Make Pact to Meet for Polar Plunge Reunion
By John Alexander
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Competitive swimmers who participate in swim meets throughout Europe and the U.S. made a pact to reunite for a polar plunge in Coney Island on Saturday. Some swimmers traveled from as far away as Czechoslovakia and Turkey to participate in the swim meet. Coney Island was a dream destination for many of the swimmers, who always hoped to reunite and compete here.
Capri Djatiasmoro, project manager for M&J Edelman & Associates, is a dedicated swimmer and volunteer with NYC Swim. In fact, a few years ago, Djatiasmoro swam all the way around Manhattan Island. On July 12, 2014, she attempted and completed the 28.5 mile Manhattan Island Marathon Swim.
“[These] avid cold-water winter swimmers, 78 to be exact, participated in the Coney Island event on Saturday,” Djatiasmoro said. “There were local, national and international swimmers participating. The oldest was Iosif Plagov, from Chicago, Illinois at 83 and the youngest was Conor Turner from Dublin, Ireland at 23. There was an equal split between men and women.”
The international participants came from Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Finland, Ireland and Turkey. U.S. competitors came from California, Texas, Maine, Connecticut, Maryland and Massachusetts. And of course, there were participants from New Jersey and New York.
Belgium’s Marina Bekisz earned a gold medal and placed first in both the 25 and 50 meter women’s breaststroke in the 50-59 age group. Dublin, Ireland’s Conor Turner earned a gold medal and five first-place finishes in 200, 100, 50 and 25 meter men’s freestyle and 25 meter men’s butterfly in the 20-29 age group. In the 20-29 women's age group, NYC’s Meaghan Kwarcinski took first place in the 25 meter freestyle and New Rochelle resident Devon Clifford netted a first place in the 25 meter women’s breaststroke.
And Brooklyn was well-represented in the winner’s circle, with Silverio Bracaglia taking first place in the 25 meter men’s butterfly, ages 60-69, and young Olivia Bradley earning first place in the 25 meter women’s freestyle in the 10-19 age group.
“The cold-water winter swimming community is a small unique international group of swimmers, so when we get together, it is a family reunion,” Djatiasmoro explained.
“We meet in competition and cherish each other’s company since this is the only time we are together. For several of the international swimmers, this was their first time visiting NYC and Coney Island.”