653 Take Atlantic Plunge At Hospital’s Penguin Swim

653 Take Atlantic Plunge At Hospital’s Penguin Swim
Members of the Bull of the Beach fundraising team are pictured walking to the beach on New Year’s Day.

OCEAN CITY – Hundreds of individuals donning costumes and bathing suits braved the cold water of the Atlantic Ocean this week to raise funds for a community hospital.

On Tuesday, 653 participants, including 47 teams, welcomed the new year by taking a plunge in the ocean and raising more than $91,000 at Atlantic General Hospital’s (AGH) 25th Annual Penguin Swim.

As of Thursday, Event Coordinator Joy Stokes said the hospital collected $91,787 in total cash revenue from participant and donor contributions. She added that number is expected to increase as people continue to make donations in the coming days.


Some of the more festive participants are pictured at the event. Photos by Chris Parypa

“We are really happy with how things turned out,” she said.

This year, the Penguin Swim concluded a year-long celebration of AGH’s 25th anniversary. In addition to the swim, activities included a beach parade, carnival games, face painting, mermaids and more.

“It was a pretty big year for everybody,” she said.

Stokes attributed the event’s success to organization, community support and warmer weather. Organizers recorded an air temperature of 64 degrees and a water temperature of 46 degrees.

C“When New Year’s is on a weekday participation typically drops,” she said. “But for a Tuesday the turnout was excellent, and the weather really helped us out.”

To date, Stokes said the hospital has raised $1,433,235 – including $601,902 from legacy sponsor Bull on the Beach – from the annual Penguin Swim. The money supports health care services at the facility and in the community.

DShe added that those still interesting in donating can do so by visiting www.aghpenguinswim.org or sending a check to the Atlantic General Hospital Foundation. Individuals are asked to write “AGH Penguin Swim” in the memo.

“I think everything went off without a hitch this year,” she said. “The weather and community participation came into play and everything was well organized.”

Winners listed in order of award sequence are as followed.

Youth/Family Teams

It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere (Breinigsville, Pa.): $1,325

Parkers Penguins (Gaithersburg, Md.): $750

The Roarty Family (Churchville, Md.): $500

Community Teams

Ocean City Ravens Roost #44 (Ocean City): $16,000

OC FOOLS (Ocean City): $425

HFY Swim Team (Laurel, Del.): $200

Business Teams

Bull on the Beach (Ocean City): $30,000

Frosty Flip Flops (Berlin): $782

Swimming Skeletons (Berlin): $735

Adult Individuals

Samantha Ewancio (Berlin): $675

Robert LeCompte (Columbia, Md.): $525

Richard Moore (Glen Bernie, Md.): $500

Youth Individuals 

Max Ewancio (Berlin): $705

Nicholas Franklin (Berlin): $425

Andrew Campbell (Salisbury): $175

Costume Winners

Best Overall: Sandy Sanders – “Kim K Breaks the Internet”

Most Spirited: Timothy Yates – “Uncle Sam”

Most Creative: Derek Endlich, Chance Ebel – “Captain Planet & The Planeteers”

Best Little Penguin: Sienna & Keera Pierce, Mckenna Schlegel – “Snowy Owls”

Best Team/Group Costume: Michelle Black – “Team Happy Feet”

Oldest and Youngest Penguins

Bill Hunter (Ocean Pines), 90 Years, 6 Months, 20 Days

Kaden Stokes (Ocean City), 5 Months, 27 Days

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.