Penguin Swim Attracted 500-Plus, Raised Over $72K

Penguin Swim Attracted 500-Plus, Raised Over $72K
This group of participants waded in the 47-degree ocean for a few minutes before getting out on New Year’s Day. Photo by Chris Parypa

OCEAN CITY – More than 500 Penguin Swim participants took a dip in the Atlantic Ocean last week to raise funds for Atlantic General Hospital.

On New Year’s Day, 519 participants – sporting costumes and bathing suits – took the plunge into the chilling waters off Ocean City for the 27th Annual Penguin Swim.

Organizers this year recorded a water temperature of 47 degrees and a wind chill of 43 degrees for the 2021 Penguin Swim. But that didn’t stop people from supporting the hospital’s fundraising efforts.

“Penguin Swim is one of our largest fundraisers in support of Atlantic General Hospital’s mission to provide a coordinated care system with access to quality care, personalized service and education to create a healthy community,” said Event Coordinator Joy Stokes. “All proceeds benefit Atlantic General Hospital Foundation.”

This year, the hospital grossed $72,480 for community health care services. And while the event featured several changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Penguin Swim Co-Chair Michael Cylc recognized participants, event organizers and partnering agencies for making the fundraiser a success.

“Given all the challenges that we faced I believe we did it in a responsible manner by minimizing contact, mask only and spreading out to socially distance,” he said. “Thank you to the Town of Ocean City and the Ocean City Beach Patrol and first responders, dive team for their efforts leading up and on New Year’s Day. Thank you to all the health care heroes working every day to keep our community safe. We are very humbled by the outpouring of participants both in person and virtually, individual and team fundraising efforts and donations.”

Since its inception, the Penguin Swim has grossed $1.5 million. The yearly event has also become a tradition for hundreds of residents and visitors and many local businesses and community groups.

Legacy Sponsor Bull on the Beach, for example, has contributed nearly $642,000 to the Penguin Swim since 1995, and Ocean City Ravens Roost #44 has contributed nearly $143,000 to the Penguin Swim over the last 12 years.

Cylc said the hospital will continue to accept donations through the Penguin Swim website,

“If you wish to still donate, our website is open,” he said, “and we realize this is a challenging time for everyone, so we greatly appreciate any and all donations moving forward.”

Penguin Swim winners listed in order of award sequence are as followed:

Youth/Family Teams

Team Jedi (Denver, Pa.): $1,895

Zoo Crew (Breinigsville, Pa.): $1,450

The Brrrrrrr’ng Kirbys (Berlin): $725

Community Teams

Ocean City Ravens Roost #44 (Ocean Pines): $8,025

OPST Hammerheads (Ocean Pines): $595

The Atlantic Club (Ocean City): $325

Business Teams

Bull on the Beach (Ocean City): $12,000

Team Royale (Ocean City): $1,625

AGH’s Frosty Flip Flops (Berlin): $325

Adult Individuals

Janice McAleer (Hampstead, Md.): $1,250

Michael Nelson (Rosedale, Md.): $1,200

Max Ewancio (Berlin): $1,025

Youth Individuals 

Dennis Tice, Jr. (Lusby, Md.): $450

Ty Barnes (Owings Mills): $150

Drayce King (Leonardtown, Md.): $125

Celebrity Challenge Individuals

Annette Wallace (Snow Hill): $1,250

Matthew Morris (North East, Md.): $400

Meredith Mears (Salisbury): $325

Celebrity Challenge Teams

Licensed to Chill (Ocean City): $2,850

Glen Riddle Golf Club (Berlin): $2,625

Ocean City Golf Club (Berlin): $275

Special Recognition Prizes

Youngest Penguin: Kaden Stokes (Ocean City), 2 Years, 5 Months, 27 Days

Oldest Penguin: William Hunter (Ocean Pines), 92 Years, 6 Months, 20 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.