A shiver as the hoodies come off, a gasp as the water wraps around the nearly naked bodies, then the sound of music and splashes accompany the race against time.
For the third year in a row UVU hosted the Polar Plunge competition, a test of endurance and keen eyesight.
Kim Reynolds, Outdoor Adventure Center coordinator, lead the event’s organization. A large inflatable pool was set up in the courtyard in the empty water pond and filled full of water to chill in the morning air. Before the contestants could dive in (divided into two heats of seven to eight participants) two large coolers of ice were emptied into the water. 200 metal nuts were tossed in after.
The competition consisted of contestants treading water for a few minutes as a warm up, then, at the sound of “Ice Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice, contestants dove in and picked up as many nuts as they could find before the song ended.
First place winner received a new I-Touch, second place a used snow board, third place a mystery prize and the rest of the contestants received free passes for snowboarding.
Free Monster Energy drinks were provided for participants and onlookers alike, the first heat of swimmers shivering as they watched the second wave of divers.
Deryk Valgardson took first place in the second heat, claiming 87 nuts.
“I did it just for fun,” Valgardson said. “I’d do it again.”
This was Valgardson’s first time in the Polar Plunge. Evan Mabry and Creighton Baird took second and third place, respectively.
“For the first thirty seconds, your body freezes out and your brain stops working,” Baird said. “But then the shock goes away and you try to stay down. The air is colder than the water.”
All participants were given commemorative Student Activities towels to dry off and warm up with. Shivering with a towel around his shoulders and a beanie on his head, Ben Berteaux said he did it, “for the hell of it.”
“Anything that pushes your body is a good thing,” Berteaux said.
By Timothy E. Wood II – Life Writer
Photos by Gilbert Cisneros