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Swimmers Dip Into the Hudson for Polar Plunge

Not everyone spends the afternoon of Super Bowl Sunday watching pre-game shows. About 300 hearty swimmers plunged into the Hudson River at the Grassy Point Sea Wall in Stony Point for the 13th annual Stony Point Polar Plunge, a charitable event that raised more than $25,000 for a local youth.

This year's event benefited from the unseasonably warm temperatures. It was 37 degrees with water temperature 34 degrees before the swimmers entered the river. "I was colder before I went in than when I got out," said Anthony Raimone, from Nanuet. "My feet were killing me because of the rocks on the bottom. I should have worn sneakers."

The money will be contributed to the family of Brandon Hernandez, a 5-year-old from West Haverstraw who received a heart transplant at three months.  About 1,000 viewers were on hand for the event, which started with a motorcycle procession before the swimming started.

Mike Lydon, a member of the Stoney Point Seals, said about 1,000 spectators were on hand. "We're blessed so many could come out," he said.

Lydon said money was raised from donations swimmers collected, plus a raffle and T-shirt sale that was held at the event. "It's an embarrassment of riches we get from the community," he said.

Desiree Bernazar, a swimmer from Valhalla, said she raised $330 from family and friends. "I was excited to participate and it's for a good cause," she said.

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