12.16.2010

Video: Open Water Swim With Rasmus Henning - Chest Cam

Check out this video from professional triathlete Rasmus Henning.  He strapped cameras to his chest for a unique view of his head, arms and also his legs while swimming.  I love the way the cameras tilts from side to side as his body rolls. 

12.14.2010

The Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Swimming In The Great Salt Lake Open Water Swim



The Daily News of Open Water Swimming, one of the best online open water resources available, made mention of the Great Salt Lake Open Water Swim that Gordon Gridley and I are organizing on their blog today.
We are anticipating a race date of June 11, 2011 and are just waiting for our permit to be approved before we open registration.  We will have 1 mile and 8.12 mile point-to-point distances with both wetsuit and non-wetsuit divisions.  The race is sanctioned by USMS (Sanction ##341-001OS).

We have set up a new Facebook Page for the event.  "Like" us to keep up to date on the latest developments, ask questions and give us your suggestions and ideas.

If you, or someone you know, would like to volunteer at the race or know of company that would like to become a sponsor, please email me at joshuakgreen@gmail.com or leave a comment below.

12.12.2010

Holiday Savings on the 2nd Annual Slam the Dam Open Water Swim at Lake Mead

If you are looking to save some money on next year's race season, the good folks at Swim Las Vegas and Slam the Dam are offering a $10 discount on registration for the 2nd Annual swim if you register between December 13th and 14th.  You can click here to register on Active.com.

I was lucky to be able to make the trip to Lake Mead last year and participate in the inaugural event.  Kara Robertson and her team put on a great race.  A combination of being very well organized, having helpful and energetic volunteers and a beautiful location made it one of my most memorable swims of last year.  You can read my post race recap here.

We had a pretty good turnout from Utah last year and I am hoping that we can get even more people to make the trip next year!

12.06.2010

How to Repair Your Wetsuit

Wetsuits are expensive and also delicate (which is not a great combination).  Since they fit tightly by design, the neoprene is prone to tearing if you pull too hard or forget to clip your nails.  Luckily, I have not torn my wetsuit yet, but I know that day will eventually come.  Here is a nicely made "how-to" video that was posted on Matador Sports for when you need to repair your wetsuit.

12.04.2010

James Jonsson to Attempt Lake Tahoe Record to Promote Organ Donation



If you have been reading The Daily News of Open Water Swimming, you probably saw a post about Utah's James Jonsson.

James, who broke the lengthwise record for Bear Lake this year, is already thinking ahead and training for his next record breaking attempt.  Sticking with the theme of high-altitude, cold water lakes, James will be attempting to break the long held Lake Tahoe record.  The record has been held since 1987 by Dave Canyon with a time of 9:20.

By going for the Lake Tahoe record, James is hoping to bring attention to organ donation and is working with Intermountain Donor Services to raise awareness.  James has personal experience with both sides of organ donation.  His father, who was also a marathon swimmer, received a kidney transplant which allowed his to keep swimming for several years.  James' 8 year old son tragically passed away due to medical conditions from a birth abnormality and his organs helped seven people.

From James:

"Less than 50% of all licensed drivers in the US are organ donors, but in Utah it's over 70%.  My hope is more people become comfortable with becoming an organ donor."

"As you can see, organ donation touches the lives of many people and can bring many blessings.  Please support this noble cause."

If you are not already an organ donor, please consider becoming one the next time you renew your driver's license.  You can also visit Yes Utah and register online.  In the arrogance of my youth, I chose not to be an organ donor when I got my first driver's license.  I had a swift change of heart several years ago when it looked like my brother was going to need a kidney transplant.

We wish James the best of luck, both with his training and swim as well as in raising awareness for an important cause.

12.03.2010

New Article in Rocky Mountian Running & Triathlon Magazine

 
I wrote a short article about the benefits of Masters swimming during the off season that has been included in the latest edition of Rocky Mountain Running & Triathlon Magazine.  The article is not currently available online, but you can pick up a free copy at your local running, triathlon or swimming shop.  You can also subscribe to the magazine for $11.95 for a one year subscription or $20 for two years.

11.25.2010

Open Water Gift Guide

I hope everyone has a great holiday season this year.  If you are like me you probably already have a few open water related gifts on your Christmas wish list.  Here are some of the things that I am hoping find their way into my stocking this year.



FINIS Tempo Trainer - $39.99
This is basically a metronome for swimming.  You attach the tempo trainer to you goggles or put it in your cap and it beeps at the stroke rate you set it to.  This is a good tool for working on your pace and keeping it consistent. 




Tactics and Techniques of Elite Open Water Swimmers - $25.95
This DVD by The Athlete Village is an up close analysis of world class open water swimmers.




Blueseventy Element Goggles - $12.00
My opinion on goggles is that you can never have too many.  I love my Blueseventy Vision goggles for open water but love my Speedo Aqua Socket's for the pool.  The Blueseventy Element's combine what I like about both sets of goggles into one.  Since most of my goggles are tinted or mirrored, I need a pair that are not as dark so that I can use them for early morning and evening swimming.



Go Swim Open Water with Fran Crippen - $39.95
In this DVD, world class swimmer and all around good guy, Fran Crippen shares his techniques for faster freestyle and explains how to master the skills you need for open water.

