But during a trip to Israel last summer, several House Republican freshmen engaged in a late-night swim in the Sea of Galilee, complete with one skinny-dipping congressman whose choice threatened to tarnish the reputation of the House newcomers as superserious number-crunchers who sleep on their office couches and go to bed before midnight. On a trip billed as a foreign policy fact-finding mission last year, a large group of Republican members of Congress, and some of their staff and family members, decided to take a swim in the sea after a long day. Several members — including Representative Steve Southerland II of Florida, who jumped into the water holding hands with his year-old daughter — said they were moved to dip for religious reasons. The sea is believed by Christians to be the location where Jesus walked on water. More than 80 members of the House went on the trip, which was arranged by Mr. While swimming in that sea is inoffensive to Israelis — indeed, there is an annual race in that body of water — Mr.