Golden

Goldenites enjoy a silly swim for health and holidays

Informal swim group celebrates 12 Days of Gain — and friendship

Posted 12/20/16

Events on the last day of the 12 Days of Gain might be a bit silly or irreverent, but the group of Goldenites who get together at 5:30 in the morning to swim say it’s all about the fun.

“The camaraderie keeps us motivated, laughing and …

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Golden

Goldenites enjoy a silly swim for health and holidays

Informal swim group celebrates 12 Days of Gain — and friendship

Posted

Events on the last day of the 12 Days of Gain might be a bit silly or irreverent, but the group of Goldenites who get together at 5:30 in the morning to swim say it’s all about the fun.

“The camaraderie keeps us motivated, laughing and enjoying the holiday season,” said Brian Reed of Golden, one of the founders of the group.

The group is not a formal club and there are no membership requirements, Reed explained. “We’re just a bunch of friends who swim together.”

Nor is it competitive in a serious way, but they do challenge each other — and they are dedicated.

Throughout the year, the swimmers meet at 5:30 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at the pool at the Golden Community Center. Anybody, no matter how well a person swims, is welcome to join on a drop-in basis.

The best part is being engaged with the community, said Jerry Orten, 60, who has enjoyed swimming since he was 5.

Sometimes the group will see people doing laps on their own, Orten said, so somebody will go over and ask that person if he or she would like to join them.

“And often they do,” he said. “That is also representative of Golden — it’s really inclusive.”

Swimmer Laura Borgelt agrees.

Somebody may start off as a stranger, she said, but not necessarily end as a stranger.

“A person you don’t know,” Borgelt said, “and by the end, they’re your friend.”

The group started with only six or seven people, Reed said, and this year — its seventh year — about 30 are participating in the 12 Days of Gain.

The 12 Days of Gain is something the group does annually during the holiday season.

“The appeal is that this is the time of the year that we’re indulging a bit more,” said Reed, who formerly coached the Golden Marlins, a youth swim team for youngsters in Golden and neighboring Jefferson County communities.

This year, the 12 Days of Gain went from Dec. 5 to Dec. 16. The goal is for each swimmer to swim 3,000 meters each day, totaling 36,000 meters in 12 days. This year, they challenged themselves even more — in addition to swimming, each person also did push-ups as part of the workout.

But on the last day, they celebrate. They drink coffee, juice and enjoy other morning refreshments, and participate in silly competitions or games.

One example of a competition they may do on the 12 day is a relay race, in which participants swim the length of the pool, get out, do 20 jump ropes, eat a doughnut then jump in the pool and swim back. Prizes range from holiday socks or slippers to candy.

“We just have a fun time,” Reed said.

The group special orders swimsuits with fun prints and give each other nicknames. A married couple is Man-hammer and Tool Box, a woman whose favorite beer is Coors Light is the Silver Bullet and Borgelt is Shorty because she is 6 feet tall.

And they are a diverse group: There are husbands and wives, a father and daughter, scientists from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, accountants, doctors, lawyers and students. There’s even a triathlete in the mix, and Borgelt is one of the top 20 women to swim the English Channel.

“There are all kinds of different motives for everybody to be there,” Reed said. “But it doesn’t matter — we’re all there to have fun.”

12 Days of Gain , Golden Community Center, Golden Colorado, swimming, Christy Steadman

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