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Plunging into a new tradition: Tehachapi community comes together for Presidents' Day

The first annual "Presidential Polar Plunge" brought people of all ages to the Dye Natatorium Pool in Tehachapi for a brisk start to the Monday holiday
TVRPD March 2024 Lifeguard Flyer
Posted at 5:26 PM, Feb 19, 2024
  • Video shows the first annual "Presidential Polar Plunge" at the Dye Natatorium Pool in Tehachapi.
  • On Monday morning, the Tehachapi Valley Recreation and Park District held its first polar plunge, and they say around 60 people took the chance to hop in the cold water.
  • The TVRPD hopes to make this a yearly tradition. Participant Curtis Nelson recommends it, saying, “I encourage everyone to come out next year and be part of it.”


The Tehachapi community plunged into a new tradition on Presidents' Day. At the community pool, over 60 people took the leap and braved the cold water.

On a February day, you may not think to head out to the Dye Natatorium Pool. Of course, it's usually closed for the season, but this President's Day, it was the place to be.

"Jumping in the water is such an experience. You don't realize how cold it is until you jump in," said Sarai Diaz, marketing and recreation specialist for the TVRPD.

The Tehachapi Valley Recreation and Park District held its first annual polar plunge Monday morning.

Sarai Diaz, marketing and recreation specialist for the TVRPD said the chill of the water shocks the system, but it's worth it.

Around 65 people of all ages took the cold plunge, including Erin Flynn and her family.

"It just sounded fun. I've heard it's good for you and good for your health. but, I just like to do weird stuff with my weird kid," Flynn said.

Neighborhood News Reporter Grace Laverriere interviewing Polar Plunge participant Curtis Nelson
Neighborhood News Reporter Grace Laverriere interviewing Polar Plunge participant Curtis Nelson

Curtis Nelson says the shock of the cold water wasn't new to him. He's done this before.

"It's so refreshing when there's cold water like this," Nelson said. "This is my third polar plunge like this, and I like them a lot."

Nelson hopped in the cold water more than once, and during one, he swam alongside Tehachapi mayor Michael Davies.

"The first second was a total shock, but it was cool," said Mayor Davies.

Brenda Gonzalez, recreation manager, said the idea for the plunge came about a month ago to bring the community together during the winter.

"To promote health and wellness. I think that this is a great opportunity to do that and get use out of our pool which is seasonal," Gonzalez said.

The pool season typically begins in April. Corey Torres, district manager for the TVRPD, says the community pool was built in the 1950s.

"This is an old pool. It's a community asset," Torres said. "It's got its issues, but we work on it and we try to make it available. We're determined to keep it up and running for as long as we–as long as it can."

Torres said that, eventually, the pool will need major upgrades. Until then, the TVPRD will maintain as much of the upkeep as it can.

torres says the plunge wasn't only a way to connect with the community, it was also a way to re-center yourself. Breathing exercises were offered by health coach Sierra Torres to those who wanted some coaching through the shock of the cold.

"Just getting out here and doing something hard. It takes a lot of mental determination to get out here and do it," said Corey Torres.

Cold plunging has become increasingly popular as a way to potentially reduce inflammation and reduce stress.

According to a 2023 study in the Journal of Thermal Biology, researchers found that cold plunging could potentially help with improving your mood and regulating stress.

Sarai Diaz says the benefits make it all worth it.

"Just knowing the health benefits, at least for me, helps get me through the few minutes that you're in there."

If you're looking to get involved at the community pool, the TVRPD says they are offering a lifeguard training course beginning March 1. Full details can be found on their social media, both Facebook and Instagram, or in the slide of photos attached to this article.

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