Utah Open Water Calendar

I have been getting a lot of email from people who want to get together for open water swims. I have been doing my best to post here, on the Facebook page, and send emails to everyone on my list about groups getting together to swim...but I thought putting everything on a calendar might work better.

In order for this to be successful, I need you to let me know about any open water group swims, or even if you are just planning on going for a swim and want some company. Please send me an email and let me know the details so that I can include it on the calendar.

Although there isn't much on it right now, take a look what's coming up on the Utah Open Water Calendar.

I've also added a "Calendar" button at the top of the page for convenience.


Swimming at Bountiful Lake

After hearing a bunch of people talk about open water swimming at Bountiful Lake, I finally decided to try it out this morning. I met my brother, Jake, and Gordon Gridley at the lake just after 6:00am. The water at Bountiful Lake was surprisingly warm, about 78 degrees, and I would recommend that you not wear a wetsuit when swimming here at this time of the year.

I have heard a few comments about the lake from other people online. Some said that there were too many fishers, that the water was dirty, and some expressed concerns about the lake being so close to the sewer treatment plant. That's why I was a little surprised when I got there. The area was well maintained and clean and there were even bathrooms near where we started. The water tasted a little like dirt, but after the first lap I didn't even notice. There were a few fishers, but they showed up after we had already swam one lap and they were mostly all near the boat ramp. Visibility was pretty typical of most open water venues that I have been to in the state: slightly murky with visibility of about 2 to 3 feet.

The lake is just over one mile in circumference, which makes it easy to figure out how far you have gone. We swam one lap with Gordon out in front and my brother and I trying to keep up. The first lap went well and by the end of the lap I was beginning to feel warmed up and ready for a couple more. Jake got out at this point, having just done a swim work out at the rec center the night before.

Gordon and I swam two more laps. He was nice enough to stop at a few places and let me catch up to him. Apart from the sun coming up and blinding us in a few spots, it was a nice swim. I had my GPS in my cap and it said that we swam 3.31 miles in three laps. Below is a map of our route:

We had such a good time that we are planning on swimming here on Wednesday mornings at 6:00 am. If anyone is interested in joining us, you are more than welcome. At that time of the morning there is little traffic from Salt Lake and it took me about 30 minutes to drive there from Sugarhouse. Another bonus is that there is no fee to swim...just park your car and get in.


Utah Swim Shops

Looking for swimming suits, wetsuits, goggles, etc. and want to support local businesses? Here are some of the local swim shops in Utah.

Poco Loco

67 North Main
(435) 753-6178

1774 North University Parkway
(801) 375-3987

Pool n Patio

2171 E 3300 S
Salt Lake City
(801) 485-5550

583 East 7200 South
(801) 748-0588

40 West 500 South

Salt Lake Running and Multisport
700 East 2454 South
Salt Lake City
(801) 484-9144

1356 South Foothill Drive
Salt Lake City
(801) 582-1919

1132 East Draper Parkway (12300 S.)
(801) 676-0844

Wasatch Running Center
8946 South State Street (northwest corner)
(801) 566-U-RUN (8786)

SBR Sports

149 West 400 North
(801) 225-0076

Elite Trisport

665 West State Street
Pleasant Grove
(801) 785-0506

If you know of any other Utah swim shops that are not on this list, please leave a comment or send me an email at joshuakgreen@gmail.com.


Upcoming Group Swims - July 25th and August 8th

For those interested in participating in group open water swims, here are a couple to watch for:

July 25th @ Pineview Reservoir
Gordon Gridley is planning a 10K swim at Pineview reservoir. For more information, please visit his blog.

August 8th @ Jordanelle Reservoir
Details have not been solidified, but the swim will take place in the morning most likely on the Rock Creek side of the reservoir. Check back or join our Facebook Group for updates.

To quickly check for upcoming group swims, I've added a link at the top of the page called "Group Swims"

More Info On John Quackenbush And His Bear Lake Swm

Thanks to Gordon Gridley, I was able to get a hold of John Quackenbush and find out some more information about him and his 19-20 mile swim across Bear Lake on August 9th. Here is a brief email from John:
On August 9th I will attempt to swim the entire length of Bear Lake as a little fundraiser for No More Homeless Pets of Utah. ( http://www.utahpets.org/nmhcms/ ). The swim is 19 or 20 miles depending on the water level. It’s not a race and I will swim it solo except for a support boat. Actually the locals say the width had been done on several occasions, but no one had ever gone the length. I feel you can never train enough for something like this, but I have swam 10 miles in 5 hours for at least one day per week for the past two months in addition to literally hundreds of bulk miles. Anyway you can read about it on the No More Homeless Pets web site and there are various articles on the web like http://www.utahopenwater.com/. I will start at North Shore St Park in Idaho and finish in Rendezvous Beach. I will cover all expenses for the swim myself and every penny donated will go directly No More Homeless Pets of Utah. Any donations will be greatly appreciated.

