4 x Buoy Line, Negative Split

I met Goody at Jordanelle this morning at 5am.  Jill and Tim showed up a little bit later when we were already in the water.

I've been thinking a lot about more effective open water training swims, and decided that I would swim 4 loops of a shorter course and try to negative split each one, rather than swim straight for two hours.

The loops I swam started at the green buoy and went east to the end of the buoy line and back.  My GPS accidentally reset when I was trying to measure how long one loop was.  I'll take that measurement next time I'm up there.

The first loop I swam easy to get warmed up, and then tried to get progressively faster with each of the three remaining loops.  Here are the results:

Loop 1 - 24:02
Loop 2 - 23:32
Loop 3 - 22:15
Loop 4 - 21:16

Between laps 2 and 3, I swam in to the dock and got a drink.  I was happy to make each lap just a little faster than the one before.  It was a nice workout and felt more productive than just swimming straight.

I talked to Goody for a bit after I had finished my last lap.  He's got his Lake Tahoe crossing coming up and is training hard for it.

I've got a post in the works with some ideas for making open water workout swims more productive.  I'll be posting that soon.  I was thinking today, it would be cool to post some open water workouts the day before we go up for a group swim so that anyone who showed up could follow it.  I could probably even print it out and post it on one of the buoys.  That way, open water group swims would have more of a focus and be more similar to a Masters workout.

I'm planning to go back up on Wednesday at 5:00am if anyone wants to join me.


2 x 1.95 Mile Swims, Negative Split

This morning I woke up a lot earlier than normal to get to Jordanelle by 5am.  I wanted to do a longer swim today, and had to be done by 7:30.

When I pulled in, Jim had just parked.  Goody, Ashley and Chaz were right behind him.  It was a pretty good little group for that early in the morning!

My goal today was to swim 3-4 miles.  The water felt great!  When I looked at my watch later, it said 73.5 degrees.  It was very comfortable.

It was hard to see the buoys on the first lap.  I had lost track counting them and had to stop at each one towards the end to see if I was at the last one.  From there I swam out the peninsula and then back the way I came to the opposite end of the buoys.  I saw Tim along the way and said "hi".  I was kind of dragging towards the end and thought about just calling it good.  I decided this was a mental training day and I was going to stick it out.  I swam in to the ramp and got a drink.  I finished my first lap in 1:04.

I saw Goody on my way back out.  He wasn't having a great day either and said his arms were tired.  I think he ended up calling it good at that point because I didn't see him again and his car was gone when I left.  There was a bit of chop on the way out on the second loop, but nothing too bad.  By the time I got the end of the peninsula, it was back to being pretty calm.

Sometimes I get stuck in the trap of just picking an easy pace and plugging along until I hit my target distance.  It's fine to do this once in a while, but if you are looking to increase your speed, you need to be doing intervals and doing more than just swimming at an easy pace for miles.  I think I'll do another post on how to make your open water training swims more effective, stay tuned.  Anyway, I decided I would push the second loop and see if I could negative split the first loop.  It was a good thing I took a drink at the ramp at the end of the first loop, because it started kicking in and I was feeling pretty good again.  I saw Tim again and stopped briefly to say "hi" again.  I wasn't sprinting on the second loop, but I was pushing myself at a faster pace.  I had counted my strokes between buoys on the first lap and my stroke rate was higher on the second loop.

When I swam into the boat ramp for the second time, I stopped my watch at 59 minutes.  Nice!

I reset my GPS between each loop because I wanted to measure how far one loop was.  Each L-shaped loop ended up being about 1.95 miles.

Here are the maps and data for each loop:

Loop 1 - 1.95 miles - average speed: 1.79 mph

Loop 2 - 1.95 miles - average speed: 1.97 mph

I'm glad I decided to keep going this morning. It felt great to push through my negative thoughts and then to negative split the second loop.


Warming Up at Jordanelle

What a great morning for a swim!

I met Jill and Tim at the PWC ramp at Jordanelle at 5:30am this morning.  Chad, Goody, and Gordon started their swim about an hour and a half earlier and were nowhere to be seen when I got there.

When I got in the water, it felt warmer than it did last week when I was there.  Sure enough, when I checked the thermometer on my watch, it was 73.5 degrees.  It was about 68 last week.

I headed west to the end of the buoy line and then turned around and went east to the end of the buoys.  I was expecting to see Gordon, Goody and Chad along the way, but I never did.  At the end of the buoys, I turned to swim towards the three buoys marking the end of the peninsula.  I saw Tim along the way and said "hi" before continuing on.

