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Happy New Year! Let's go swimming!

LAKE GEORGE They screamed and flailed and splashed in the water, reminiscent of the scene in Titanic after the boat sinks. But this was a much happier occasion. Several hundred people ran screaming into the water, complete with a layer of snowy slush, in Shepard Park on New Years Day, despite heavy snow and slippery roads. Its definitely down a little from last year, said Winter Carnival Committee Member Linda Duffy. We had over 850 people last year, and I know its not that high. New Years Eve and New Years Day saw a double whammy of snow storms, dumping close to six inches each day on the area. Lake Georges First Day celebrations took place during the height of the New Years Day storm, giving the 32 degree water a layer of slush for the swimmers to go through. The slush makes it considerable more interesting, said Sean Quillinan of Glen Lake, there with three generations of his family for the dip. I phoned a friend in California who did this last year, and when I told him about the slush, he just said, Oh, thats gonna be nice. Quillinan went for his third Lake George New Years Day swim, along with his son Ian, in for his second and his daughter, Tara. Quillinans mother, Nancy Quillinan, rounded out the third generation. Im looking forward to this, she said. I went in Alaska once, so this should be a piece of cake. The Frinton and Matuszak families who join forces as Camp XS for activities throughout the year were there to take the plunge. The lakes always cold, this is nothing different from July, said Rick Frinton of Hadley. Its a carnival atmosphere, going in the water is not actually enjoyable, you just do it. Daughter Katie, 13, was there for her second annual Polar Plunge. When she comes out of the water, she says she does one thing: Shiver. Her brother, 16-year-old Dillon likes the bragging rights. I can tell my friends I did it, he said. Its becoming a family tradition. Craig Matuszak of South Glens Falls said this was his first year to swim in Lake George on New Years Day. I like new challenges, he laughed. His daughter, Kristen, also a first timer, said she was going in because her friend Katie Frinton was going. I think Im out of my mind, she said. Bob Hummel of Queensbury was also a rookie this year. My neighbors and my wife shamed me into this, he said. I think its one of those things that gives you a notch in the tree making you a North Country person. I just took me 19 years to figure it out.

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