Swimmer Will Gammell smiled as he stepped out of the Forest Park Pool on Jan. 8. He wanted to go in a second time.

“It feels good,” Gammell said. “There are benefits to swimming in the cold. I don’t know them yet, though.”

The City of Fort Worth Park & Recreation department and the Fort Worth Drowning Prevention Coalition hosted their second annual Arctic Dip event Jan. 8 at the Forest Park Pool. About 15 of the 25 swimmers registered showed up for the dip.

The first dip event was in 2020, and the pandemic prevented the coalition from having one in 2021.

Arctic Dip is a fundraiser for the coalition, which provides drowning prevention training and swimming programming. Founded in 2012, the coalition is going on its 10th year.

The coalition focuses on prevention training.

Texas usually ranks at the top of the country for most pediatric drownings, City of Fort Worth Pools & Aquatics department and Fort Worth Drowning Prevention Coalition President Corey Stuhmer said. Tarrant County ranks at the top for most drownings in the state. In 2021 in Texas, there were 77 fatal pediatric drownings and eight times more non-fatal drownings.

“We do in-water programming, where we basically teach self-rescue. So, when kids fall in the water, or adults fall in the water, they know how to back-float and how to swim short distances,” Stuhmer said. “So, it’s all about making the community safer.”

Cristian ArguetaSoto is the community engagement journalist at the Fort Worth Report. Contact him by email or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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Cristian ArguetaSoto

Cristian ArguetaSoto is the community engagement journalist at the Fort Worth Report. He can be reached at cristian.arguetasoto@fortworthreport.org or (817) 317-6991.

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