Locals preparing for Special Olympics Polar Plunge

Six athletes and three volunteers with Special Olympics Indiana Jackson County are gearing up to enter the cold water of Deam Lake in Borden.

Other members of the Seymour Tsunamis Polar Plunge team include Seymour Mayor Matt Nicholson and his youngest daughter, Sallie, Seymour School Resource Officer Jason Wynn, Seymour Big O Tires owner Curt Staley and Seymour Middle School counselor Meigan Vest.

On Feb. 11, the team will travel to Deam Lake State Recreation Area for Special Olympics Indiana’s signature fundraiser as part of a series of exhilarating events held each winter where individuals and teams brave the elements by taking an icy dip to demonstrate their commitment to the cause.

Special Olympics Indiana is a nonprofit organization that provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in more than 20 Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities ages 8 and up. Fundraisers such as the Polar Plunge allow athletes to participate at no cost. Indiana has more than 16,000 athletes.

Along with “Freezin’ for a reason,” this year’s plungers are encouraged to “Be bold. Get cold.”

Participants need to raise a minimum of $85 for the opportunity to plunge at one of the 15 different locations across the state now through March 4. By raising the “bear” minimum, they will receive a long-sleeve Polar Plunge shirt. If they hit $300, $500 or $1,000 or more, they will have a chance to earn other prizes, including a tumbler, a beach towel or a duffel bag.

At each plunge site, special awards are given for best costume, most money raised by an individual and most money raised by a team.

Right now, the Seymour Tsunamis are in the lead in the team standings for the Borden Plunge with $5,775. So far, there are 24 teams registered.

Also, two members of the team are the top individual fundraisers, including Nicholson at the top with $2,215.

The total, however, doesn’t include cash or checks collected, including the more than $600 the team received during a roadblock Jan. 6 in Seymour. That total is just the amount of online donations they have received.

Fundraising continues until the end of the Polar Plunge season. Money is split between the county and state Special Olympics programs.

The Borden Plunge starts at noon Feb. 11. Registration will be from 10 to 11:30 a.m.

This will be the Seymour Tsunamis’ fourth time participating in the Borden Plunge. The most they’ve raised in a year was nearly $7,500 in 2021, and last year’s 15 plungers was a record. Their total was above $6,800 in 2022.

There is still time to join the Seymour Tsunamis or donate to a team member. Both can be done online at secure.e2rm.com/p2p/fundraising/380477/team/989035.

There also is a virtual plunger option, where someone can join a team and raise money online and not do the plunge.

To become a Super Plunger, a person needs to raise a minimum of $4,000 and plunge at a minimum of two sites, including the one on March 4 in Indianapolis. Not only will they earn bragging rights as one of Special Olympics Indiana’s top supporters, Super Plungers will enjoy VIP treatment at the plunge and receive the top fundraising prize — a baseball-themed plunge jersey.

Plungers must be at least 12 years old on event day to enter the water. Those under 18 must have a signature from a parent or guardian. All participants must sign a liability waiver.

For information, visit polarplungein.org.

Alysha Sandlin of the Seymour Tsunamis high fives the divers as she participates in the 2022 Special Olympics Indiana Borden Polar Plunge at Deam Lake State Recreation Area.

Zach Spicer | The Tribune

Dale Hickman of the Seymour Tsunamis walks through the 34-degree water of Deam Lake during the 2022 Special Olympics Indiana Borden Polar Plunge.

Zach Spicer | The Tribune

Derrick Martin of the Seymour Tsunamis is freezin’ for a reason while participating in the 2022 Special Olympics Indiana Borden Polar Plunge at Deam Lake State Recreation Area.

Zach Spicer | The Tribune