Penguin Swim A Success Even With Freezing Weather

Penguin Swim A Success Even With Freezing Weather
Photos by Chris Parypa

BERLIN – Despite the chilling temperatures, officials at Atlantic General Hospital have deemed this year’s 24th Annual Penguin Swim a success.

As in years past, hundreds of individuals this week braved the chilly conditions and frigid ocean to take part in Atlantic General Hospital’s (AGH) annual Penguin Swim, a fundraiser to benefit the hospital and its many services.

On Monday, 340 participants, as well as nearly 80 registered swimmers with Bull on the Beach, rang in the New Year with a dip in the Atlantic Ocean. As of Wednesday, the hospital had netted $78,000 from the fundraiser.

Penguin-B-150x150.jpgJoy Stokes, event coordinator for AGH, said she expects the hospital to reach its goal in the coming weeks.

“The goal this year was to net $84,000 and we’re expecting to reach it,” she said, “but right now the preliminary net is $78,000.”

Since its first year, the annual Penguin Swim has raised $1 million for the hospital. Stokes said this year’s money will bring that total to nearly $1.1 million. She added that Bull on the Beach raised $35,000 of this year’s $78,000.

While participation was lower than in prior years, Stokes said the day’s festivities were enjoyed by all swimmers.

Penguin-C-150x150.jpg“It went off without a hitch,” she said. “The weather didn’t deter them.”

On Monday, event officials recorded water temperatures in the upper 30s and air temperatures in the mid-20s.

“They said it was the coldest temperature ever recorded at the event,” Stokes said. “It was a high of 24, but with the wind it felt like 10 degrees.”

While weather deterred some from participating in this year’s Penguin Swim, Stokes said those that did swim this year remained safe.

“There were no casualties,” she joked. “Everyone was fine.”

Stokes said those still interesting in donating can do so by visiting

“We don’t have a cutoff date,” she said.


Fundraising and costume winners listed in order of award sequence are as followed:

Business Teams

Bull on the Beach (Ocean City): $35,000

AGH Poppin’ Penguins (Berlin): $3,080

Blazing Suns (Ocean City): $1,000

Community Teams

OC Ravens Roost #44 (Berlin): $13,602

It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere (Port Jefferson, N.Y.): $1,765

O’Jettskis (Ocean City): $275

Youth/Family Teams

Psychedelic Penguins (Ocean City): $900

Cotton Headed Ninny Muggins (Jersey City, N.J.): $675

Team Cylc (Snow Hill): $315

Youth Teams

Team Parker (Gaithersberg, Md.): $500

Team Cylc (Snow Hill): $388

O’Jettskis (Ocean City): $325

Adult Individuals

Craig Kettler (Leesburg, Va.): $3,825

Arleen Dinneen (Ellicott City, Md.): $815

Samantha Ewancio (Berlin): $625

Youth Individuals

Max Ewancio, Age 16 (Berlin): $725

Ben Kettler, Age 18 (Leesburg, Va.): $500

TIE: Nicholas Gordon, age 14 (Berlin) and Leila Attia, age 9 (Fallston, Md.): $100

Oldest and Youngest Penguins

Paul Neal (Selbyville), 76 years and 2 days

Grant Kesler (Vienna, Va.), 4 years, 11 months and 3 days

Costume Winners

Best Overall: Mike Schlegel as “Rub-A-Dub-Dub-A-Man-In-A-Tub” (Breinigsville, Pa.)

Most Spirited: Lanch Bucheit as “Pittsburgh Penguin Bobblehead” (Bishopville)

Most Creative: Debbie Murosky as “Octopus” (Pittston, Pa.)

Best Little Penguin: Tristan Lorditch as “Army Sergeant” (Lancaster, Pa.)

Best Team/Group Costume: McKenna Schlegel, Sienna Pearce and Keera Pearce as “Candy Kitchen Girls” (Breinigsville, Pa.)

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.