They came, they plunged, they shivered at the annual midwinter swim at Whanganui's Castlecliff Beach yesterday.

And while we're only a couple of days shy of the shortest day of the year, the weather was quite benign. Apart from a blustery wind, conditions were certainly not arctic-like. The More FM Polar Plunge started with about 100 brave swimmers from in front of the surf club pavilion.

Swimmers were confined to a small section of the beach under the watchful eye of a couple of surf lifesavers who made sure no one went out further than waist-deep into pretty turbulent surf.

Participants were encouraged to dress up and there were prizes for the best and wackiest costumes.


There were more than $400 worth of prizes given away thanks to the generosity of local businesses.

Whangaehu dairy farmer Jules Le Lievre was one of those who dressed up for the occasion, although no one was sure if he was Superman or Wonder Woman.

He had done the midwinter swim years ago but decided to make a return this year.

"It was colder back then, I can tell you. Must be El Nino or something," he said.

"I don't do this normally. Call it a moment of madness. But I might do it again next year."

And Year 13 Whanganui High School students Abby Hurley, Jadzia Morris, Hypatia Orchard and Sapere Simon got wet rather than wedded at the midwinter swim at Castlecliff Beach yesterday.

They all wore bridal veils and carried a posy of flowers.