Thousands ready for frigid bay plunge

NEIGHBORS

January 08, 2002|By Nancy Gallant | Nancy Gallant,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

NOW THAT WINTER is finally here, cold, damp and blustery, Dan Scholfield has decided to go swimming.

No, he isn't planning a trip to the Caribbean. Scholfield, past president of the Crofton Kiwanis, is going to swim in the Chesapeake Bay -- in January.

For the second year in a row, Scholfield will join about 3,000 hardy souls taking part in the Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge on Jan. 26 at Sandy Point State Park for the benefit of Maryland Special Olympics.

Scholfield, a biologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was coaxed to take the plunge last year by Jim Cratty, a fellow Kiwanian who also helps sponsor the Arundel High School Key Club.

Cratty remembers that Susan Lang, a student in the Key Club, told him she was going to take part in the plunge to help raise funds for Special Olympics, an important part of the club's service programs.

Cratty is an avid swimmer, though he usually prefers summer swims at the pool. But he decided that if the teen-agers could swim in winter, so could he, especially for such a good cause. Then he asked Scholfield to join him.

"I thought it was a cool challenge," Scholfield says. " A real cool challenge."

They arrived at Sandy Point on a cold morning during Super Bowl weekend last year, joining thousands of other swimmers who had raised funds by promising to take on the bay in January. Scholfield remembers wearing lots of warm clothes until just before he jumped into the water.

What was it like to swim in January?

"You get in. You get out. Your body's numb," Scholfield says. "Every part of you that touches the water just goes numb."

Big heating tents were set up for swimmers returning from the water. But Scholfield and Cratty just dried off, got into their car, turned on the heater -- high -- and headed back to their nice, warm homes.

The Sandy Point event is one of three organized by the state police to raise funds for Special Olympics. Two other frosty plunges are held in the state, one in St. Mary's County and the other at Deep Creek Lake. Last year, the events raised more than $300,000 for Maryland Special Olympics.

Those who would rather stay warm and dry while supporting the Special Olympics may sponsor the Kiwanians who brave the frigid waters. Checks made payable to Maryland Special Olympics can be mailed to Scholfield at 932 Truro Lane, Crofton 21114 or to Cratty at 1722 Tarleton Way, Crofton 21114.

School to expand

The School of the Incarnation, which offers kindergarten and first-grade classes at Our Lady of the Fields Roman Catholic Church in Millersville, will expand to kindergarten through sixth grade when its building under construction on Waugh Chapel Road opens for the school year in September.

Parents of prospective students are invited to learn more about the school and about the 2002 application and registration process at two information sessions this week.

The first session will be held at 7 o'clock tonight at Holy Family Roman Catholic Church in Davidsonville. The second session will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at Our Lady of the Fields Parish Center in Millersville.

Directions or information: 410-729-7820.

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