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 at home. The second is enjoying a swim at a YMCA 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 (AT HOME): Fitness Challenge

Complete the Polar Bear 30-minute Fitness Challenge at home to earn a SPECIAL PATCH! This year, the Fitness Challenge will take place on your own before you attend your swim. You can use the Polar Bear Challenge worksheet to guide you through a workout, or you can choose a workout on your own! When you arrive at the YMCA, let us know that you completed the challenge and we will give you your special patch! 

Part 2 (At THE YMCA): 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 being active in the YMCA pool! This portion of the event is 45 minutes.

Interested in hosting your own Polar Bear Swim? If you and your Crew would like to host your own Polar Bear Plunge, you can still earn your patches and bear claws! Send us an email to request your patches and claws.

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 is currently open. The locations, dates and timeslots of Polar Bear Swims 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." 

Northwest Cary YMCA (Cary)

The NW Cary Pool is an outdoor heated pool. Swim Assessments are available at the Northwest Cary YMCA Saturdays from 12 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

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