Emma Friesen, third from left, Taylor Ehrens, center, and Roman Castronova, right, of the South Salem High School Unified Program team, jump into the pool during the 2022 Polar Plunge for Special Olympics Oregon at Illahe Hills Country Club on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Twenty-four teams dressed in colorful costumes or matching t-shirts filled the outdoor pool area at Illahe Hills Country Club on Saturday, waiting for their turn to jump into the pool for Salem's inaugural Polar Plunge event to benefit Special Olympics Oregon.

Fresh off of completing either a 5k or 10k fun run, the teams cheered each other on while waiting their turn to jump, as staff dumped bags of ice into the pool to cool it down.

Organizers originally considered having the event in the Willamette River, similar to other Polar Plunges in the state, but ultimately decided on the pool at Illahe Hills Country Club due to safety concerns. Teams cycled through the pool quickly, jumping in two or three at a time before rushing off to change in tents erected for the event. 

As of Monday morning, the event had raised $43,971, Special Olympics of Oregon development manager Scott Friesen said.

Jack Stempel, of Hood to Coast, dumps bags of ice into the pool during the 2022 Polar Plunge for Special Olympics Oregon at Illahe Hills Country Club on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Members of the DOJ Family and Friends team participate in the 2022 Polar Plunge for Special Olympics Oregon at Illahe Hills Country Club on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022. The plunge, which followed 5K and 10K runs, had 265 people participating on 28 teams between the three events. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Salem Police's Sgt. Jon Hardy, left, and Officers Mitch Mason and Brian Frazzini jump into the pool during the 2022 Polar Plunge for Special Olympics Oregon at Illahe Hills Country Club on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022. The event raised over $42,000 for Special Olympics Oregon. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Members of the Rise Salem team jump into the pool at Illahe Hills Country Club during Salem's first Polar Plunge to benefit Special Olympics Oregon on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Mark Henken, COO of Special Olympics Oregon, jumps into the pool during the inaugural 2022 Polar Plunge for the Salem area to benefit Special Olympics Oregon at Illahe Hills Country Club on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Members of the Woodburn Police Department team jump into the pool during the 2022 Polar Plunge for Special Olympics Oregon at Illahe Hills Country Club on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Ellie Gladow, center, and the rest of Team Illahe jump into the pool during the 2022 Polar Plunge for Special Olympics Oregon at Illahe Hills Country Club on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Participants stand amid ice cubes during the 2022 Polar Plunge for Special Olympics Oregon at Illahe Hills Country Club on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Olivia Buswell, a volunteer lifeguard, jumps into the pool during the 2022 Polar Plunge for Special Olympics Oregon at Illahe Hills Country Club on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

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