Polar Bear Swim and Challenge

Get active and go for a swim with your dad! This event takes place in two parts. The first is a 30-minute workout with your crew. The second is enjoying a swim at a YMCA indoor pool with your crew. At this event, you have the opportunity to earn an awesome patch, as well as a white bear claw.

Part 1: Fitness Challenge

Before jumping into the pool with a bear (or a Dad), complete the Polar Bear 30-minute Fitness Challenge for a SPECIAL PATCH! This Fitness Challenge will take place at a YMCA branch, right before you take the plunge. 

Part 2: Polar Bear Plunge

Upon arrival for the swimming portion of the challenge, you'll complete the "Polar Bear Pledge" (a safety component) and then you'll take the Polar Bear Plunge. Enjoy the space in the YMCA pool! This portion of the event is about 40 minutes.

Swim Band Information

If your child has a YMCA swim band, please make sure to bring it! If they do not have a swim band or forget to bring it with them, children will be required to wear a life vest or take the swim assessment during their scheduled pool time. If you would like your child to take the swim assessment at an earlier time, please see the available times below to be assessed at each branch. You may take the swim assessment at any YMCA branch, regardless of the location you're signed up for for the Polar Bear Swim.


Registration for our Polar Bear Swims opens on Wednesday, Dec. 1. The locations, dates and timeslots of Polar Bear Challenges are listed below. To register, click on the timeslot for the branch/date you'd like to attend. This is a FREE event, but capacities are limited, so please be sure to register for the event you're planning to attend by clicking on the link for the appropriate branch and time below. To register, click on the hyperlink below that represents your preferred location/date/timeslot. Dads, remember to register for yourself AND your child. 

Branches and Times

Alexander Family YMCA (Central Raleigh)

Swim Assessments are available at the Alexander Family YMCA whenever they have "Open Swim" listed on their pool schedule. To view their pool schedule, visit the YMCA of the Triangle's Schedules page, then filter down to "Pool Schedule," "Alexander Alexander Family YMCA" and "Open Swim." 

A.E. Finley YMCA (North Raleigh)

Swim Assessments are available at the A.E. Finley YMCA Monday - Friday from 12 - 3 p.m. or after 7 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays from 12 - 3 p.m

Taylor Family YMCA (Cary)

Swim Assessments are available at the Taylor Family YMCA Monday - Friday from 10:30 a.m. - 1 p.m., Fridays from 6 - 8 p.m., Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. and Sundays from 1 - 5 p.m.

Kerr Family YMCA (Northeast Raleigh, Wake Forest, Rolesville)

Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA 

Swim Assessments are available at the Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA on Sundays from 1 - 5 p.m.

Downtown Durham YMCA 

Swim Assessments are available at the Downtown Durham YMCA Monday - Friday from 12 - 3:30 p.m., Saturdays from 12 - 3 p.m. and Sundays from 1 - 5 p.m.