Stroke Analysis from The Athlete Village - $49.99 to $129.99
This is an easy way to have your stroke analyzed.  Simply have a friend film you swimming and upload the video the the website.  A professional will analyze your stroke.  For the serious open water swimmer, there is a comprehensive open water package that is analyzed by Steve Munatones himself.


Dark Fin Gloves - $24.95
These gloves just look cool.  I have never worn a pair, but am sure that they are more comfortable and natural feeling than hand paddles.  I also like the idea of being able to vary the resistance by simply spreading your fingers.

What swimming related gifts are you hoping to get this year?

11.05.2010

Unofficial list of Bear Lake Crossings

 
Taking on the challenge of swimming Bear Lake has become increasingly popular over the past couple of years.  The lake has attracted marathon swimmers with its clear blue water and beautiful mountain surroundings and has challenged them with 19+ miles of cold water.  With James Jonsson's recent inclusion in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, talk of forming a Bear Lake Swimming Federation and several attempts already planned in the next few years, the swim is expected to continue to increase in popularity.

Following is an unofficial list of successful crossings of both the width and length of Bear Lake.  I do not claim that this is a complete list and I am positive that there have been other crossings.  The swims listed below have all been well documented.

Length ~ 19+ miles
Current Record: James Jonsson - July 22, 2010 - 8:43:26

Neal Phelps- July 18, 2009 - 13 hours
As far as anyone knows, Neal was the first person to successfully swim the length of Bear Lake.
John Quackenbush - August 10, 2009? - 15 hours
John was the second person to swim the length of Bear Lake and the first to swim it following Channel swimming rules.

James Jonsson - July 22, 2010 - time 8:43:26
James was included in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame for his record breaking swim.

Width ~ 7 miles
Current Record: Gordon Gridley - July 3, 2010 - 4:34:44

Chris Bowcutt - July 15, 2009 - 7 miles - 4:45

Gordon Gridley - July 3, 2010 - 7.1 miles - 4:34:44

Scott and Rachele Kunz (relay) - ? 2010 - 8 miles - 3:40

As was mentioned above, this is not a complete list.  If you or someone you know has completed a swim across Bear Lake (length or width), please send me an email with the details at joshuakgreen@gmail.com or leave a comment below.  Any documentation of these swims would be greatly appreciated.  Likewise, if there are any errors in any of the information listed above, please let me know so that I can correct them.

11.04.2010

Swim Clinic With Coach Wade Roberts - Postponed

A few weeks ago I announced a swimming clinic that I was helping to put together with coach Wade Roberts.  We didn't get quite the response that we were hoping for and November 13 turned out to be a bad weekend for many people.  Coach Roberts and I have decided to postpone the clinic for now and will post the new date once it has been decided.

The clinic will be held at the South Davis Recreation Center and will be two hours long with instruction and practice in the water.  The cost to attend is $65 (a $35 discount from his usual rate).

Coach Roberts is an experienced and accomplished swimmer and coach.  For a list of his credentials, see this post.  You can also watch a few short videos of Wade talking about swimming here.  He has helped me to change the way I think about my stroke and correct some of the errors that I had been making for years.  Whether you are new to swimming and triathlon or are a more advanced swimmer looking to fine tune your stroke, this two hour clinic will be a valuable tool to help get you swimming more efficiently and, as a result, faster.  With open water and triathlon season over for the year, this is a great time to focus on improving your technique.

If you are interested in attending the clinic and want to be updated on the new date, please email me at joshuakgreen@gmail.com.  Coach Roberts is also available for private lessons and can be reached at kosal96@yahoo.com.

10.14.2010

Wade Roberts Videos

As a follow up to yesterday's post about the swim clinic with Wade Roberts, Ph.D. that will be held on November 13, I have rounded up a few videos from YouTube to give you an idea of what he will be covering at the clinic.


Wade talking about common errors that triathletes make.


Wade talking about the importance of horizontal body position.


Wade talks about sighting.

The clinic will be held at the South Davis Rec Center on Saturday November 13 from 2 to 4 pm.  The cost to attend has been discounted from $100 per person to just $65.  For more information, please leave a comment below or email joshuakgreen@gmail.com.   Wade also teaches private lessons and can be reached at kosal96@yahoo.com.  I hope to see you there!

10.13.2010

Swim Clinic With Coach Wade Roberts

A couple years ago I attended two swimming clinics in Ogden with Wade Roberts, Ph.D.  The material that he presented completely changed the way I think about my stroke and swimming efficiently and turned what I had been taught about freestyle in high school on its head.  By following his advice I have made improvements to my stroke and, although I'm not as fast as I was in high school, I am swimming much more efficiently and am much less prone to shoulder injuries and pain.

I have recently been in contact with Wade and he has agreed to hold a two hour clinic to be held at South Davis Rec Center on Saturday November 13 from 2 to 4 pm.  He has also discounted his regular rate of $100 for two hours to just $65.  The clinic will include one hour of dryland instruction followed by practice in the water.  Questions and note-taking are encouraged.

Topics to be covered include:

Horizontal body position
Breathing
Switchpoint
Stroke timing
Productive vs. non-productive stroke portions
Injury prevention
 
Wade is an experienced swimmer and coach and has a long list of credentials to back him up including:

Former University of Utah swimmer
Master's National Team Member
4 Time Master's National medal winner
Senior Nationals medal winner
USA swim coach
High School swim coach
University of Utah Swim Team Technical Advisor
Private lesson instructor (13 years)
Professional coach (9 years)
Researcher and contributor to Dr. Maglischo's latest book (Swimming Fastest)
Ph.D. in economics (including efficiency modeling that applies to swim strokes)
Completed Southeast Asian island hopping swim (Cambodia)
Still swimming.....
 
