NEW YORK (AP) – An avid cold-water swimmer who died after a New Year’s Day dive into the frigid Atlantic Ocean was remembered by family and friends Sunday in a beach ceremony.

Mohan Seneviratne, a journalist who worked for Esquire magazine, suffered severe neck injuries after he struck a sandbar with his head while diving with the Coney Island Polar Bear Club. He died at a Brooklyn hospital on Jan. 5.

Seneviratne, 32, was among about 200 people in the annual Polar Bear swim, but he belonged to another cold-water swimming group, the Ice Breakers Winter Ocean Swimmers.

The Ice Breakers’ memorial for him took place at the group’s Brighton Beach location near the boardwalk in subfreezing temperatures.

and was attended by about 20 people. It was led by one of the group’s members, Rabbi Abraham Abraham, who had known him since 2005 and remembered him as an intelligent young man and a humanitarian who was loved by all.

“We lost somebody that was a blessing and could have been a greater blessing to the future,” Abraham said.

Another group member, Bob Stewart, who helped organize the ceremony, said afterward that Seneviratne really loved swimming.

“He was doing what he enjoyed,” Stewart said. “We were there to acknowledge that.”

Seneviratne, the son of Sri Lankan immigrants who live in Avon, Conn., attended Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and worked for Penguin Books and MSNBC before going to Esquire. He lived in Manhattan.

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