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Chicago man jumps into Lake Michigan for 365th straight day

A Chicago bus driver looking for a way to relieve stress during the coronavirus pandemic jumped into Lake Michigan for a 365th straight day on Saturday.

Dan O’Conor said he started jumping into the lake at Montrose Harbor on the city's North Side last year to relieve stress.

“It was during the pandemic, it was during the protest, it was during an election year. ... So it was somewhere where I could come down here and block all that noise out and kind of be totally present with me in the lake, and find some moments of Zen,” said the father of three.

Dan O'Conor, the "Great Lake Jumper," makes his way through a tunnel for his 365th leap into Lake Michigan, Saturday, June 12, 2021, in Chicago's Montrose Point. (AP PhotoShafkat Anowar)

He continued jumping into the lake through the fall before the hard part: Hacking a hole in the ice on the frozen lake that was big enough for him to jump through during the winter. He said when he got home after one such jump, he found about 20 scrapes and cuts on his body.

He was encouraged by the response he got for his undertaking.

“People started asking me what this was benefiting and how they could support — and when I say people, I’m talking strangers online, you know. When I started posting the videos on Twitter and Instagram ... I got more wind in my sails there because people started commenting like, ‘This makes my day, it’s nice to see this," he said.

Dan O'Conor, the "Great Lake Jumper," shares a "High-5" with one of his well-wishers after his 365th leap into Lake Michigan, Saturday, June 12, 2021, in Chicago's Montrose Point. (AP PhotoShafkat Anowar)

Saturday was special because it was the culmination of doing it for a full year.

“I just wanted to celebrate just that drive to dive for 365," O'Conor said.

Dan O'Conor, the "Great Lake Jumper," reacts after making his 365th leap into Lake Michigan, Saturday, June 12, 2021, in Chicago's Montrose Point. (AP PhotoShafkat Anowar)

Dan O'Conor and his wife Margaret O'Conor shares a kiss before heading out for his 365th plunge into Lake Michigan, Saturday, June 12, 2021, at his home in Chicago's Lincoln Park. (AP PhotoShafkat Anowar)

Dan O'Connor finishes spraying a special design reading "Dive 4 365" on a robe before exiting his house for his 365th plunge into Lake Michigan, Saturday, June 12, 2021, in Chicago's Lincoln Park. (AP PhotoShafkat Anowar)

Dan O'Conor stretches his leg due to minor knee pain before his 365th plunge into Lake Michigan, Saturday, June 12, 2021, at his home in Chicago's Lincoln Park. (AP PhotoShafkat Anowar)

Dan O'Connor styles his mustache before exiting his house for his 365th plunge into Lake Michigan, Saturday, June 12, 2021, in Chicago's Lincoln Park. (AP PhotoShafkat Anowar)

Dan O'Connor grabs a bite for his breakfast before exiting his house for his 365th plunge into Lake Michigan, Saturday, June 12, 2021, in Chicago's Lincoln Park. (AP PhotoShafkat Anowar)

Dan O'Conor, the "Great Lake Jumper," performs a can-opener dive on his 363rd leap as he nears his 365th consecutive daily plunge into Lake Michigan, Thursday, June 10, 2021, in Chicago's Montrose Point. (AP PhotoShafkat Anowar)