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Daily dips in Lake Michigan, even in the snow, slush and ice

By Mike Curkov

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    WHITEFISH BAY, Wisconsin (WDJT) — Every day is ‘beach day’ for Whitefish Bay’s Justin Galloway. Each day, usually in the morning, Galloway finds a spot along Lake Michigan, often at Big Bay Beach near his home, and hops in.

“I started in mid-September. My goal is to get in 300 times out of 365 days. Today is day 129 out of 134.” Galloway told CBS 58 before a swim on a cold day at the end of January.

“I think some people are amused by it all.” Galloway said. “They think it’s cool. I think some people are just like, it’s not a big deal. There’s folks doing this in other parts of the lake. There’s people doing this all over the world which is kind of need. Then I think there’s a bucket of people that think I’m an idiot. There’s probably some truth in all of those buckets.”

He’s given himself a 65-day buffer for when life gets in the way but *cold* does not get in the way of his swims. At least, it hasn’t yet. He still went in on the coldest day of the season.

“Those are my favorite days.” said Galloway. “Honestly. The lake just looks so cool. There’s steam rising. The ice looks so neat. And the water is warmer than the air. It’s like a big bathtub.”

He has a pretty simple answer to the question, ‘why?’ “I love the outdoors. I love the lake. And I love personal challenges. This is like the perfect intersection of all three of those things.” Galloway said.

Justin has a wife and two kids. He has a successful career in healthcare sales. He’s not completely off his rocker. It’s not like he’s out doing laps in the ice waters.

“I’m not looking to be a hero out there.” he said. “Like yesterday, I was in like three minutes. Just kind of swimming around with the icebergs. Nothing too crazy.”

Each time, he shoots some video or pictures on his phone to share his daily dips on Instagram. Sometimes he has a guest, like CBS 58 Morning News anchor Mike Curkov.

Galloway has learned some things about swimming between the ‘ice pancakes,’ as he calls them, on Lake Michigan. His advice is to ‘keep the cold out.’ Build a mental forcefield around your body. He says you naturally want to tense up in the cold, but to fight that urge. Stay loose. Focus on your breathing.

“Some days it is an awesome connection point with the water.” Galloway said. “I think going into the cold water is one of those things that forces you into the present moment.”

After his swim, he puts on his robe and winter coat, walks up the stairs, gets in his car, and goes to work. It’s just a small moment for him each day. And a small step toward achieving a personal goal.

“Start small. Start now.” he said. “This was an attainable goal for me and it’s been an awesome kind of experiment. In other folks, maybe I want to walk a mile, I want to bench press my body weight, I want to run a marathon. Start small, start now. Get after it.”

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