Deer Creek 2010 - Ideas and Feedback Needed

I sat in on an informal meeting with Jim Hubbard and a few others last night as a sort of "debriefing" for the 2009 Deer Creek swim. There were several ideas kicked around of how the race could be improved and we are seeking input from participants, spectators and paddlers for the 2010 race.

There was some confusion this year with the turnaround marker for the 1 mile swim. We discussed getting, or making, better and more visible buoys to mark the course.

We also discussed the possibility of keeping the course limited to the bay and not having it go out into the open body of the reservoir. Swimmers would swim laps of roughly 2 miles. This would address some logistical and safety issues as the race continues to grow. It is also possible that by limiting the race to the bay, fewer kayaks would be required. This also seems to be a good idea for spectators, as practically the entire course would be visible from the pavilion.

Another idea that was briefly discussed was the idea of having staggered start times. Swimmers doing the longer distances would start first followed by swimmers doing the shorter distances. The idea here was that swimmers would finish closer together, making for a more exciting finish.

Another item discussed was to get a PA system for the pre-race meeting announcements and to announce the finishers.

If you have other suggestions or ideas, please leave a comment so that other people can see it and comment on it. You can also send me an email to Jim Hubbard at jim@wadsco.com or to me at joshuakgreen@gmail.com.

The event website may soon be getting a face lift and a new home. What things would you like to see on the event website?


Gords said...

I like the idea of less kayaks. Especially during the first mile. They are especially useful to help steer swimmers of others coming back from the turnaround point to avoid head on collisions.

I appreciated the cool event sticker earlier in the year. The shirt design this year was boring. Last years were great! Assigning the shirt design, etc to someone each year could help keep it different and creative.

I like the staggered start times, starting with the longest swims and working backwards.

I don't like the idea of doing laps in the bay. The problem with just staying in the bay and doing laps is that it stays really crowded in the bay and the first 3-6 miles of the swim for the 10 milers would be too congested too long, whereas now they only have to really deal with the crowd the first 1.5 - 3 miles.

If the event coordinators asked for about 10-12 volunteer support boats dedicated to the bay, then that would mean the 5K swimmers wouldn't be required to provide their own.

Then for the 10K and 10 Mile swims require a kayak. If the staggered time policy is in place, then the "event provided" support boats who monitor the bay, could support them while they start then the self provided support boats could go directly to the 5K turnaround point. By the time the longer distance swimmers get to that point, they should already be spread out pretty well and not be so congested.

The buoys this year were clearly marked and if they were missed, the individual support boats didn't do a good job. If bigger buoys are accessible great, but for me, they were fine.

A bigger PA system would be easy to do. I have a big amp with a mic that could blast any communication to the swimmers and spectators.

The existing website is pretty good. I can't think of anything that could be improved. It's simple and provides all the necessary information.

One more suggestion... as the race gains more participants each year, and more long distance swimmers extend themselves, how about allowing for a 25K event as well, as long as entrants meet some qualifying standard? I realize you don't want the race to last to or beyond sundown, so you could start that event first, say 6 am, and if they meet the qualifying standard, should keep the 25K to a reasonable time so it doesn't extend into the evening.

Also if we could do a couple more races like in Pineview, and somewhere else, and turned into a three-event per year series that would be very cool! If there is a rainout, at least there would be another local event to look forward too.

Nice job this year though. Keep it up! I'd love to help out if you need volunteers for anything next year.

Craig said...

I also like the idea of less support boats in the bay. But I will have to disagree with the laps. I like the laps in the bay better than an out and back format. I don't like the idea of swimming directly at a group of people. I was the third person to the turnaround for the 5k. After I turned around and started to go back there was a wall of people and boats that I got to navigate through. I had a couple of near collisions. Passing someone from behind is so much less interfering than swimming directly toward them. The out and back would be made better by staggering the start by distance, but I do like the idea of the large lap to go around.

I also like the idea of multiple events and would be very supportive of that.

The larger the event is, I think the fewer kayaks per swimmers are needed. I would almost say that the distances less than 5k the kayaker would be optional. I know there are several events where this is the case. If you knew you were going to be in the main pack then you really would not need a support kayak, you could just swim with the pack. My kayak did not catch up to me until the buoy at the end back if the bay.

If there is going to be less support kayakers than the buoy would need to be better marked. I don't know the best way to do that, maybe large red ballons hooked to buoys that are brightly painted, color coded to the distance they represent if still using the out and back format.

Josh said...

I like the idea of fewer kayaks as well. The more people participate in the event each year, the more crowded the bay becomes with swimmers and kayaks. In the end it will be up to the park ranger how many, or how few, kayaks he will allow.

I think staggering the start times is a good idea and would be more exciting for the spectators to see more finishers.

I'm undecided on doing laps in the bay. On one hand, it would probably be safer and might help to get the number of kayaks reduced. On the other hand, it feels like more of an adventure to get out in the main body of water and past the buoys.

I like the idea of requiring kayaks for swimmers doing the longer distances and have a group of volunteer kayaks for the shorter distances. Part of the problem there will be finding enough volunteer kayaks to staff the event.

I like the idea of voting on t-shirt designs or having someone design a new shirt every year. I know US Tri Sports takes votes on their blog for what shirt design will actually be made. I also like the stickers and would maybe suggest a custom cap with the event logo printed on it.

I would like to eventually see and participate in a 25K swim.

I love the idea of having an open water "series" with Deer Creek as kind of the championship race. I would love to be involved in getting other races started. Recently I have toyed with the idea of a "co-op" swim where the participants would help plan and organize the event in addition to swimming on race day. It could end up being more trouble than it's worth, but I think it would be fun for each person to be able to vote on what the event would be like.