CHICO, Calif. -

One of New Year's zaniest traditions continued in Chico Wednesday afternoon.  An estimated 500 people swam across lower Bidwell Park's Sycamore pool.

The Polar Bear Plunge is perhaps the most exciting and frigid two minutes on the Chico calendar.

But the warmer-than-usual temperatures made this year's plunge more bearable. 

For one Chico brave soul Mike Griffith, this was the ideal way to start the New Year.

”Oh man, this was my first time,” said Griffith.  “The coldness really hits you. Halfway through I started freezing. It's cold. But I feel good about doing it my first time.”

This year's Polar Bear Plunge also brought out more than 500 spectators who greeted the swimmers on the other side.