I've had a few email conversations with John over the past couple weeks. Here is some history and information taken from some of those conversations.


I began open water swimming over 30 years ago in the lakes of Upstate New York. It was so fun to look down and see the three dimensional world below. I remember swimming the length of my first lake when I was 12 years old. It was only about a mile but the sense of excitement for reaching the distant shore was something I will never forget.

In college during the Summers, I worked in Lake George Village and swam every day at the South end of the lake. I built up to doing a 7 mile swim by the end of the first year and then swam from Tichonderoga to Dome Island which is about 24 miles the following year. This swim was 22 years ago.

I got my first pool pass when I was in College. Swimming laps was very foreign to be for most of my life. Now I have made the transition and I actually like swimming in a pool.
There were many of us doing long swims back then, but everyone was pretty low key so we never really knew each other. Competition seemed to go against the tranquility of swimming in such beautiful settings too.

Bear Lake

I decided to swim the length of Bear Lake about two years ago for many reasons :
1-It is very beautiful and therefore a great place to spend some time
2- it is challenging to swim that distance in water that cool at that elevation with the sun pounding down for the entire time

3-that I know of it has never been done, but it's such an obvious landmark that it is only a matter of time for someone to do it.


Two years ago I got a pass to a nearby pool and started swimming laps. I did one mile and then two miles and I kept on bumping up the mileage until I got to nine miles. For the past four weeks I have gone 8,9,8.9 mi on Fridays. I take this day off of work to do these distances.

I have been acclimating to the cold by taking only cold showers and swimming in a pool in my yard on a tether. I began doing this when the water was 57 degrees. I would either workout on the tether or just swim around in the pool in the cold water to get used to these temperatures. It sounds painful and strange I know, but once you get used to cold water it is so invigorating and great for your health. I now can not stand hot showers- its uncomfortable.

For more information about John's fundraiser swim and to make a donation to No More Homeless Pets, please visit their website:


John will be swimming swimming a 10K at Pineview Reservoir on July 25th with Gordon Gridley and others. Gordon has invited anyone who wants to participate to join them. More information can be found on his blog at:



Group Swim - July 18th - Deer Creek Reservoir

I know this is kind of short notice...but I will be swimming at Deer Creek reservoir this Saturday morning around 8:30 or 9:00am. If anyone wants to join me you are more than welcome. I'm planning on swimming in Walsburg Bay (where the Deer Creek marathon swim will be). You can park at the South Marina and walk down to the boat ramp. Not sure, what the fee is for day use, but it's probably around 5 bucks. The DNR website says the water is in the 60's.

There is an awesome Mexican restaurant in Midway if anyone is interested in getting something to eat afterwards.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at joshuakgreen@gmail.com or leave a comment below.


A Lesson on Hypothermia

On a recent camping trip to Idaho, I couldn't resist the temptation to swim in the crystal clear waters of Red Fish Lake. I didn't have a thermometer to check the temperature, but I can tell you that it was cold. My guess is that it was around 60 degrees. I had ordered a new wetsuit and wetsuit cap for my Alcatraz swim this summer, but at the time of our camping trip I had only received the cap.

On the first day of our trip, I eased into the cold water and swam laps between two buoys near the shore. I swam about 750 meters before getting out to play on the beach with my family. I wore my neoprene cap and felt pretty good despite the cold water. I was cold when I got out and it took about a half an hour to warm back up.

The next day I decided I wanted to get in a longer swim. As my swim wore on, I kept feeling shivers of cold throughout my body and thought that maybe I should get out. Being the stubborn person that I am and wanting to prove how "tough" I was to family members on the trip who are training for an Ironman, I kept going. Finally, after about an hour in the water with no wetsuit I decided that it was time to get out.

After getting out of the water, I could not stop shivering. Eventually I had to go back to our tent and lay in a sleeping bag while my wife went to the lodge to get me a hot cocoa. It was the weirdest sensation to be wrapped up in a sleeping bag inside a tent that had felt like a sauna the day before, and to still not be able to get warm. It ended up taking me 2 hours to warm back up.

In hindsight, I should have been a little more cautious. I should have got out of the water a lot sooner or at least kept a warm drink on shore to warm me up every once in a while.

I hope that you will learn something from my experience and be very careful when swimming in cold water.

The following table comes from "Open Water Swimming" by Penny Lee Dean and lays out some of the signs of the three different degrees of hypothermia:



Body Temperature

Bodily Signs


95-98 degrees

Conscious, shivering, blue skin


90-95 degrees

Conscious, severe shivering, difficulty speaking, trouble answering questions, eyes dilated, gray skin


85-90 degrees

May be unconscious; grayish white skin; no understanding of questions; trouble recognizing friends; no shivering-rigid

For tips on how to stay warm in cold water, see the following post: Swimming in Cold Water.