The "off-season" is a great time to focus on improving your stroke and technique for next year's open water and triathlon season.  As mentioned previously, I have personally benefited from Wade's clinics and I am excited to share this great resource with fellow swimmers and triathletes.  If you are interested in attending the clinic or would like more details, please leave a comment below or send me an email at joshuakgreen@gmail.com.  Wade also teaches private lessons and can be reached at kosal96@yahoo.com.  I hope to see you there!

10.10.2010

Orson Spencer - Utah's Open Water Swimming Hero

My friend Gordon Gridley has been in contact with the family of Orson Spencer, who was a dominant and inspirational open water Utah swimmer in the 30's and 40's.  Orson's grand-daughter recently sent Gordon some articles and an entry from Orson's mother's journal and they are absolutely fascinating to read.

There are so many great stories contained in the articles but one of the best happened one year at the Antelope to Black Rock swim.  The weather was bad and after all the other swimmers dropped out of the race, Orson continued on to finish because it was his mother's birthday (she was his coach and trainer) and he wanted to give her a gift by winning the race.

Orson was an inspirational swimmer and is one of Utah's open water heroes.  His record for the Antelope to Black Rock swim held for over 70 years until it was broken this year by Gordon (another of Utah's open water heroes and an International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame record holder).

Please visit Gordon's blog for the full articles and photos of Orson Spencer.  For more information on the history of open water swimming at the Great Salt Lake, click here.  And if you are interested in swimming in the Great Salt Lake yourself, check out the Great Salt Lake Open Water Marathon Swim that we are currently developing for 2011.

10.05.2010

Inaugural Slam the Dam Race Review

By all accounts, the inaugural Slam the Dam open water swim was a big success!  Kara Robertson and her team did an amazing job putting together a challenging, exciting and fun event that I have already added to my "must do" swims for 2011.

Race morning started early for my wife Sabrina and I.  After leaving our two boys with my family at the hotel, we headed over to Lake Mead.  With all we had to do that morning I was worried that we would be late to check in, but as it turned out we got to Sunset View Overlook with plenty of time to spare.  We were met by a staff of friendly volunteers who helped me to get checked in, get body marked and pick up my swag bag.  It was a warm and beautiful morning.

Beautiful morning at the start of the 8K Slam the Dam open water swim at Lake Mead.
We unloaded our kayak and got ready to go down to the shore for the start.  We had to hike with our kayak down a quarter mile trail from the parking lot to the water.  Thankfully the race staff and other volunteers had cleared the path of trash and other debris.

Sabrina and I before the start of the 8K.
I saw a few people from Utah in the staging area before the race including James Jonsson, Mark Belnap and Gordon Gridley.  Since Sabrina had never used the kayak we brought down, she wanted to put in early so she could get a feel for it.

I was itching to get into the water to see just how warm it was.  Reports were that the water temperature was near 78 degrees, and while I didn't take the temperature myself, it must have been right around there.  The water quality and clarity was pretty good and was pretty comparable to Deer Creek.

One of my few complaints I had was that there was no start buoy.  Swimmers were creeping further and further into the lake even after Kara called us back.

There was a lot of excitement and joking around among the swimmers leading up to the start.  At the sound of the horn, we all took off.  I asked Sabrina beforehand to let me know each half hour that passed so that I knew about where I was and could stop to feed if I needed to.  After only about 15 minutes into the swim I started getting a bad headache.  Sometimes I get headaches after a long swim, but have never had one during a swim.  It continued to get worse over the next 45 minutes or so and became painful and distracting enough that I considered ending my swim.  I suspected that it might be due to my cap and goggles so I took my cap off and Sabrina handed me her goggles.  Her goggles drove me crazy and after only about 50 yards I had to trade them back for my own.  Sabrina had adjusted them so that they were a little more loose and that took a lot of pressure off my head.  After wasting 15 minutes or so messing with caps and goggles, I finally started swimming again and the headache never came back.

Early in the swim (before adjusting my goggles and cap) there was another swimmer drafting behind me who kept tapping my feet.  I was already in a pretty foul mood because of the headache, so each time he tapped my foot I kicked a little harder at him to try to let him know that it was bothering me.  The guy either didn't get that he was bugging me or didn't care because he didn't stop.  I have no problem with drafting and I can understand drafting as a strategy if you are a competitive swimmer and are trying to place in the race, but we had already been left behind by the faster swimmers and were towards the back of the group.  I honestly don't mind if someone wants to draft on me, but if they are going to swim that close they ought to at least swim off to the side (where you get more benefit from drafting anyway) and be considerate enough to not constantly tap my feet.  Anyway...the swimmer took off when I stopped to feed and fix my cap and goggles and I was pretty much alone for most of the rest of the swim.

I stuck to the same feeding plan that I used at Deer Creek which was to take a Gatorade Prime every half hour or so.  I had also mixed a bottle of half water and half Gatorade that I sipped every now and then.

The views from the water were beautiful and I wished that I had more time to explore and swim around the small islands and other features of the shoreline.  There were small, spiky twigs floating around in the water that scratched a little as they passed over my back or I swam over the top of them.  I found out later in the race where they came from...

