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Ice water flowing through their veins: Hundreds flock to rural Door County for Polar Bear Swim

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JACKSONPORT — Several hundred swimmers braved frigid Lake Michigan on New Year’s Day for the Jacksonport Polar Bear Club’s 33rd Annual Swim.

The water temperature was 32 degrees, and the air temperature was 22 degrees off the eastern shore of rural Door County. Organizers said people from 24 states registered for the event.

Last year’s event featured 20-below-zero wind chills and an air temperature of 1 degree, the lowest in the swim’s history.

Club president J.R. Jarosh founded the event as a teenager when he went for a swim in the middle of winter, and the event steadily grew as more people joined him at Lakeside Park.

Jarosh dressed up for the occasion again this year, wearing a suit and bow tie as he stood in Lake Michigan before submerging himself beneath the waves.

Emergency personnel were on hand in case anyone needed assistance after venturing into the lake.