(Dec. 19, 2014) The 21st annual Penguin Swim will take place on New Year’s Day, when hundreds of people will plunge into the ocean off 91st Street and thousands of dollars will be raised for Atlantic General Hospital in Berlin.
“It is a great family event that pulls the community together and raises awareness for the hospital,” AGH Development Assistant Heather Trader said. “The Penguin Swim is not your typical Ocean City event and everyone comes out to celebrate the new year with the ones they love.”
In addition to jumping into a 40-something-degree ocean, participants also will have the opportunity for some picture taking with a huge, ice carving of a penguin with a surfboard, completed by ice carver Eric Cantine. In addition, miniature pony, Frankie, is scheduled to make another appearance at this year’s event.
In 2014, close to 800 people plunged into the surf for the swim and raised more than $93,000 for the hospital.
Besides knowing that it’s all for a good cause, swimmers will have other incentives. Participants who raise $25 will receive a pint glass or a scarf and swimmers who raise $50 can choose between a baseball hat and a penguin novelty hat.
Those topping $75 will take home a long-sleeve T-shirt or retro duffel bag. Swimmers who raise $150 will have the option of a sweatshirt, Outback hat or a robe. A surfboard-shaped towel will be given to participants reaching $250 and anyone raising $500 or more will be able to choose one prize from each level, Trader said.
The top three earning teams from each category, which includes individuals and adults, businesses, community groups and under 18, will be awarded trophies and prizes. There will be a best costume contest and special recognition will be given to the oldest and youngest penguins.
Event organizers encourage participants to wear costumes, the more unique they are, the better, Trader said.
For the second year, participants who will be out of town on New Year’s Day can engage in a “virtual swim.” These penguins still raise money and register online, but must take a photo of their ice cold dip wherever they are and post it to social media sites. The photos will be shared at the event through a live feed. To show out-of-town photos on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, use the hashtag #OCPenguinSwim.
“We are thankful for the community support. Bull on the Beach raises tens of thousands each year. There are individuals who participate, where it is clear they have been raising money all year round and it was not a last minute effort. It’s amazing,” Trader said.
Registration for the 2015 Penguin Swim starts at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Jan.1, at the Princess Royale Hotel on 91st Street, with the swim taking place at 1 p.m.
Early registration, advance check-in and prize pick-up will be available on Wednesday, Dec. 31, from 2-4 p.m. at the hotel.
An award ceremony will follow the swim inside Princess Royale and it will last until about 2 p.m.
To sign up for the 2015 Penguin Swim or to make a donation, visit aghpenguinswim.org. The event can be found on Facebook at facebook.com/penguinswim or call the hospital foundation office with questions at 410-641-9671.
Organizers are always looking for sponsors and there are five different money levels from which to choose. Make checks payable to AGH Foundation and mail to 9733 Healthway Drive Berlin, Md. 21811.
Proceeds from the event support strategic plans started by Atlantic General Hospital and back its mission to improve individual and community health.
The hospital has been providing health care to residents of Worcester, Wicomico and Somerset counties as well as Sussex County, Del., since May 1993. Since its inception, the Penguin Swim has raised more than $800,000 for the hospital.