26th Annual Penguin Swim Set For New Year’s Day In OC

26th Annual Penguin Swim Set For New Year’s Day In OC
Representatives of the Bull on the Beach fundraising team are pictured leaving the ocean during last year’s event. Photo by Chris Parypa

OCEAN CITY – Event organizers say registration is still open for the 26th Annual Penguin Swim.

On Wednesday, Jan. 1, Atlantic General Hospital (AGH) will host its 26th Annual Penguin Swim at the Princess Royale Oceanfront Hotel in Ocean City. There, swimmers will brave the chilly conditions and frigid ocean waters to raise money for health care services.

Special Events Coordinator Joy Stokes said the fundraiser has grown to include hundreds of participants each year. Just last year, for example, more than 650 “penguins” jumped into the 46-degree ocean to raise $92,482 for the hospital.

Since its inception, the Penguin Swim has grossed $1.4 million.

“This fun event encourages residents, vacationers, businesses and community to get involve to raise money as individuals or teams for our local community hospital,” she said. “In addition, AGH’s Annual Penguin Swim can become a tradition for family and friends, old and young to ring in the New Year.”

Stokes said it is not too late to participate in this year’s fundraising activities. As of this week, 125 “penguins” and 21 teams have registered.

“If you cannot participate we welcome donations and cash sponsors,” she said.

All participants will receive an official 2020 AGH Penguin Swim short-sleeve T-shirt for their registration fee. Additional incentive prizes can be earned based on individual fundraising efforts.

Individual and team participants can register online to start collecting donations. To register, visit www.aghpenguinswim.org or text PENGUIN to 51555.

Event day registration will be held from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., with the main event at 1:00 p.m. on the beach.

The time in between will feature carnival games, face painting, mermaids and more. The Bull on the Beach team will parade down the beach at 12:45 p.m. from 94th Street to the swim area in front of the Princess Royale.

Participants are encouraged to come to pre-registration and advance check-in at the Princess Royale in the Premier Lobby from 2-4 p.m. on New Year’s Eve.

All participants are required to register either online or in person and check in on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day to receive a wristband to gain access to the swim area.

Special recognition awards will be given to oldest and youngest Penguins. Trophies for first, second, and third place will be awarded to those who raise the most money in divisions for Individuals – Adults and 18 & under, and Teams – Businesses, Community Groups/Organizations, and Youth/Family.

There will also be prizes awarded for the best costumes.

“Proceeds from the event, gathered through corporate sponsorships and participant fundraising, support the strategic plans undertaken by Atlantic General Hospital to uphold their mission to improve individual and community health,” Stokes said.

For more information, visit www.aghpenguinswim.org or the “Penguin Swim – Atlantic General Hospital” Facebook page, or call the Atlantic General Hospital Foundation office at 410-641-9671.

That same day, the Town of Fenwick Island will also host its 16th Annual Fenwick Freeze, which will be held at 11:30 a.m. at the Bayard Street Beach.

Registration is $20 per person through Dec. 31 and $25 per person on Jan. 1.

Pre-registration will be held at Town Hall on Dec. 30 and Dec. 31 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and event-day registration will be held at the Bayard Street Beach from 9-11 a.m. on Jan. 1.

Those who have pre-registered can pick up their T-shirts between 9-11 a.m. on Jan. 1.

All registrants will receive a commemorative long-sleeve T-shirt, and proceeds will benefit the Fenwick Island Lifeguard National Competition Fund.

For more information, visit www.fenwickisland.delaware.gov.

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.