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For Glen Lake Swimmers, 12/12/12 is perfect day for dip

GOFFSTOWN - Betty Dobbins celebrated her birthday with friends Wednesday but opted out of the traditional cake and ice cream.

Instead, the 46-year-old donned a wet suit and jumped into the frigid waters of Glen Lake to mark 12/12/12, the last month in this century that will have the month, day and year the same number.

The group of triathletes, loosely known as the Glen Lake Swimmers, meets regularly to train on the lake, and did their first celebratory swim on 9/9/09.

They've done it each year on the triple-digit date ever since, said Dobbins' friend Jane Papageorge of Francestown, who tries to swim at the lake as late into the cool weather as she can.

"I love being in the water outside; I hate swimming in the pool," Papageorge said.

Those arriving at the swim had different stories about how they got involved in it.

Gustavo Garcia-Cota of Manchester just joined the group over the summer, and had never done the annual swim before.

Garcia-Cota works with Pete Doyon, who thought the swim was a great idea and decided to go along to be supportive.

"This is the last one for the next 80 years," he said. "I wanted to be a part of it."

A group talking at a Patriots game a couple of weeks back also decided to join in.

"A bunch of crazy people invited me," said Deb Liebel. "About 8 people committed, but only two showed up."

Lynda Lubelczyk, who just returned from a trip to New Zealand to participate in the World Triatholon Championship - which she won - has been friends with Dobbins for many years.

"Betty and I have been training for a long while - I've known her forever," she said.

Lubelczyk said this year's swim started as sort of a joke, but the group decided to see it through.

The temperature outside was below 40 degrees, but Dan King of Goffstown said the weather could have been much worse.

"This is actually a good day," he said.

While most other swimmers made just a brief appearance, Papageorge stayed in the lake a little longer - twelve minutes, of course.

Dobbins was presented with a gift and a card, signed by the whole group.

After the swim, Papageorge was off to help celebrate the rest of Dobbins' birthday with her, not with hot chocolate by a fireplace, but by boogie boarding at Rye Beach, which the two try to do once a month.

"I'm not sure what the surf will be like, but we'll find out," she said.

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Kathy Remillard may be reached at kremillard@newstote.com.


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