Beautiful Lake Mead and one of the many buoys that marked the 2010 Slam the Dam 8K course.
Although the buoys were spaced fairly far apart for the first half of the race, the course was well marked and I had no problem figuring out where I was supposed to go.

Because I wasted so much time fixing my goggles and cap at the start of the swim, I was worried that I was going to miss the cutoff time for the 8K.  I was shooting for a time of 2:30 and the cutoff time was 2:45.  I started picking up my pace and pushing a little harder.  With more than half a mile to go, Sabrina confirmed my fears and told me I was at 2:28.  I knew I was going to have to push harder to make the cutoff time.

As I neared the beach I suddenly found myself swimming through huge bushes of what can best be described as tumbleweed.  The branches had little thorns on them and, although it didn't hurt, I was covered with scratches at the end.  The twigs that I had swam through earlier had to have come from one of these bushes.  After wading through the mud, I crossed the finish line.  According to the results, I missed the cutoff by 18 seconds.

The nice thing about the Grand Slam distance was the it was broken up into two races: 8K and 1.2 miles.  I had about 15 minutes to get something to eat and drink and check in with my family before starting the 1.2 mile swim.

Sabrina was also entered in the 1.2 mile swim.  Since it was going to be her longest open water swim, I decided to stay with her the whole way.  It was nice to take it easy and just enjoy a swim with my wife.  The only incident was that one swimmer was swimming on the wrong side of the buoys after the turnaround and we collided head on.

Despite the goggle and cap induced headache at the start of the swim and a finish time that was much slower than I had anticipated, I had a lot of fun and really enjoyed the day.  I was glad to have my family come down to support me and watch our two little boys so Sabrina and I could both swim.

Hats off to Kara and her team for putting together a memorable event that I am looking forward to doing again in 2011.

9.29.2010

What's up with Utah Lake?


I just read this fascinating article in the Deseret News on Sunday.  If you have ever been to Utah Lake and wondered why the water was so murky, this article explains why and what is being done to try to restore the lake's water quality and get an endangered species off the endangered list at the same time.

The short version of the story is that we screwed the lake up by changing the way the water flows and by introducing carp into the lake.  There is currently an effort underway to remove 5 million pounds of carp from the lake each year.  Carp make up a staggering 90 percent of the lake's biomass.  "By constantly churning up the lake's muddy bottom, carp transformed Utah Lake from a pristine, clear, shallow lake into an unsightly brown body of turgid water".

At the same time the carp are being removed, an endangered species of fish called the June Sucker, is being hatched and reintroduced into the lake.

And the water quality is actually getting better, even though it may be hard to tell.

"The water quality in Utah Lake is better, thanks to the increase in water and other things, but it's not evident because of the carp in the system," Wilson said. "They keep the solids in suspension and make the lake look dirty. The water quality is much better than it appears."

You can read the full article on the Deseret News website.

9.26.2010

US Open Water Swimming - Virtual Open Water Swim Competition

Open water swimming in Utah is quickly coming to a close as we move into fall with water levels and temperatures dropping.  US Open Water Swimming Connection has come up with a "Virtual Open Water Swim" to help keep us swimming and thinking about open water through the winter months.

The competition goes for six months and starts October 1.  You can enter one of five "goal distances" that are based on actual open water distances.  They are as follows:

1) 50 miles Lake Travis, Texas - 88,000 yards: averaging 3,382 yards per week
2) 100 miles, Lake Powell, Utah -176,000 yards: averaging 6765 yards per week
3) 150 miles, Oahu to the Big Island, Hawaii - 264,000 yards: averaging 10,150 yards per week
4) 200 miles, Chesapeake Bay, Maryland/Virginia - 352,000 yards: averaging 13,530 yards per week
5) 250 Miles Lake Huron, Michigan - 410,000 yards: averaging 16,712 yards per week 

After sign up, each swimmer will receive a swim log form to keep track of their yardage.  You can log any distance you swim whether it be in open water or in the pool.  The person that completes the distance and submits their swim log FIRST will receive a $40 gift certificate from Kiefer Swim Shop. Other prizes (lotion, shampoo, caps) will be awarded for 2nd - 5th place in each category. More prizes may be added depending upon participation levels for each category.

The cost to enter varies from $15 to $75 depending on if you add options like a t-shirt or workout plans.
Karen Reeder has informed me that there are currently no swimmers from Utah entered in the competition.  I am planning on entering (and counting Slam the Dam as my first swim).  Let's get some more swimmers signed up to represent the Beehive State!

Details on the event can be found on the US Open Water Swimming Connection site or by clicking here.

9.25.2010

Bountiful Lake Clean-Up for Austin Gridley's Eagle Scout Project

I was lucky to be able to spend a couple hours cleaning up the shoreline of Bountiful Lake this morning.  The clean-up was for my friend Gordon Gridley's son Austin's Eagle project.

I got to the lake a little after 8am and, after signing in, was given a bag and a section of shoreline to work on.  It actually wasn't as bad as I expected it to be.  That is not to say that there wasn't a lot of trash.  I had about half of a garbage bag full when I finished.  I would say that about 40% or the trash I picked up was cigarette butts, 40% fishing line and 20% other junk (bottles, wrappers, cans, etc.)  After finishing my assigned section, I kept going and walked all the way around the lake.  It was nice to experience the lake from another perspective (i.e. not in the water).

