Taking the Plunge

The LF Plungers start each morning with a jump in Lake Michigan


CC Carter and Molly Fisher

Waking up to a 6 a.m. alarm to make it down to Lake Forest Beach for a sunrise spent in frigid temperatures may not appeal to everyone, but the LF Plungers love it.

Despite their group name, which includes the word “plunge,” this team actually stands neck-deep in the water, inhaling and exhaling for up to 6 minutes, finishing with a quick dunk under the water before heading back to shore. Scott Carter, the founder of the LF Plungers, explains his technique to stay calm while in the water. 

“The most important techniques are to convince your mind to enjoy the experience and to practice deep slow breathing through your nose. It jumpstarts the mind and body by starting the day in a beautiful spot, connecting with great people. You begin the day with great energy and a clear mind,” he said. 

Scott Carter and fellow plungers Chris Fisher and Jay Page never imagined this group would gain so much momentum. Now, they have new people join their morning plunge every week. As the season continues, the group continues to grow. On a recent plunge, they were surprised that nearly 30 people came.

The main goal of the LF Plungers is to bring the Lake Forest and Lake Bluff communities together.

“At the end of the day the main goal is to find a connection with others and nature,” Fisher said. We all have found plunging a great way to start our day. In today’s world, it is nice to be a part of something so inclusive.” 

New to plunging, LFHS senior Carmel Hickey was absolutely terrified. 

“As soon as I was in the water I went numb which was a crazy feeling. I definitely had to push myself to stay in for the minute, but it went by much faster than I anticipated. Right before I got out, I dunked my head under, which was my favorite part because it felt so good. I can’t say the same for getting out of the water though,” she joked. 

As someone who swims in pools regularly, Fisher explains that there are several positives about plunging.

“First, the camaraderie with others. We are so lucky to have a Great Lake next to us, and it is great to use it and connect with nature. Overcoming the mental obstacle of sitting in cold water and stabilizing the breathing is a good sense of accomplishment. Lastly, it allows you to be very present…very much in the moment.”

Avid plunger George Carter says plunging is a great way to tackle the day, “It’s very relaxing and you feel energized for the rest of the day. Another aspect is the camaraderie. I love getting together with a group of great people and having a good time.”

LF Plungers is a serious and dedicated group. There are times when plungers will go to any length not to miss a plunge. When George was found without a ride one early morning, he used his bike as his vehicle of transportation in below-freezing temperatures to ensure he didn’t miss the plunge. 

Not only are they dedicated to making it to plunges, but they are also troopers. January 12, only a month into their regular plungers, they had their coldest plunge. With the water temperature below freezing and the air temperature at five degrees, they calmly made their way into the water. 

The LF Plungers will continue to plunge until the water temperature turns these events into less of a plunge and more of a swim.

Looking for a way to jump-start your day? LF Plungers is the right group for you!  All are welcome! Scheduled plunges are announced on their Instagram story @lfplungers.