I headed back the way I came and when I was getting close to the ramp, I though I heard someone yelling my name.  I had earplugs in so I couldn't hear very well.  A minute or so later, Goody pulled up along beside me in his kayak.  Turns out they had done a big loop out to the dam, to Rock Cliff, and back and were just finishing up.  I swam each again, back to the last buoy so that I could swim back in with Chad and Gordon.

By the time I made the turn, Gordon and Chad were a little ways ahead of me and I decided to push it and see if I could catch them.  I caught up to Chad after a while and gave his Swimmer Buddy a tug.  I pushed it again to see if I could catch Gordon, who was a little ways ahead.  I caught up to him and settled back into an easy stroke to the red buoy.

I was shooting for 5K today, but didn't finish the second loop.  I'd rather swim with my friends than get a little more distance.  I finished up at 2.43 miles for the day.  Here's the link to the data.

It would be nice to swim with these guys for a longer swim once a week.  Maybe we could alternate who paddles and who swims each week.  I could get up that early once a week.

I think next time I go up, I'm going to start at 5am so I can get in some longer swims.


Last Swim at GSL for a Couple Months

Chad Starks starting his 1-mile swim at the GSL.
This morning I met Chad to the Great Salt Lake to time him swimming the 1 mile course so that he can complete the Mini Triple Crown this year.

It's that time of year when there are a LOT of flies near the shore.  There are also starting to be a lot of spiders.  They aren't very big yet, but soon the whole place will be crawling with big ones.

We started Chad's time and he took off.  It was nice to be the only person on the beach and watch Chad and the sunrise.  He was shooting for under 30 minutes and ended up at 28:07.58, which he was happy with.  The course is actually a little longer than a mile, so his true 1 mile time would have been a bit faster.

After Chad finished at the boat ramp, we walked back down to Silver Sands and got back in the water.  I was planning to just swim the line or red buoys, but at the east end, Chad said he was just going to go in.  I had been alternating swimming hard and easy every other buoy, but it was so warm (around 84 degrees!) that I decided to just cut it short and go in with Chad.

On the way back I saw something that looked like a quarter on the bottom of the lake.  As I've mentioned before, it's really uncommon to see anything other than sand and rocks on the bottom, so I dove down to see what it was.  To my surprise, it was a golf ball!  I picked it up and put it in my bag.  I needed another golf ball to put in the nesting boxes so our chickens learn where to lay their eggs.

I took the rest of the swim easy and just soaked it in, knowing that this would be my last swim here for a couple months.  Ended up at just under a mile.


I Wish Every Swim Felt Like Today

Chad texted me last night to see if I wanted to swim with him at GSL this morning.  I couldn't pass up a swim, so I told him I'd meet him at 5am.

I got there a bit early and the gate was still closed. It opened right at 5am and I drove in and got ready to go.  Chad told me he was going to be a bit late so I jumped in and swam around the buoys a couple times until he got there.  While I was swimming and waiting for Chad, I was thinking about how cool it was that I was likely the only person swimming in that huge lake at that time.  I had it all to myself.

The water is still extremely clear and it's fun to be able to look down and see the bottom most of the way.  The downside of swimming right now is that there are a lot of brine flies on the surface of the water.  I'm probably done swimming her until September when the flies thin out.

When Chad got there, we decided to swim the "big triangle" and then see how we were doing on time.  The water was warm (I didn't take a temperature) and glassy.  The only ripples I saw on the whole lake were from Chad and I swimming.  I was swimming easy, but felt like I was flying.  That's the difference between the Great Salt Lake and freshwater lakes.  Swimming at Jordanelle yesterday was hard and I felt like I was sinking.  I realized today it was because I've gotten used to swimming in the GSL where I am more buoyant.  Today was effortless.  Just gliding along watching the rocks and sand pass by underneath me, looking at the rising sun as I took a breath.  It was amazing.  I wish every swim felt like today.

At the northern-most green buoy I stopped to look for Chad and saw him already swimming back toward the marina.  I tried to catch up to him, only to have him change direction and swim back to the red buoy.  I guess he was having trouble seeing with his goggles and missed the buoy.

We stopped to float and chat for a while about bees, chickens, Bear Lake, training, and goggles.  On the way back to the marina opening, I happened to see a bottle on the bottom of the lake.  It's really unusual to see trash that far out in the lake, so I stopped to try do dive down and pick it up.  Unfortunately, it was cemented into the sand and I couldn't get it out.

