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Deane Davison said she would not be attending the Oamaru Midwinter Swim at the Waitaki Aquatic Centre tomorrow morning.
Instead, she would be taking her five Oamaru grandchildren, aged 7 to 13, out for a "proper midwinter swim" at Friendly Bay in Oamaru Harbour today.
Mrs Davison has braved the winter sea at or near the winter solstice for the last 25 years.
"I just think [the indoor swim] is bloody ridiculous and that’s putting it mildly," she said.
The one-time president of the town’s swimming club, who has taught "hundreds" of local children to swim, once organised the mid-winter swim when she was involved with the Squadron 26 (Oamaru) Air Training Corps.
This week, Squadron 26 commander Derek Beveridge called the indoor midwinter swim "a bit wussy".
A small contingent of air cadets took to the chilly water of Oamaru Harbour at 5pm on Thursday instead of joining the public event at the pool.
"I was a bit surprised when I found out they were having a midwinter swim in the swimming pool," Mr Beveridge said.
The sponsor of the indoor swim, More FM, did not return calls for comment.