Bear Lake Swimming Federation

I had a lot of positive response the other day after mentioning the idea of starting a Bear Lake Swimming Federation to keep an official record book of swimmers who swim the length of the lake.

I thought I would post some additional ideas that I had to get your feedback on them as well as to ask you to share your ideas and suggestions.

The main purposes of the Federation would be very similar to those of the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation which are:
1. To promote interest in Catalina Channel Swimming.
2. To furnish information to and advise those intending to make the swim
3. To promote the safety and welfare of the swimmer.
4. To observe and authenticate persons who swim the Catalina Channel.
5. To gather and preserve historical Catalina Channel Swimming data.
Interest in swimming Bear Lake has been increasing over the past couple of year with two successful crossings in 2009, two attempts planned in 2010 and several other attempts planned in the coming years.  Part of the allure of Bear Lake to marathon swimmers is 1) the long distance and 2) the relatively cold water.  Because of these two things, Bear Lake would make an excellent qualifying or training swim for those interested in swimming the English or Catalina Channels.  The Federation would help to promote interest in Bear Lake swimming.

Another reason for starting the Federation would be to provide information on the swim for swimmers interested in making the attempt.  Information would include a suggested course, current conditions (including water temperatures) and currents as well as rules, boat rentals, Utah State Parks, lodging, etc.

Safety is an important issue in open water swimming.  When you combine open water with a long distance and cold water, it becomes even more important.  A possible idea would be to require swimmers to have someone on the boat (or a Federation official) who is CPR and First Aid certified.  Maybe another requirement would be to inform local authorities of the date of the attempt.  The Federation would provide appropriate contact information for emergency services in the area.

Perhaps the most important reason to start a Federation would be to keep track of official finish times.  Ideally, there would be an official from the Federation that would be on the swimmer's support boat to take the official start and finish times as well as make sure that channel swimming rules were followed.  Having official times would make the swim more legitimate and might help to attract swimmers from around the world.

Maintaining a history of marathon swimming in the lake would also be a goal of the Federation.  This might include first hand stories of the swimmers as well as photos.

What do you think?  What ideas or suggestions do you have?  I don't want to take on this project alone so if you are interested in volunteering your time and talents to get it going, let me know.


Heidelweiss said...

I think the most important thing would be to have very qualified pilots and a trained observer from the Federation. I don't know how to go about getting in touch with people who really KNOW Bear Lake and who could or would pilot a swimmer for an endless number of hours. I could contact Mike Oram who is an English Channel pilot and ask him what to look for in potential pilots. Maybe (he scares me a tiny bit and might cyber yell at me ;)). I know I wouldn't want to do a crossing unless I had a pilot I really trusted. I have lots of other thoughts but it would be like writing an essay so I'll shut up now.

Unknown said...

Great Idea! Would love to try the swim one day. Would be no help as I don't have any experience. Someone mentioned writing your name on a wall or something but what about get a local restaurant in town to give us a wall were we could post a picture of all the successful crossings and facts. Plus for the restaurant as they would get plenty of business from people stopping by to check stats. Kind of like a hangout for the federation.

Josh said...

Yeah it would definitely be cool to have a "hang out" spot for swimmers and a place to post pictures and information about the swim. It's been about a year or so since I've been up there, but there are a few little places that would seem to make good candidates.

Will said...

Congrats to James. Have swimmers used established locations as start and end points? I suggest Rendezvous Beach on the south and North Park Boat Ramp; dry land to dry land.

Josh said...

Will - I agree. There should be established start and stop points. I am familiar with Rendezvous Beach but not with North Park Boat Ramp.