The lap pool at the Steamboat Springs Health and Recreation Center is a lonely place in the winter.
Usually bustling with swimmers during the summer, the lap pool was a balmy 81 degrees Thursday, which seems warm until it was discovered the air temperature was barely above zero.
"A lot of people think we are crazy," Cole Worsley, 15, said.
Worsley, Cody Poirot, 14, and Erica Gale, 15, are part of Steamboat's new year-round swim club. The trio competes with the Steamboat Springs Swim Team during the summer, but Worsley, Poirot and Gale wanted to get more out of their swimming. Patti Worsley, Cole's mother, decided to help coach them year-round.
"The practices are harder, more intense," Poirot said.
"There is not as much rest," Patti Worsley added.
The freshmen aren't competing for SSST during the winter. The three are registered "unattached" for meets, but that doesn't mean they don't want to swim well.
"We are competitive when we can be," Poirot said.
Poirot, Worsley and Gale swam in the North Jeffco Winter Open from Dec. 2 to 4 in Denver. The winter meet drew more than 2,000 swimmers.
"The meets are bigger than in the summer," Patti Worsley said.
Each Steamboat swimmer posted at least one personal-best time in an event. Cole Worsley had personal bests in five of his six events, including a time of 23.57 seconds in the 50-yard freestyle. The time was good enough to place seventh in the 15-and-older open division. Worsley was the only 15-year-old in the top 16.
"I was surprised how well they did," Patti Worsley said.
Gale swam a personal-best 28.56 in the 15-and-older open division. She swam the backstroke, as well. Cole Worsley participated in the freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly.
Poirot, who joined the SSST during the summer, competed in the 13-14 division, recording personal bests in the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard freestyle. He also swam the 200-yard individual medley.