I saw several other people there that were walking around with bags and helping with the clean-up.  When I checked out, it looked like Austin had over a page of volunteers.

I wish Austin the best of luck in getting his Eagle Scout award and thank him for choosing to clean my regular swimming hole.

**UPDATE**
According to Gordon's blog, Austin had 32 volunteers for a combined 22 hours of work and 650 lbs of trash collected!  Check out Gordon's blog for a video (and news clip).  Nice job Austin!

9.23.2010

Bountiful Lake Clean-Up - Saturday September 25, 2010

My friend Gordon Gridley's son Austin has organized a clean-up of the Bountiful Lake shoreline this coming Saturday for his Eagle Scout project.  Anyone is invited to participate in the clean-up and Austin would really appreciate your help if you are able to make it.  The project will start at 8:00am, but you can stop in anytime during the day to help.

Here is a short video about the project:


Directions to Bountiful Lake: 
Coming from north or south of Bountiful, take the 500 South exit from either I-15 or Legacy Parkway. Head west on 500 South. 500 South will wrap around into a frontage road. Head north on the frontage road for about 1.5 miles. You'll see the lake on the left side, the entrance to the parking lot is at the very northeast corner. The boat ramp is on the west side of the parking lot.

9.22.2010

Kau Wela Open Swim - Canceled

My wife Sabrina and I both registered for the Kau Wela Open Swim this weekend and were really looking forward to a quick trip to St. George.  Unfortunately, I got an email yesterday afternoon telling me that the swim had been canceled due to a lack or participants.  If you were registered, like we were, St. George City will be sending refund checks in the mail.

The competition will be rescheduled to June 4th, 2011 and will include a beginner open triathlon division.  Hopefully by holding it earlier in the year there are enough participants to hold the event.

This leaves just one more swimming competition for me this year: Slam the Dam.  I am really excited for the race and to swim at Lake Mead for the first time.  Registration closes on September 26 so if you were thinking about participating you only have a few days left to sign up.

9.20.2010

Swimming in Utah's Largest Freshwater Lake


After swimming in Utah Lake last week, I started thinking about some possible swims that I could try there next year.  Utah Lake seems like an obvious place for distance swimming.  It is the third largest freshwater lake west of the Great Lakes (Lake Tahoe and Flathead Lake are larger).


One of the swims that I am interested in doing is swimming the width from the State Park to Pelican Point.  I got the idea from an article I found about Pat Christian who, for his 60th birthday, swam across the 6+ mile width of Utah Lake.  Click here for his story.  Karen Sigler ran into another guy at her pool who swam across the width several years ago.

This swim looks to be a little less than 10K.  The only thing that makes me nervous about it is that there are typically a lot of boats out on the open lake.  I would definitely need to have a powerboat accompany me to keep an eye on me and make sure that I don't get hit by other boats.

Another swim that I am interested in doing is much shorter.  It would be from Lincoln Beach, around a small island called Bird Island, and back.  The island is about 2.14 miles from Lincoln Beach so the round trip would be about 4.28 miles.  I'm not sure how visible the island is from the water so I would want to have someone with me in a boat to help me navigate.

Have you done any swimming at Utah Lake or know someone who has?  Do you have ideas for other swims in the lake?  I would love to hear from you.

9.16.2010

Another Great Salt Lake Swim

Hats off to Gordon for spotting this article.

Mike Stephens recently celebrated his 48th birthday by swimming from Promontory Point to Fremont Island.  The total distance was about 2.5 miles and Mike finished the swim in an hour and fifteen minutes.

Unfortunately, Mike seems to have had a bad experience with the salt water.

"It was great, but that salt was a killer on my throat," Stephens said. "My nose, my throat just burned. Every swallow stung."

I have experience similar salt-induced burning but have always carried water or Gatorade with me to rinse out my mouth.

There is a great article with a short video about Mike's swim on the Standard Examiner's website.

Wednesday's "Double Header" Swim

Yesterday was a good day.  I was able to get in two open water swims, see the sun rise and set from the water and spend time with friends.

Bountiful Lake - 6:30am

The first swim was early Wednesday morning at Bountiful Lake.  When Gordon and I met in the parking lot it was still pretty dark and the air temperature was still pretty cool.  The water temperature had cooled down considerably from the last time I was there.  I guessed about 64, but after our swim Gordon's thermometer read 62.

In the past, when getting into cold water, I have usually waded in slowly to try to get used to the water before starting to swim.  Recently I have adopted Gordon's cold water entry strategy:  wade in until you are about to your waist and then jump in and go for it.  I think that by wading in slowly until I am up to my neck I actually make myself more cold because I spend more time just standing in cold water and lowering my body temperature instead of swimming in it to raise my body temperature.

It was dark for all of the first lap and most of the second and I was wishing I had worn my clear goggles instead of the tinted and mirrored ones I had on.  On the third lap the sun finally came up over the mountains.  Although it did little to warm up the water, it was a welcome sight.  I can't imagine doing a channel swim where you have to start in the middle of the night and swim in the dark (especially in the ocean).

There were a few spots where I got into a really good groove and felt like I was swimming fairly fast and efficiently.  Even then, I still couldn't keep up with Gordon (who is a swimming machine)!

