BAM Open Water Swim Clinic

TriHive and The Battle at Midway Triathlon (BAM) are sponsoring an open water swim clinic and BAM Tri Pre-Race Training Day. For those of you who may be a little worried about open water swimming, this would be a great opportunity to try it out in a non-race environment. For those seasoned open water swimmers it would be a great opportunity to refine your skills and get in a training swim. Best of all, the clinic is FREE!

For more information, visit The Battle at Midway Triathlon or TriHive Magazine.

Open Water Swim: Deer Creek Reservoir’s Island Bay
Bike & Run: Soldier Hollow Legacy Park

WHEN: Saturday, May 23rd, 2009 – 8AM-12:30PM

COST: The clinic is FREE of charge, you will be required to pay the Utah State Park Deer Creek Island Bay Day Use fee which is $10 per vehicle. There is no entrance fee for Soldier Hollow.

RSVP to gelder@trihive.com

8-8:15: Welcome and gathering of group
8:15-8:30AM: Dry-land Instruction and splitting into groups based on experience levels
8:30-9:15AM: Swim instruction in water. Groups will go varying distances based on their experience level (newbies to experienced swimmers welcome)!
9:15-9:30AM: Exit of lake, dry off, change into bike clothes
9:30-9:45AM: Drive to Soldier Hollow Legacy Park where group will depart for a ride of the BAM bike course (22 miles). Ride will be shorter than the true BAM bike course since we will start the ride from Soldier Hollow, will be about 19 miles total)
9:45-10AM: Prep of bikes and bike gear and split into 2-3 different groups based on speed and desired ride distance.
10-11:15AM: Riding of BAM Bike Course
11:15-11:30AM: Arrive back at Soldier Hollow & change into run gear
11:30AM-12:30PM: Running of BAM Run Course (Full – 10K or Lite – 5K). We will split into several groups based on speed and desired distance.
12:30-1:30PM: TRIHIVE Roundtable Prize Raffle

From Salt Lake City: Take I-80 East to Silver Creek Junction (exit 146). Go east on U.S. 40 past Jordanelle Reservoir toward Heber City until you come to the edge of town, turn west
onto Highway 189 and follow 189 to the Island Bay (northern most marina on Deer Creek). Deer Creek is located 10 miles south of Heber.
From Park City: Take State Road 248 East to U.S. 40 to Heber City and then follow above directions to Island Bay.
From Provo/Orem: Take the Orem 8th north exit to US 189 drive east through Provo Canyon until you reach Island Bay.


Open Water Swimming Clinic

US Trisports, a new race management company in Utah, is sponsoring an open water swimming clinic on May 16, 2009 at Stansbury Lake just north of Tooele. The clinic is sponsored by US Trisports and facilitated by the University of Utah Exercises and Sports Science Department USAT Certified Triathlon Coaches. Information is limited at the moment, but check the US Trisports website for updates. I will try to post updates here as they become available.

I am looking forward to the upcoming Stansbury Park Tri at Stansbury Lake and am excited to try out a new open water venue.


Current Water Conditions at Utah State Parks

With the weather warming up recently I've been itching to get in some open water swims. Unfortunately water temperatures are not warming up as fast as air temperatures. The Department of Natural Resources has a great website where you can look up current water temperatures at all of Utah's state parks. Click here to visit their website.


Utah Open Water on Facebook

I was late getting on the Facebook bandwagon, but I use it all the time now. One of the features that I like most is the ability to create and join groups and link up with people who are interested in the same things. I just recently created a Utah Open Water group. If you are on Facebook, click here to join the group. The current discussion is about your favorite places to swim in Utah. So join the group, write something on the wall, post pictures of your swims and races, and join the discussions.

How to Use GPS to Measure Distance, Speed and "Straightness" of Open Water Swims

Open water swimming has many additional challenges that pool swimming does not. One of those challenges is not knowing how far your have gone. In pool swimming it is easy to count the number of laps and multiply it by 25 yards or 50 meters. In open water swimming often you do not know the distances that you are swimming unless it has already been marked out for you by the race director.

Here are some tips that I have come up with to help figure out how far your swims are.

