Initiate the new year with a bracing swim

In search of a brave and unusual undertaking to start off 2013? How about a bracing swim in frigid waters?

Many hardy souls choose to welcome the new year with a dip into a lake or sea. If you’d care to add such a feat to your list of accomplishments, here are some suggestions:

In Copenhagen, Denmark, on Dec. 31, some 200 people will take the plunge into seawater in a harbor-side pool at Islands Brygge, an area within easy walking distance from the city center. Bathers dive in around noon. Visitcopenhagen.com has more details.

In Edinburgh, Scotland, a winter swim takes place Jan. 1 in the River Forth under the Rail Bridge. This event, known as the Loony Dook, begins with a parade at 1:30 p.m. Participants must register in advance and pay a 7-pound entry free, part of which goes to charity. Find more info at edinburghshogmanay.com.

In Saundersfoot, Wales, swimmers take to the waters at 12:30 p.m. Last year, the event chalked up an impressive 1,700 participants and raised 40,000 pounds for charitable causes. More at saudersfootnyds.co.uk.

In Constance, Germany, swimmers link up Dec. 28 to cover some 900 meters, going with the flow of the Rhine River. Participants meet at 6 p.m. at the pool on Spanierstrasse. Entry is 12 euros, payable on the spot. Read more at silvesterschwimmen-konstanz.de (German only).

Those who need more time to work up the nerve for such an undertaking can consider taking part in Europe’s largest winter swimming event, in the Danube River in Neuburg an der Donau on Jan. 26. The course is long at about 2.5 miles. Swimmers wear thermal wet suits. Registration is required and participation costs 13 euros. For details and a registration form, see chronisten.com (German only).


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