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Here’s how WSLS 10 will take part in this year’s Polar Plunge

Not being able to use Bissett Park in Radford, we had to call an audible

New look to this year's Polar Plunge
New look to this year's Polar Plunge

Look below and you can see what last year’s Polar Plunge, held at Bissett Park in Radford, looked like.

Polar Plunge 2020

With the coronavirus pandemic, many things have had to change, so this year, we cannot plunge at Bissett Park.

“So when you guys called me you had asked if we could use your pool because of COVID restrictions and you couldn’t do the large event at the river,” said Caroline Ratkus, aquatics director at the Botetourt Family YMCA.

Ratkus’s response?

“I loved the idea so I definitely wanted to help out with it. I thought it was awesome you were raising money for Special Olympics,” said Ratkus. “Special Olympics just holds a special place in my heart.”

Not only did she provide a body of water for the 10 News crew to jump into, but she’s also providing more plungers.

“So I’ve talked to a few of my staff members and co-workers about jumping in the water with y’all and I think it would be a great partnership. We are getting ready to start our Adapted Aquatics,” said Ratkus.

Adapted Aquatics is a program that teaches kids with special needs how to swim.

“I noticed that there was a big need in the area for it when I was researching I didn’t see any other facilities offering the program,” explained Ratkus.

She said everyone deserves how to learn to swim because it’s such an important life skill to have.

Adapted Aquatics is more than just swim lessons as it teaches social skills and makes the kids more well-rounded.

For those who may be thinking that we’re trading a 35-degree river for a nice heated pool, that’s not quite the case.

“It should get pretty cold, so it won’t be as cold as you’re expecting but it’ll still be a pretty big shock,” said Ratkus.

Click here if you’d like to donate to the Special Olympics.


About the Author:

Chief Meteorologist Jeff Haniewich is an American Meteorological Society (AMS) Certified Broadcaster, forecasting weather conditions in southwest Virginia on WSLS 10 News at 5, 5:30, 6 and 11 p.m. every weekday.