach in Delta, B.C. on Jan. 1, 2020. (Ryan-Alexander McLeod photo)Sam Martin dressed like a Santa on vacation for the 40th annual Polar Bear Swim at Centennial Beach in Delta, B.C. on Jan. 1, 2020. (Ryan-Alexander McLeod photo)
Sam Martin dressed like a Santa on vacation for the 40th annual Polar Bear Swim at Centennial Beach in Delta, B.C. on Jan. 1, 2020. (Ryan-Alexander McLeod photo)Sam Martin dressed like a Santa on vacation for the 40th annual Polar Bear Swim at Centennial Beach in Delta, B.C. on Jan. 1, 2020. (Ryan-Alexander McLeod photo)
(From left) Dale Roberts, Garth Strombergsmith and Ashwin Puri were all smiles during the 40th annual Polar Bear Swim at Centennial Beach in Delta, B.C. on Jan. 1, 2020. (Ryan-Alexander McLeod photo)(From left) Dale Roberts, Garth Strombergsmith and Ashwin Puri were all smiles during the 40th annual Polar Bear Swim at Centennial Beach in Delta, B.C. on Jan. 1, 2020. (Ryan-Alexander McLeod photo)
Garth Strombergsmith celebrates his third annual icy dip at the Polar Bear Swim at Centennial Beach in Delta, B.C. on Jan. 1, 2020. (Ryan-Alexander McLeod photo)Garth Strombergsmith celebrates his third annual icy dip at the Polar Bear Swim at Centennial Beach in Delta, B.C. on Jan. 1, 2020. (Ryan-Alexander McLeod photo)
Dale Roberts and Ashwin Puri splash each other during the 40th annual Polar Bear Swim at Centennial Beach in Delta, B.C. on Jan. 1, 2020. (Ryan-Alexander McLeod photo)Dale Roberts and Ashwin Puri splash each other during the 40th annual Polar Bear Swim at Centennial Beach in Delta, B.C. on Jan. 1, 2020. (Ryan-Alexander McLeod photo)
Dale Roberts celebrated his ninth time participating in the Polar Bear Swim at Centennial Beach in Delta, B.C. on Jan. 1, 2020. (Ryan-Alexander McLeod photo)Dale Roberts celebrated his ninth time participating in the Polar Bear Swim at Centennial Beach in Delta, B.C. on Jan. 1, 2020. (Ryan-Alexander McLeod photo)
(From left) Second place finisher Harlan Theaker of Ladner, first place finisher Cullen Jamieson from Tsawwassen and third place finisher Steven Tubbs from Burnaby wave to the crowd from atop the podium at the 40th annual Polar Bear Swim at Centennial Beach in Delta, B.C. on Jan. 1, 2020. (Ryan-Alexander McLeod photo)(From left) Second place finisher Harlan Theaker of Ladner, first place finisher Cullen Jamieson from Tsawwassen and third place finisher Steven Tubbs from Burnaby wave to the crowd from atop the podium at the 40th annual Polar Bear Swim at Centennial Beach in Delta, B.C. on Jan. 1, 2020. (Ryan-Alexander McLeod photo)
The award for the furthest traveled to take part in the 40th annual Polar Bear Swim at Centennial Beach in Delta, B.C. on Jan. 1, 2020 went to Jenine O’Brien of Margaret River, Australia. (Ryan-Alexander McLeod photo)The award for the furthest traveled to take part in the 40th annual Polar Bear Swim at Centennial Beach in Delta, B.C. on Jan. 1, 2020 went to Jenine O’Brien of Margaret River, Australia. (Ryan-Alexander McLeod photo)
Wilson, the search and rescue bear, greeted attendees at the 40th annual Polar Bear Swim at Centennial Beach in Delta, B.C. on Jan. 1, 2020. (Ryan-Alexander McLeod photo)Wilson, the search and rescue bear, greeted attendees at the 40th annual Polar Bear Swim at Centennial Beach in Delta, B.C. on Jan. 1, 2020. (Ryan-Alexander McLeod photo)
The water off Centennial Beach was cold as ice during the 40th annual Polar Bear Swim in Delta, B.C. on Jan. 1, 2020. (Ryan-Alexander McLeod photo)The water off Centennial Beach was cold as ice during the 40th annual Polar Bear Swim in Delta, B.C. on Jan. 1, 2020. (Ryan-Alexander McLeod photo)

More than 500 people took part in the 40th annual Polar Bear Swim in Boundary Bay on New Year’s Day.

The record-breaking crowd, many wearing costumes, rang in the new year by racing into the frigid 12 C waters off Centennial Beach.

“There were so many people we actually ran out of Polar Bear buttons, way more than 500 participants this year,” said event volunteer Britta Forbes.

Hundreds more chose to stay warm and dry on shore, cheering the swimmers on and taking in family-friendly entertainment like live ice carving, a drum circle workshop, marshmallow roasting, a kids’ treasure hunt, face painting, and a raffle draw, as well as delicious hot chocolate provided by the Tsawwassen Boundary Bay Lions Club.

Trophies and prizes were awarded to the top three swimmers, as well as the oldest swimmer and the person who traveled the farthest to take part in the swim.

Cullen Jamieson of Tsawwassen took home the prize for first place, followed by Harlan Theaker of Ladner and Steven Tubbs of Burnaby.

Jenine O’Brien of Margaret River, Australia took home the prize for swimmer who traveled from farthest away, while 84-year-old Michael Harbott was the day’s oldest swimmer.

— with files from Ryan-Alexander McLeod

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed the first place winner as Jamieson Cullen.



editor@northdeltareporter.com

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