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Taking An Icy Plunge Into The New Year

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

This morning, Ellyce Shulman is taking a plunge to ring in the new year. Shulman is from Seattle, Wash. And for the past eight months, she's been open water swimming in the Puget Sound.

ELLYCE SHULMAN: It's not the ocean, but it's close. So it's cold saltwater, and so there's tides and currents, and there's sea life, like seals and sea lions...

(SOUNDBITE OF SEA LION VOCALIZING)

SHULMAN: ...And fish and sea anemones and jellyfish. And so it just felt really good being out in this wild space.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

We found Shulman while asking listeners what got them through 2020. And Schulman highlighted the importance of getting outdoors. This is the first time that she's swam during the cold winter.

SHULMAN: I never would have planned to do this if it hadn't been for the pandemic.

FADEL: Her gym had a pool, but she didn't feel comfortable swimming there.

(SOUNDBITE OF WATER BUBBLING)

SHULMAN: It became less about trying to get exercise but just getting out of the house and getting away from the news in this really crazy time we're in. It just really forces you to be mindful.

FADEL: These swims even allowed her to safely meet new people.

SHULMAN: Everybody usually has a different pace, so it's very easy to stay six feet apart or more once you're in the water.

INSKEEP: OK, so she's been doing these swims. Now it's New Year's morning, and she's calling the swim for today the 2020 Hindsight Swim.

SHULMAN: And it's also been described as, 2020 - WTF just happened?

(LAUGHTER)

INSKEEP: She plans to continue the swims in 2021 and maybe add some long bike rides.

(SOUNDBITE OF SIGNAL HILL'S "MICROBE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.