At the buoys near the marina entrance, I stopped again to wait for Chad.  I was looking at the rope attached to the red buoy and decided to try to find out how it was anchored.  I dove down and followed the rope for probably 20 feet and found where it connected to a chain.  There must be some concrete or something down there that it's attached to.

It was getting late and I picked up the pace to swim back to shore.  As we were rising off, Becca Stone was just getting out of her car.  Becca helped us with support paddlers for our first couple Great Salt Lake Open Water Swims.  She has been out of the state for three years and just happened to be in town and was at the GSL to do some paddling.  I helped her take her SUP down to the boat ramp.  What are the odds that we would run into each other on the one day she was in town?

Here's the route we swam this morning.  The "big triangle" plus a few laps around the buoys near the marina.

I was hoping to get 3 miles in this morning and ended up at 3.23. Nice!  This may be my last swim out here for a while until the flies thin out in September.


First Swim of the Year at Jordanelle

Snapped this photo after my swim this morning. What an awesome state we live in!
Goody has been bugging me to go up to Jordanelle for a week or so.  This morning, I decided to go up and check it out and see what the water temp was.

I got there a little later than planned and saw that Goody and his neighbor were in the water.  I dropped my thermometer and headed out to the first buoy.  The water was "not as warm as I would have liked" (I'm trying to rid my swimming vocabulary of the word "cold") when I got in.  I swam out to the first buoy and waited for Goody and his friend to meet me.

After a brief introduction, we all headed east along the buoys.  At the end of the buoys, I turned around and headed back.  It took me a while to get comfortable in the water.  All of my open water swims this year have been in water warmer than it was this morning.  The temp on my watch was around 67.5 degrees.

The water level is much higher this year than it was last year and the buoys seem to have moved a little bit.  It took me a while, weaving through the boats at the west end, to find the last buoy.

After one lap, I swam in with Goody and his friend to take a picture and get a drink before heading out for another lap.

The one thing that sucks about swimming at Jordanelle in the morning is that you have to swim into the sun when it comes up over the mountain.  It makes it really hard to see the buoys, even with tinted goggles.

At the east end of the buoy line, I decided to head south to another set of buoys at the end of the little peninsula.  Looking at my watch on the way back, I knew I wasn't going to have time to make a full second lap, so I headed in.  Looking at my GPS when I got home, I swam exactly 5K, which is the distance I was shooting for.

Here is the route I swam.

All in all, it was a great morning and I'm looking forward to getting up there a couple times a week.  I need to start recruiting others to come up and swim.


Results From the Free SLOW Race @ Bountiful Lake

Most of the swimmers waiting for the start of the race.
Yesterday afternoon we organized a "race" (actually a timed group swim) at Bountiful Lake.  The course followed this route, for a total of 0.7 miles.

There was a pretty good turnout with 15 swimmers, mostly from South Davis Masters.

Getting ready to swim!
I had a goal to beat the men's record of 17:02 that was set by Gordon Gridley last year.  We actually had everyone guess their finish time to see who could come the closest.  I guessed I could do 16:50.

The water was really warm (82 degrees) which isn't in my favor for trying to swim fast.  The warm water feels like it sucks the energy out of me.  I didn't have a chance to get in and warm up first, which would have been nice.

I ended up on the far right edge of the group at the start and ran into the sandbar and had to fight my way back into deeper water.  Someone grabbed my ankle and I figured it must have been Chad messing around.  I usually grab onto his safety float and give it a tug when we swim together.  I later found out it was Jason Coyle.

My arms felt tight, probably due to swimming at the GSL that morning and not warming up, but I kept plugging away.  I think I swam a pretty straight course.  There were a couple spots around the second island where I started getting too close and it got shallow, but other than that, I think I did a good job of not swimming more than I had to.

At the second island I caught up to Jeremy Clark and passed him on the inside.  He was smart and drafted on my the rest of the way in.  I'm not super competitive, but I didn't want him to draft on me and pass me right at the end.  When we got closer to the ramp, I picked up the pace a bit and hoped that he wouldn't pass me.

I gave it a good effort, but didn't quite make my goal.  I finished in 17:19.  Joe and Jason were way ahead of me and both of them ended up beating the men's record.  I was a little disappointed at my time, but it's a huge improvement over the last time I swam the course for time in 2011 when I got a time of 18:49.

I think we are going to plan on doing this again in October when the water is cooler.

Here are the full results: