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Santa-clad Berlin winter swimmers take chilly Christmas dip

2018-12-25 22:18
A group of Germans known as the Berlin Seals braved the chilly waters of Oranke lake on Tuesday (December 25) for their traditional Christmas Day swim. A water temperature of 4.9 degrees Celsius (40.8 F) made for an unseasonably mild dip - even though one Seal confirmed it was "of course" cold. Yet, they all agreed it was fun and bound to be healthy. The "Berlin Seals" prepare for their Christmas Day dip from the middle of September, when the 70-odd members start meeting for a dip every Sunday at 10 a.m. sharp. The tradition dates back to at least 1980 when the part of Berlin where Oranke lake is located was still part of East Germany. Ursula Schwarz, the head of the "Berlin Seals Winter Swimmers," did not say she was disappointed about the mild weather but that she missed ice and the freezing cold. "An outsider can't really understand that but ice swimming is kind of addictive," Schwarz said. That might explain why she has been doing it for 32 years.