Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Is this man crazy?

Gary Sredzienski on ice near Kittery, Maine. Photo by Deb Cram
Well, if it's crazy to swim 12 months a year, even if the water temperature is below freezing, then yes, Gary Sredzienski is crazy as a loon. But he's made a science of figuring out the proper gear to wear, and he's made it this far (he's in his upper 40s) without any serious damage. He likes to say that people watching him from shore are colder than he is -- as long as he keeps moving.

Gary is also a very accomplished accordionist, and he has a radio show called "Polka Party" that's listened to nationwide. Everything Gary does is done with passion and commitment. It's those qualities that led him to start doing long-distance winter swims for local charities in the Portsmouth, New Hampshire, area.

Photo by Deb Cram
This year, his chosen cause is the American Lighthouse Foundation and its local chapter, Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses. Gary is a big believer in cultural heritage, and he feels a strong attachment to the area's lighthouses as historic icons that must be preserved.

Gary will be swimming four miles, with stops at Whaleback Lighthouse and Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse, on February 26. Following the swim, Gary and his band, the Serfs, will play at a party/concert at Captain and Patty's restaurant at Kittery Point, Maine. You can read all the details by clicking here.

If this man is crazy, then we need more crazy people to help support historic preservation.