CHICAGO — Go jump in a lake? A Chicago bus driver took that phrase to heart to relieve the stress of the pandemic.
Dan O’Conor jumped into Lake Michigan for the 365th consecutive day on Saturday, WLS reported.
The milestone leap by “The Great Lake Jumper” took place in front of a crowd of supporters at Montrose Harbor in Chicago, the television station reported. He began diving into the lake on June 13, 2020.
”The first day I came down here was because I was hung over,” O’Conor, 53, told WLS in May. “And it felt so good I just started doing it every day.
“You know, with everything that was happening, you talk about June, it was the pandemic and the politics and the protests, just all of that, I could come down here and dive in the water and it would just kind of clear it, clear the palette and cleanse the day, start anew.”
O’Conor has varied his routine during the past year. Some days he dives, the Chicago Tribune reported. On other days he would execute a backflip or a cannonball.
Rain or shine, hot or cold, O’Conor never missed a day.
In the winter he hacked a hole in the ice big enough to jump through, according to The Associated Press. It was not always a smooth operation. O’Conor said after one jump in the icy water, he found 20 scrapes and cuts on his body, the AP reported.
A big music fan, O’Conor’s daily jumps have raised money for venues hit hard during the pandemic.
”I’m a big fan of live music and just wanted to support the local venues so I partnered up with Civl Chicago, the Chicago Independent Venue League, and just all these small venues that really have been affected by COVID,” O’Conor told WLS. “They were the first to close and they’ll be the last to reopen. And so, I thought it was important to give back to the community that has given me so much joy over the years. So I teamed with them and people started donating right away.”
Now that he is fully vaccinated, O’Conor said he is restless and eager to travel.
“I’ll still come out for a jump in the lake, but not every day,” O’Conor told the Tribune.
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