Nearly 600 swimmers participated Sunday in the 44th Olcott Polar Bear Swim for Sight cold-water excursion.
Brutal cold temperatures and a brisk wind made clearing the ice from the Lake Ontario waters nearly impossible, as the chunks kept backing up. All said, a total of 573 intrepid swimmers made their way over the ice for a quick dunk through the floating chunks of water - all under the watchful eyes of the U.S. Coast Guard Rescue and Olcott Volunteer Fire Co.
Swimmers netted between $15,000 and $20,000 for Olcott Lions Club Swim for Sight programs.
Kelly Shoemaker, 19, of North Tonawanda, was chosen as the 2013 Polar Bear Queen, besting a field of 18 daring contestants. Up on the street, participants found food, coffee and hot chocolate to complement the host of other libations that kept everyone fueled up. (photos by Terry Duffy and Wayne Peters)
2013 Polar Bear Queen Kelly Shoemaker