Polar bear plunge in Shillong pool packed with ice blocks

The annual event of taking a midnight dip or a swim at the Crinoline Swimming Pool here has become a tradition for 22 years now

By Andrew W. Lyngdoh in Shillong
  • Published 2.01.19, 1:01 AM
  • Updated 2.01.19, 1:01 AM
  • a min read
  •  
Forever Young Club president Michael Syiem participates in the midnight swim at the Crinoline Swimming Pool. The Telegraph picture

The adventurous young and the not-so-young, but young at heart, the daring and the fearless, all took the plunge into a pool of ice-cold water as soon as the Gregorian calendar changed to January 1, 2019.

The annual event of taking a midnight dip or a swim at the Crinoline Swimming Pool here has become a tradition for 22 years now.

Organised by the Forever Young Club, the event this year saw 21 spirited individuals, including a young female swimmer, who did not flinch when they touched the water with 80 blocks of ice, weighing 50kg each, floating in the pool.

Among the 21 participants, there were many who were not trained swimmers, but their adventurous spirit got the better of them.

The participants were cheered by their family members and friends, who had gathered around the pool as firecrackers lit up the winter sky.

Forever Young Club president Michael N. Syiem has been a regular since the first midnight swim in 1997. He is still as adventurous as ever as he dived thrice into the ice-cold water and swam from one end to the other.

Club member and senior citizen William Marbaniang was also there. Although health issues had kept him away for a few years from taking part in the swim, Marbaniang never gave up even after having encountered a heart-related ailment.

“I was there to take the plunge when we first started in 1997. I want to live long and I am trying to swim regularly. Other people who are suffering should not lose hope. We live in this world only once,” the 64-year-old remarked.

For Daisy Challam, the only female swimmer to take the plunge, it was her second year at the event.

“It is such a great experience to be here as swimming is my passion,” she said.

Syiem reminded that those who participate in the event should be absolutely sober.

“Everyone who participates on this occasion, have to be 100 per cent sober. No kind of intoxicants are allowed. We want to welcome the New

Year in a very sober way,” he said.

He also said the event’s objective is to usher in the New Year with a prayer to the Almighty asking him to “help us face the challenges of life”.