Thousands seek fresh start with annual Polar Bear Splash

For some 2016 could not have ended soon enough.

"It's just been a very long year. I'm just thinking 2017 is going to be so much better," Annette Tran, a first time participant of the Polar Bear Splash, said.

And many others believe a dip into Barton Springs Pool for the annual Polar Bear Splash will help make 2017 a much better year.

"Basically after 2016 we wanted just a fresh start and a fresh cleanse to wash everything away from 2016 and start with a fresh start to 2017," David Bourque, an Austin resident, said.

"2016 was amazing but 2017 is starting out to be a great year. We're going to start a new family this year so it is going to be great," Adam Fletcher, who is participating in his first Polar Bear Splash, said.

"I think any step forward would be better than 2016, not that 2016 was a bad year, but it can only go up from here," Jerrel Reynolds, an Austin resident, said.

For the Cano family, who are making the Polar Bear Splash a family tradition, they  feel  the flops of 2016 helped prepare them for the upcoming year.

"There were plenty of challenges (that we) overcome and (the year) wasn't bad. It was a good learning experience. We grew as a family," David Cano, said.

For Missy Bourque, David's wife, there was no better way to kick off the new year than with her family and hundreds of her "closest" friends.

"As a family just starting the year off together is really all we can ask for. We're together, we're happy, we're healthy, this is it right here," Missy said.

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