Both Gordon and I felt pretty good about spending an hour and a half in 62 degree water but if we get a relay team together for Trans-Tahoe we are going to have to get used to swimming in much colder water.

Lincoln Beach (Utah Lake) - 6:00pm

For the second swim I drove down to the south end of Utah Lake near Lincoln Beach and met Karen Sigler and Jim Hubbard.  I have never seen that side of the lake before and it was beautiful!

We walked a little ways down to the beach and got ready to get in.  Luckily Jim had a can of mosquito repellent with him because they were out in full force!  I have never seen that many mosquitoes in one place before.

We had to wade out into the water over sharp rocks for about 100 yards before it was deep enough that we could swim.  There were a couple boats on the water and a few fishermen, but other than that we had the lake to ourselves.  The water was calm and as smooth as glass.  I didn't take the temperature but I would bet it was around 68 degrees.  I have only swam one other time in Utah Lake and the water was pretty murky.  I was hoping that on this side it would be a little more clear, but it was about the same.

Once we got out into the lake far enough that we could swim, we headed west towards the setting sun.  I love swimming in the evening and wish that my schedule worked out so that I could do it more often.  Seeing the sun set from the water is something that everyone should experience.

From the water we saw what looked like and island but was actually a mountain on the opposite shore.  I immediately starting thinking about swimming from that point back to Lincoln Beach.  After looking it up on Google Maps it looks like it's only about 4 miles, but would still be a fun swim.  Karen volunteered to kayak for me if I decide to do it.

It was a great day and I was lucky to get as much swimming in as I did.  I am also lucky to have great friends that share my love of open water swimming and are willing to go on these adventures with me.

9.12.2010

Upcoming Group Swims - Wednesday September 15

The open water season is quickly coming to a close (unless you live in southern Utah) but there will be two opportunities for group swims that will both take place this coming Wednesday.

The first swim will be at our usual spot at Bountiful Lake.  We will meet at 6:30am in the parking lot near the boat ramp.  The water here has been getting a little cooler and is probably in the mid 60's.

Directions to Bountiful Lake:
Coming from north or south of Bountiful, take the 500 South exit from either I-15 or Legacy Parkway.  Head west on 500 South.  500 South will wrap around into a frontage road.  Head north on the frontage road for about 1.5 miles.  Turn left and you are there.

For the second swim we move south from Davis County to fellow swimmer and super-volunteer Karen Sigler's neck of the woods in Utah County.  We will be meeting at Lincoln Beach (south side of Utah Lake) at 6:00pm.  This will be my first time swimming at Lincoln Beach and I am looking forward to trying something new.  I am told that if you like swimming with fish, this is the place to be.  For a map and directions click here.

Kokopelli, Kau Wela and Slam the Dam are coming up fast and if you are looking to squeeze in some more time in the open water, this might be a good opportunity for you.

Gordon Gridley Breaks a 72 Year Old Swimming Record!

Congrats to my friend Gordon Gridley who broke a record yesterday that has stood for 72 years!  Historically, marathon swimming races where held at the Great Salt Lake from the southern tip of Antelope Island to Black Rock beach (just west of the Great Salt Lake Marina).  Orson Spencer set the record way back in 1938 with a very respectable time of  3:40:52.  Gordon finished the swim yesterday with a time of 3:24:37, setting a new record for the 8.2 mile course.

*UPDATE* Gordon's swim was reported on The Daily News of Open Water Swimming and has been included in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame!  Way to go Gordon!

You can read Gordon's first hand account as well as see photos and video from the swim on his blog:

If you are interested in the history of open water swimming in the Great Salt Lake, click here.
If you are interested in participating in an open water competition in the Great Salt Lake next year, visit the Great Salt Lake Open Water Marathon Swim page.

Congrats again to Gordon on an inspiring swim!

9.08.2010

A Wild Ride in the Great Salt Lake

I met Gordon and Julian Riley at Black Rock this morning at 7:00am for a swim in the Great Salt Lake.  Julian drove all the way up from Provo and we were glad to have him join us on our adventure.

When I first pulled up the weather was relatively calm and the water looked fairly smooth.  By the time we got ready and walked down to the beach, the wind had picked up and was causing some small waves in the water.  After we waded into the water and started swimming, the wind really picked up and I found myself "body surfing" towards the marina.

The water was not as clear as last time we swam the same course.  I think it was partly due to the wind and partly due to being later in the season.  The water was also noticeably cooler and was probably in the upper 60's (which to me felt great).

I think it must have been Julian's first time swimming in the Great Salt Lake and he was amazed at how high up on the water you float without a wetsuit.  At one point he looked over at me and said it looked like half of my body was out of the water.

We continued on past the marina and followed the line of five deep channel buoys.  At the fifth buoy we took a break and had some Gatorade (mostly to get the taste of salt out of our mouths) before turning around.  The wind was still pretty strong, only now we were swimming into it.  More than once I looked up to sight only to have a wave crash into my face.

At about the third buoy on the way back I noticed that the top of my head was getting cold.  I wondered if my cap had broken and was letting water in.  When I stopped to see what was going on, I found that my cap had come nearly all of the way off and was only being held on by the straps of my goggles.  Instead of trying to put it back on, I tucked it into my suit and kept going.  Not having a cap made it a little harder for Julian to see me and in retrospect, I probably should have tried to put it back on.  The only reason I even wear a cap is for safety and to make myself visible.