The first thing I do is look at the body of water where I am going to be swimming on Google Earth or Google Maps. I zoom in to the exact area that I will be swimming and try to map out a swim, looking for landmarks near the shore that I can use to figure out where I am and where to turn around when I am in the water. I look at the scale in the bottom left hand corner of the screen and use it to estimate the distance of the swim. This method is not always accurate as water levels are always changing and may be higher or lower than the current photos on Google Earth, but it is a good place to start.

About a year ago my wife bought me a Garmin Forerunner 305 for Christmas. It is a great tool for running and cycling because you can measure your speed, distance, and you can upload the data to MotionBased and see your run/ride on an areal map. I was always curious of how, and if, it would work for open water swimming. After some searching I found this article and this video on YouTube.

I prefer the method outlined in the article because I do not like having something hanging around my neck while I swim. Before a swim I will turn on the Forerunner (after making sure that it is fully charged) and get it ready so that all I have to do it press "start". I generally wear two caps and put the Forerunner in a Ziplock bag between the two caps. I position the GPS device on the back of my head so that I get the best possible satellite signal. Once I am in the water, all I have to do is start and stop the data collection.

The fun part is getting home and uploading the data to MotionBased. You can see statistics on how far you swam, elevation change, speed, etc. You can also trace exactly where you swam on an aerial map and see how straight you are swimming. It is also fun to search for "Open Water Swimming" and see some of the swims that other people have done.

Here are some images of swims at Jordanelle Reservoir and the Deer Creek Open Water Marathon Swim using the methods described above.

How do you choose where you swim? How do you figure out how far you have gone?


News From The Deer Creek Open Water Marathon Swim

I was surprised to get a letter and a cool window decal last week from Jim Hubbard, the Deer Creek Open Water Marathon Swim race director.

Here's what it said:

Hello Swimmer,

I'm sure you are all anxious for the warm weather to come. Some have been swimming all winter and others are beginning their workouts to prepare for the exciting open water swim. This year has the potential to be bigger and better than the last two years. We are now formally sanctioned by the Utah Masters USMS, Inc. We are very excited to have their support. I am sending out car window decals. This should be a fun way to advertise and spread the word about the swim. Word of mouth will be the most effective way of encouraging others to experience the thrill of open water marathon swimming. I can't wait to see you there!

Jim Hubbard
I have been looking forward to this year's event ever since the end of last year's event. I am hopeful that with the new sanctioning by USMS that there will be even more participants this year.


Swimming in Cold Water

Taking into account our recent winter-like spring weather in Utah, here are 10 useful bits of advice for swimming in cold water from www.10kswimmer.com. Swimming in cold water to me has usually meant putting on a wetsuit and maybe a couple of caps, but this list offers new (to me) and practical advice that I will consider next time I decide to swim in cold water.

1. Use lanolin to help alleviate some of the "sting and shock" of cold water. The lanoline should be firmly pressed into the skin, especially around the neck, under arms, around the torso and upper legs. It is best to apply with rubber gloves and, remember, lanolin is tough to get off.

2. Use tight-fitting silicon ear plugs; an old surfer's trick.

3. Wear 2-3 heavy silicon swim caps - or better yet - a neoprene surfer's cap that completely covers the ears with a strap that goes under the chin.

4. Acclimatize over time where one gradually builds up from a few minutes in the cold water to a few hours. It helps if one gets in twice per day, if possible.

5. Swim as close to shore as possible, even if one has to fight through surf. If not possible, then swim with a kayak, boat, paddleboard escort, or with another swimmer.

6. Use a surfer's rashguard, wetsuit, triathlon speedsuit or technical swimsuit.

7. Drink warm liquids before and immediately after.

8. Jog along the shore, initially with only then feet, then the lower legs and then the upper legs in the water if the water is really too cold to first jump in. Then get your hands wet and splash water on your face and upper body before jumping in.

9. Roll over on your back if you hyperventilate when you first get in. Take deep breaths while you are swimming backstroke. Try to kick strongly, but take smooth long strokes with your arms while you control your hyperventilation. After you can breathe normally, then roll over on your back and start to swim freestyle.

10. Think positively, but always think intelligently. If you are shivering or continue to hyperventilate, get out.

Any other tips you have for cold water swimming?