Sophomore plunges for Special Olympics

Kailey Tracy, Contributing Writer

Five, four, three, two, one!  When the clock hit one, sophomore Stephanie Almasy sprinted for the 34-degree water.  As icy chills surged through her body, she walked further into the Chesapeake Bay.

For Almasy, the 2011 Polar Bear Plunge to benefit the Special Olympics of Maryland at Sandy Point State Park was not just a casual dip in the Chesapeake.  Almasy’s aunt has Down syndrome, which got her involved in the Polar Bear Plunge.

“She makes me inspired to help people with special needs and this was the perfect chance to see tons of special needs people and how excited they are to get to do this,” Almasy said.  She worked at a Special Olympic camp last summer as well.

While waiting to take the icy plunge, Almasy and her two friends engaged in carnival games and activities set up in the many booths along the beach.  They also observed the bizarre outfits of other plungers. “There was one guy in a banana suit, and another in a Snuggie.  People wore everything.  It was so cool,” Almasy said.

Waiting in a warming tent 30 minutes prior to the one p.m. plunge, Almasy was eager to jump into the water.  “I was really excited.  I was not nervous because I did it last year when it was snowing,” Almasy said.

When the time finally came, Almasy and her friends took their place on the beach among the many plungers.  Standing in matching polka dot bikinis in the frigid below freezing temperatures, they joined in the countdown.  When the countdown ended, Almasy darted for the bay.

Splashing in the freezing water, she only let it come up to her shoulders.  “I’ll go under next year,” Almasy said.  “As soon as I stepped out of the water, my body started tingling and I felt numb.”

For this reason, Almasy and her friends proceeded into the warming tent. While thawing out their bodies, the three girls gawked at DJ Pauly D who was mixing music onstage.

“He was amazing!  I love Pauly D so much,” Almasy said.  To top off their day, they formed a tunnel with the help of other plungers for Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco to run through as he plunged.

“We screamed ‘We love you Joe!’ and he gave us high fives,” Almasy said.

Jan. 29 proved to be both a rewarding and exciting day for Almasy.  “It was so much fun.  I can’t wait to do it next year,” Almasy said.

Kailey Tracy is a contributing writer for