At one point we went into some pretty shallow water and I found my hands brushing the bottom of the lake as I pulled.  I am always amazed at how shallow the lake is.  At one point Gordon stopped me to wait for Julian and we both stood up on the bottom until he caught up with us.

We ended up swimming about 5K and I stopped my watch at 1:36.  Not a bad time considering stops for Gatorade and the rough water.

When we got back to the beach, my Crocs and one of Julian's flip flops had blown away.

Swimming in the Great Salt Lake is always an adventure and something than every open water swimmer should experience.  Each time I swim in it's salty waters, I get more excited about the Great Salt Lake Open Water Marathon Swim that Gordon and I are planning for 2011.

9.07.2010

Group Swim - September 8 @ Black Rock (Great Salt Lake Marina)

It's been a while since I have posted about a group swim (and this may be short notice for a lot of people) but we will be swimming tomorrow morning, September 8, at 7:00am.  We will be meeting at Black Rock which is about one mile west of the Great Salt Lake Marina.  We are planning on swimming about 5K.

We swam this same route a while ago and you can read about it here.

8.31.2010

Wanted: Trans-Tahoe Relay Members

The Trans-Tahoe Relay is a challenging swim that has been on my list of swimming "to-do's" for a while now.  The relay, in its 32nd year, is a challenging 6-person team swim through the cold, clear waters of beautiful Lake Tahoe.  It is currently ranked number 14 on America's Top 50 Open Water Swims.  If you divide the 11.5 mile distance by six swimmers, it is only about 2 miles each.  The real challenge of the swim is the cold water.  The water temperature ranges from about 55 to 60 degrees, and wetsuits are not allowed.  The race is held each year in July, with team applications accepted at the start of the year.

I am trying to put a team together for the 2011 swim.  Information on the event website is scarce at the moment, but I suspect as we approach the new year it will be updated.  Right now I have three people (myself included) who are interested in joining the team.  If you or someone you know is interested in joining us, leave a comment below or send me an email at joshuakgreen@gmail.com.  If you have participated in the swim in the past I would love to hear about your experience.

Once we get a solid team together, I would like to get everyone together for a training swim across Bear Lake (we might as well establish the record for a relay team across Bear Lake while we are at it).

8.30.2010

Slam the Dam

The good folks at Swim Las Vegas are hosting the inaugural Slam the Dam open water swim on Saturday October 2, 2010 at Lake Mead.  The swim features 1.2 mile, 2.4 mile and 8K courses.  Swimmers also have the option of swimming the Super Slam (1.2 mile + 2.4 mile) or the Grand Slam (1.2 mile + 8K).

Wetsuits and "tech suits" are permitted, however wearing one will render you ineligible for awards.  Anyone swimming the 8K distance is required to provide their own kayak support.  The great thing about the shorter distances is that you do not have to provide your own support boat.

I am most excited for the Grand Slam which is an 8K point-to-point swim followed by a 1.2 mile swim (for a total distance of about 10K or 6.2 miles).  I like the idea of a point-to-point swim instead of starting and stopping at the same place.  I also like the idea of taking a break after the 8K to get ready for the 1.2 mile swim.  The faster I swim on the 8K, the longer the rest I get before the 1.2 mile.

Slam the Dam is shaping up to be one of the best open water swims in the region and one that I plan to add to my annual "must do" events.

Registration fees are set to increase on September 1, but if you mail in your entry (postmarked by September 6), you can still take advantage of early bird pricing.  You can also register on Active.com.

For any Utah swimmers making the trip, we are going to try to meet up for dinner the night before, or the night after the swim.  If you are interested in joining us, leave a comment below or send me an email at joshuakgreen@gmail.com.

8.23.2010

Bountiful Lake Clean-Up - September 25, 2010

My friend Gordon is organizing a much needed clean-up of the Bountiful Lake shoreline on Saturday September 25, 2010 at 8:00am.  Fellow swimmers (and non-swimmers) who use the lake are invited to help in the clean-up.  Gordon made a short video about the project that you can watch below:

8.22.2010

Logo Contest for Great Salt Lake Swim


In case you missed the announcement, we are currently developing a new open water swimming race for 2011 to be held in the Great Salt Lake.  Since the water typically warms up faster at GSL than other bodies of water in the Utah, we are shooting for a June race date.  We have a rough website up right now that we will be updating as our plans solidify.

In an effort to spread the word and get people thinking about the race, we are holding a contest to design a logo for the new swim.  The logo will be used on the event website, t-shirts and caps.  The winner of the contest will win a free race entry to the event!  If you aren't a graphic designer, feel free to enlist the help of friends and family who are.  The Great Salt Lake has a lot of history as well as unique features (and creatures), so be creative!

All entries can be submitted to joshuakgreen@gmail.com.

Also, if you have any ideas or suggestions for the new race, this is the perfect time to let us know what you would like to see.  Leave a comment below or send me an email at joshuakgreen@gmail.com.

8.20.2010

2010 Deer Creek Open Water Marathon Swim Race Report

 
I know I am about a week late in posting this, but it's better late than never right?

This year's Deer Creek Open Water Marathon Swim was amazing!  This was my third year swimming in the event and it was by far the best.

