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Swimmers take New Year's Day plunge into Barton Springs Pool

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TWC News: Swimmers take New Year's Day plunge into Barton Springs Pool
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While many Central Texas took advantage of New Year’s Day as a chance to sleep in, others used the holiday as an opportunity to dive into 2013.

The New Year’s Day Splash, also known as the Polar Bear Swim, has been an Austin tradition for more than a decade.

"It really is crazy, but it’s so awesome how everyone comes together to be a community event,” swimmer John Mark said. “It’s a wild experience and it’s cold and rainy out here on top of everything."

The rain and the dip in the pool gave swimmers a chance to wash away 2012.

"All my bad luck from last year and this kind of cleanses me of all that bad karma," swimmer Jay Fredericksen said.

Over the past few weeks, some people questioned if the event would happen this year. City leaders closed the pool in mid-December to do repair work on a bypass tunnel.

It won't officially reopen until the project is complete, but since the New Year’s Day splash is an Austin tradition, they decided to let people swim in the pool for the day.

“I'm hoping to wash away some of the past, and start with new beginnings, new beginnings for me and my family,” Mark said. “That's my biggest hope for this year, and that's why I came to Austin and so far so good."

Mayor Lee Leffingwell and Council Member Kathie Tovo also took the plunge.

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