Water temperatures often dip to somewhere in the 50s Fahrenheit, but a little cold water has never stopped a group of “fearless” local swimmers from coming out each year for the chilly New Year’s Day tradition of taking a dip in the ocean at Venice Beach.

The 46th annual Venice Penguin Swim is scheduled for noon Sunday, January 1st, at the Venice Beach breakwater, ocean end of Windward Avenue, Venice. Participation is free, but entrants must show up by 11 a.m. to sign up. Participants also must bring a signed liability waiver in case things get a bit too cold for comfort.

“Swimming is usually a safe activity, but it is exercise, and it is strenuous, more so on January 1st, when it’s cold,” says the Southern California Aquatic Masters Club, the group that organizes the event. The group recommends that only people confident in their physical fitness participate in the event.

After the group braves the winter waves, the event concludes with the crowning of a “Penguin King, Queen, Prince and Princess.”

Last year’s king was Richard Baier; queen was Rose Marie Larson; princess was Cathy Carlton; and the prince was Steve Johnson.

“The water is cold and the waves are high,” says Clay Evans, a former Olympic competitor who helps organize the event each year and also participates.

“You don’t have much time to make a decision,” says Evans.

Information, (310) 821-8136.

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