Most people shudder at the idea of having to go outside in February. Robyn Sweet however considers it the perfect time to go for a dip in the lake.
Just as she has three times previously, the 29-year-old Napanee native will brave the icy waters of Kingston on Feb. 4 as she takes part in the city’s Polar Plunge in support of the Special Olympics.
“I’m definitely a chionophile, I love the cold weather and the snow,” said Sweet. “A few years ago when my sister-in-law was turning 30 she did (the Polar Plunge) as part of her ‘I’m turning 30’ celebration. The following year she didn’t want to do it, she was pregnant with my nephew at the time. I was like ‘I’ll do it in your place’ then I just kind of kept doing it.”
Over her previous three jumps she’s been able to raise a combined $1,100 through pledges from friends and family. As much as she loves the adrenaline rush of the jump, she says helping Special Olympics is what really motivates her.
“It’s for a really great cause,” she said. “I like that the Special Olympics gives people that wouldn’t normally have the chance to compete in athletics the opportunity to do it.”
Experienced as she may be with three previous jumps, it doesn’t get any easier.
“The first year I did it actually wasn’t that bad,” she recalled. “It was pretty chilly out, it wasn’t as cold as (last Friday), but close to it. My second year I shouldn’t have jumped. It was so cold. It was something stupid like -36 (degrees). There was an issue with another jumper that year. It was very cold. In those years the water felt warm. I was going from super cold air to warm water. The third year it was very mild, it was four (degrees). The water was around zero (degrees). Jumping in that I was like ‘get me out of this.’ I’m a little scared for this year with the weather we’ve had this year.”
For safety purposes, an OPP dive team and EMS staff are always on site at Kingston’s Crawford Dock in case of emergency. Still Sweet says she gets a pretty standard reaction when she tells people of her intentions to take the Polar Plunge.
“You’re crazy, what are you doing? You need to get your head checked,” she said of the responses she receives. “Or I get people that just look at me and start shivering.”
For added flair she completes the jump dressed as Batman’s fateful sidekick, Robin.
“They say costumes are optional, so why not wear one?” she says.
Anyone looking to pledge her jump can do so online at http://www.polarplunge.ca/plunges/kingston2018/ and clicking donate and searching ‘Robyn Sweet.’
She’s hoping to raise at least $250 this year but hopes to top her previous jump, when her supporters pledged $700 for the cause.