Taking the New Year’s plunge at Barton Springs Pool

Taking the New Year’s plunge at Barton Springs Pool

Jumping into Barton Springs on New Year’s Day is an Austin tradition. Chris LeBlanc photo

​I leapt into 2020 at Barton Springs Pool today, along with several hundred others who realized that a Polar Plunge into Barton Springs Pool barely merits a cup of hot chocolate.

The water temperature at the spring-fed pool in downtown Austin hovers around 70 degrees year-round (that despite a rumor that it’s always 68 degrees.) And 70 degrees actually feels quite comfortable when the air temperature is in the upper 50s.

That’s the thing about swimming at Barton Springs in the winter. There’s less of a difference between the air and water temperature, so it’s not that shocking when you get in. The cold comes later, when you get out and stand on the edge of the pool, dripping wet.


My husband and I managed just fine, though, and so did plenty of others who ventured down for the party.

A couple of outdoor heaters were set up just outside the gates, so air-cooled swimmers could thaw out before heading home.

I spotted a man in a dinosaur suit, a woman in a shark costume, a guy wearing a weird red, white and blue onesie and others out to help Austin maintain its reputation for weirdness.

And that spring water helped baptize the new year for me.



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