Annual Polar Bear Swim event begins Dec. 21

Posted on Nov 23 2022

500 Sails invites the public to participate in the Polar Bear Swim event launching on Dec. 21, 2022.

The Polar Bear Swim event is an annual swimming challenge. The goal is for swimmers to record as many swim miles within the Saipan Lagoon as possible during winter—Dec. 21 through March 20. First-time participants under the age of 65 who swim at least 40 miles in that time frame will receive a commemorative marble plaque and polar bear figurine. Those who are 65 and over need only 25 miles in that same time frame to receive a plaque and polar bear. However, special recognition will be given to the first swimmer to reach 40 miles, as well as the participant who swims the most miles by the end of the event.

500 Sails executive director Peter Perez and project manager Andrew Roberto made the announcement after concluding the awards ceremony for the 2021 – 2022 Polar Bear Swim event. The swimmer with the most recorded swim miles last year was Sung Chul Kim, who recorded 80 miles. Iek Huyn Ahn was the first swimmer to reach 40 miles, and did so on Jan. 15, 2022, just four weeks into the competition.

Sung Chul Kim is presented with a polar bear trophy after recording 80 miles, making him the swimmer with the most recorded swim miles last year. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS)


Chang Nam “Charles” Lee of Dolphin Club Saipan, recorded 40 miles.


Iek Hun Ahn, shown here with his wife, Bok Sun Hwang, was the first to record 40 miles last year.


Myung Bong Cha and Ha Jin Jung pose with their plaques and figurines.

The remaining “Polar Bears” for 2021 – 2022 are as follows: Gary de Guzman, Chong Nam “Charles” Lee, Bok Sun Hwang, Boboy Aguilar, Natalia Gvan, Bo Hwa Lee, Christina Lee, Ratsugui Min Sook, Henry Bautista, Myung Bong Cha, Ha Jin Jung, Kuen-Hee Han, Wania Leo, and Chang Wan Jang.

The Saipan iteration of the Polar Bear Swim event is modeled after an event of the same name hosted by the Dolphin Club of San Francisco. In that organization, the Polar Bear Swim event is hosted as an effort to encourage DCSF members to continue swimming even through the winter months, where temperatures in San Francisco Bay can reach below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Emma Perez, 500 Sails cofounder, is a former swim commissioner of DCSF and brought the first Saipan Polar Bear Swim event to life in 2013.

Swimmers can register for this year’s Polar Bear Swim event by registering at any of 500 Sails’ community programs at the Guma Sakman in Susupe, across Marianas High School. These include Dolphin Club morning swims from 6am to 7am Monday to Sunday; Saturday Sails from 9am to 2pm; the Sirena Project (swim lessons for women and teenage girls) from 10am to 11am Sundays; and Gamsun Project (lifeguard training) from 12:30pm to 1:30pm Sundays.

For more information, contact Roberto at (670) 323-7245 or You may also reach out via Facebook or Instagram Messenger. Don’t know how to swim? Free adult swimming lessons are available every Wednesday from 6am to 7am at the Guma Sakman. (500 Sails)

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