St. Pete Masters enjoy chilly morning swim

ST. PETERSBURG, FL (WFLA) — At 5:30 a.m. Tuesday morning when most people in the Bay Area were dreading getting out of bed in the cold, about twenty members of the St. Pete Masters were just getting in the outdoor pool. While the air temperature was in the 40s, an employee at the North Shore Aquatic Center measured the water at 80 degrees.

Peter Betzer has been swimming in St. Petersburg for the last 42 years. News Channel 8 Reporter Adrienne Pedersen asked if he considered staying home on the cold morning.

“Absolutely,” Betzer said. “I’d be lying if I said otherwise. It’s actually nice in the water, warmer than standing out here. It’s just tough trying to get to the locker room before your body temperature drops.”

Betzer says now that he’s older than 70, his cut off is about 40 degrees. Adrienne Forkois takes a different approach. She doesn’t even look at the temperature so she doesn’t chicken out.

“I like to come and swim with all my friends,” Forkois said. “It’s really a way to start the day right.”

The SPM filled almost every lane in the pool and some swam for 1.5 hours. According to the website the group is part of a, “National membership-operated nonprofit organization that provides membership benefits to nearly 60,000 Masters swimmers across the country.”

Swimmers range in age and skill, but they all seem to have one thing in common. Member David Abbey sums it up: “It’s just really a great group of people.” provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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