For one 17-year-old it was a special afternoon.

Anderson Combs was among the 52 young men who dove into Spring Bayou Wednesday during the 110th Epiphany celebration in Tarpon Springs.

It only took Combs about 15 seconds to capture the cross, which was blessed by a visiting Archbishop and thrown into the bayou waters.

He was greeted once he came out of the cold water with warm towels, then was hoisted and carried to St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church.

"When I first got in, it was a little cold, but once I realized all my brothers were with me, it was a happy moment to be there and I instantly warmed up," he said.

Combs lives in Hudson and attends St. George Greek Orthodox Church in New Port Richey.

"I was caught off guard because the boat jumped back," he said. "Once he actually ended up throwing the cross in, I was in the water by the time it hit the water. As I swam over, I could see where the wrinkles were coming from.

"Then after that, I dove down and nobody found it, and I came up and made sure nobody found it, took a deep breath, went under some people, kicked around and I saw a little bit of white and I grabbed it and I came up with the cross."

This was Combs' second time diving for the cross.

Thousands of people came to Tarpon Springs for the event, which is the largest Epiphany event in the Western Hemisphere.

"It was a beautiful scene," visitor John Mitchell said. "We are from Chicago, we're Greek and this is the first time we had an opportunity to come down to see the Epiphany."

"It's nice to see all these young men, like I said, and all these people that come to start their new year like this to see something religious, because sometimes in the world today people are shunning that and it's nice to see," Marilyn Mitchell said.

According to tradition, whoever recovers the cross is said to be blessed for a full year.