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Diving in: Hansen completes 50 lakes in 50 days

Jane Hansen finishes swimming her final lake Friday when she swam Whipple lake i1 / 2
Jane Hansen (left) gets a hug from Margie Schaefer, who kayaked alongside Hansen2 / 2

Most Minnesotan’s summers are filled with taking a dip into any of the state’s 10,000 lakes. With all the options available, odds are people happen across a different lake or two throughout the warm months, but it’s rare that number would reach 50.

Not for YMCA aquatics coordinator, Jane Hansen. She can cross off 50 of them in 50 days.

Hansen completed her goal of swimming 50 lakes in 50 days on Friday, hitting the water at Whipple Beach at 5:30 p.m., in an effort to raise money for the YMCA’s aquatics program.

“It has been so much fun,” said Hansen, who set out to raise $12,400 and achieved more than $11,000 of it through her summer swim. “I’m actually really sad it’s coming to an end. We had so many people and so much support through this all.

“It’s truly been a really fun adventure.”

A mission she set out on June 29 to commemorate the Brainerd Lakes YMCA’s 50th anniversary, Hansen was joined by her friend and YMCA member, Margaret Schaefer, who kayaked alongside her rain or shine.

“It was really the perfect summer for this adventure,” said Hansen. “It was hot and perfect for swimming. The water was nice and warm and we never once got stormed out.”

Hansen said she was also able to avoid swimmers itch and was on the look out after reports of recent otter attacks in lakes around the state.

What she wasn’t able to avoid, however, was the overwhelming support shown for her and Schaefer’s fundraiser.

“We’ve raised over $11,000, so we are very close to our huge goal (of $12,400),” she said. “That is just amazing. As far as I know, no one’s done anything like this, so I didn’t really know what to expect. But we’re (Hansen and Schaefer) so excited to have gotten that close and complete all that we have.”

So what is Hansen going to do to expand on her swimming expedition next summer?

“There is definitely going to have to be another adventure,” she said. “Now it’s just figuring out what that will be. We’re looking for something new to try until we run out of ideas.”

JESSI PIERCE, staff writer, may be reached at 855-5859 or Follow her on Twitter at (@jessi_pierce).