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Friends, families take polar plunge for Special Olympics NY

People lparticipate in a Polar Plunge for Special

People lparticipate in a Polar Plunge for Special Olympics at Cedar Beach in Mt. Sinai, Nov. 18, 2017. Credit: Ed Betz

On a cold and cloudy November day, most people would probably prefer to stay inside where it’s warm — but Ryan Murphy and Danny Swiatocha aren’t most people.

The two 21-year-old Mount Sinai residents and friends said they were looking for a fun challenge, and jumping into the cool waters of Cedar Beach in Mount Sinai for the 8th Annual Brookhaven Polar Plunge seemed like the perfect weekend thrill.

“It was something to do on a Saturday,” a soaked Swiatocha said minutes after they came out of the waters of the Long Island Sound. “And Saturday is for ‘the boys,’ so we figured, ‘Why not?’ ”

To mentally prepare for jumping into the cold water, Murphy and Swiatocha said they did a warmup ritual moments before the plunge.

“We were blasting music in the car, giving each other a few motivational speeches, and that gets you going,” Swiatocha said.

“I honestly thought it was going to be a bit colder,” Murphy said. “I wouldn’t have minded it at all.”

Proceeds from the event, which organizers said draws about 1,000 people annually, went to Special Olympics New York.

“It was fun. I think we’re going to make a team next year,” said Hannah Forcone, 15, of Stony Brook, taking part in her first Polar Plunge along with several of her friends and family.

Hanna Brzoza, of Oakdale, had her own team, joining with her daughter Joshua Brzoza, friends and family in the plunge.

Joshua Brzoza, 18, said the plunge was a great way to be with her mother. “It’s something I’ve never done before and I figured, ‘Why not spend the time bonding with my mother?’ That’s why I did it.”

Admittedly afraid of the cold and frigid water, Hannah Brzoza said the plunge was exhilarating.

“It’s like a new beginning when you do something that you’ve never done before and are a little afraid of doing,” Brzoza said. “Fear is all in your mind, so conquering those fears was awesome.”

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