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Nation & World

'Strip And Dip' On Irish Coast Sets Guinness Record For Largest Skinny-Dip

A group of more than 2,500 women set the record for world's largest skinny-dip Saturday in Ireland.
A group of more than 2,500 women set the record for world's largest skinny-dip Saturday in Ireland.

Several thousand women descended on an Irish beach on Saturday wearing smiles, body paint and not much else.

The group set a Guinness record for the world's largest skinny-dip — 2,505 women in all, according to a Guinness representative who was on site, breaking the previous record of 786 set in Australia in 2015.

"For those who have cancer, they're taking ownership of their bodies again," event organizer Dee Featherstone, a cancer survivor, told the Irish Times . "A lot of women said that the experience really changed their lives."

Participants in the swim, an annual event, raised money for , a charity that supports children with cancer. Over the first five years, the swims raised about $180,ooo, the Irish Timesreported. A crowdfunding page showed that this year's swim had raised about $13,500 in donations. Proceeds from a registration fee of 10 euros per person — about $12 — would also go to charity.

Featherstone told the Timesthat after receiving a cancer diagnosis in 2012, she tried to "take the scariness out of it for everyone." She held a "chemo party" for friends and to chronicle her experience.

After six months of chemotherapy and a mastectomy, Featherstone says she decided to stage a skinny-dip fundraiser for cancer research and awareness. "I contacted some friends and family ... and told them, 'I only have one boob and I'm bald, so what's your excuse?'" Featherstone told the Times. "Sixty of us did the first one, and last year's event grew to 200 women."

The women stayed in the water — which measured a chilly 54 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Reuters — for five minutes in order to set a new world record.

"Oh my god it was amazing," participant Deirdre Betson told Reuters after she left the water. "I have never been naked in front of anybody before, except my husband, and it was brilliant and bracing."

Past attempts to break the skinny-dipping world record have not been as successful. A group in San Diego planned to break the record in 2016 but was thwarted after failing to obtain the proper permits. Meanwhile, other attempts are already in the works. In Perth, Australia — where the former record for the largest skinny-dip was set — a fledgling group has begun planning to wrest back the record in February.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.