The morning started early, arriving at Deer Creek State Park at about 6:00am to help get things set up before the other swimmers started showing up.  It was cold!  I had on a light jacket and was wishing that I would have worn a sweatshirt.  Luckily the water temperature was warmer than the air temperature.  Once the sun came out, the weather was perfect.

After getting things set up, I found my paddler (my friend Jonathan) and we got him set up with his kayak, flag and life jacket and hauled the kayak down to the boat ramp.

This year my wife and brother decided to swim as well so we were busy getting everyone ready and the start time really creeped up on me.  I found myself scrambling to get my equipment together, put on some sunscreen and have a pre-race Gatorade Prime.  I finally got into the water with just minutes to spare.  I would have liked to get in a little sooner to warm up and find a good start position.

The new staggered start times were very popular with everyone I talked to and really did a lot to thin out the swimmers and support boats.  Last year it was so crowded and I actually got hit by a couple support boats.

There were some fast swimmers that showed up!  I got passed by a handful of 5K swimmers (who had started 5 or 10 minutes after the 10K swimmers).  I tried to keep up with some of them and draft, but decided I didn't want to waste a lot of energy keeping up with them only a mile or so into the swim, so I let them go.

I was almost to the 5K turnaround before I saw my paddler.  When he caught up with me he told me how he had flipped his kayak, lost his keys, water and snacks.  He managed to trade kayaks with my dad (who was paddling for my brother) and catch up with me.  At this point I had another Gatorade Prime before taking off again.

The water level was so high that the 5K turnaround was almost to the very end of the bay.  As I got near the buoy I found myself swimming through submerged plants and bushes and had to move further into the center of the bay to avoid them.  They buoys themselves were a huge improvement over past year.  The new buoys were easy to spot because they are much larger than the old makers, they are fluorescent orange and are well marked and easy to read.

After the 5K turnaround I started catching and passing some of the other 10K swimmers. Bob Needham and I "leap-frogged" for a while, taking turns passing and being passed, until he finally settled in right behind me and stayed with me until the end of the swim.

From this point until the finish was pretty uneventful.  I found a good rhythm and stopped a few more times to refuel.  For nutrition this year I went 100% Gatorade Prime.  They are pretty similar in calories and carbs to an energy gel, but since it is in liquid form it is a lot easier and faster to swallow.  Last year the gels made my stomach a little sick and I didn't have that problem at all this year.

I was wondering if/when Bob would make a move to pass me as we neared the finish. With about 25 yards to go, I saw him pulling up to my right side.  I buried my head in the water, not taking any breaths, and pushed it HARD to the finish and barely out-touched him by one second.  One of the advantages of bilateral breathing is that you can keep an eye on your competition on both sides.  If I had only been breathing on my "strong" side to the left, I wouldn't have seen him until it was too late.  Bob went on to swim another 10K the next morning at Horsetooth in Colorado.


Hats off to Jim Hubbard for putting together another great race.  There were a lot of awesome volunteers and some amazing sponsors.  This was the first open water race for a lot of people and, from what I have been hearing, they all had a great time and are officially "hooked".  Like me, they are already looking forward to the 2011 swim.

8.18.2010

Black Rock to Great Salt Lake Marina


This morning Gordon and I chose to move our regular Wednesday morning swimming spot from Bountiful Lake to the Great Salt Lake.

We met around 6:20am at Black Rock, which I learned is a historic spot where the pioneers came to celebrate their first 4th of July in the valley.  When we got out of our cars, it was warm and breezy.  We walked down to the shore and started wading into the water.  The water was nice, probably somewhere in the mid to upper 70's.  This was my first time swimming on the south side of the lake and the water was MUCH cleaner than it is around Antelope Island.  We waded into the water for quite a while until it was deep enough to start swimming and then set our sights on the Great Salt Lake Marina and the blinking red yacht buoys to the northeast.


It was quite a ride!  With the wind pushing us from our back, at times if felt like body surfing.  If you want to know what it is like to swim flat, you need to swim in the Great Salt Lake.  The salty water is honestly better than a wetsuit for buoyancy.


Once we got near the GSL Marina, we found the line of permanent buoys that are used for yacht racing.  We followed the buoy line that runs parallel to the shore and then turned around at the last buoy.  The buoys are great for swimming because they are bright red or green and each one has a blinking light on top.


The water was pretty choppy on the way back to Black Rock because of the wind.  More than once I got a mouthful of salt water.  This is one reason that learning to breathe on both sides is important.  I was able to switch from bilateral breathing to breathing just on my left side to avoid the chop in my face.
After all was said and done, we swam about 5K in just under 1:30.

So why did we choose to swim at the Great Salt Lake this morning?  I may as well let the cat out of the bag...myself and a few others are working on putting together a new open water swim for 2011.  We were there this morning to check out the conditions and to swim part of the course.

There are several reasons for choosing the Great Salt Lake:
1. There is a long history of open water marathon swimming at GSL and the idea of starting it up again is exciting.
2. It is a unique venue because of the salty water.
3. The Great Salt Lake Marina already has permanent buoys set up that are used for yacht racing.  (Click here for a map of the buoys)
4. Utah is famous for the Great Salt Lake.  You are not a real Utahan unless you have been swimming there.
5. The Great Salt Lake Marina will be awesome for spectators since they will be able to see the entire race course.
6. On-site showers and bathrooms.

We are still in the very early planning stages, but already have a lot of support.  Keep checking back for periodic updates.