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).


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.


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:


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.


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.


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.


Post Your Review of the 2010 Deer Creek Open Water Marathon Swim

This year's Deer Creek Open Water Marathon Swim was amazing!  I have participated in the event for the past three years and this year was by far the best.  I am still working on writing up my race review, but I am interesting in hearing what your experience was.  Feel free to post your review as well as your suggestions, ideas, complaints, etc. about this year's race.

You can also post your review on Active.com.


Good Luck to Everyone Swimming at Deer Creek Tomorrow!

Best of luck to everyone who will be swimming at Deer Creek tomorrow!  The weather report looks great and the water temperature is about 70 degrees.  This year's swim should be better than ever with new sponsors, great prizes, new buoys and new staggered start times!


Open Water Swimming Article in the Deseret News

There is a great article in the Deseret News today about open water swimming and the Deer Creek Open Water Marathon Swim.  Writer Jared Eborn quotes my friend and fellow open water adventurer, Gordon Gridley, extensively about why he loves swimming in the open water.  There is also a nod to James Jonnson on his record breaking Bear Lake crossing.

Open water swimming definitely does not get the same amount of press coverage that many other sports get so it's nice to see the Deseret News take notice of our sport.

Click here to read the full article.  You can also send an email to Jared Eborn.


The Deer Creek Open Water Marathon Swim is This Week!

The 2010 Deer Creek Open Water Marathon Swim is now less than a week away and will take place this coming Saturday August 14.  If you have been thinking about participating and haven't registered, now is the time to do it.  Registration will close on Thursday August 12 at 11:59pm.

So far the weather report is looking really nice and hopefully we won't have a repeat of last year's storm.  We have some awesome new sponsors and it should be a great race.

You can click here to access online registration at Active.com.

If you are unable to swim and would like to volunteer, we have several areas where we can use some extra help.  Contact Jim Hubbard if you are interested.


James Jonsson's Bear Lake Swim Included in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame

James Jonnson's record breaking Bear Lake crossing has been officially recorded by the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame.  This is big news for the 19+ mile Bear Lake swim as it will likely attract marathon swimmers to come to Utah to make the attempt.  With the swim officially recognized by the marathon swimming world, I think now is the perfect time to organize the Bear Lake Swimming Federation.


Group Swims - Wednesday August 4 and Saturday August 7

There are a couple groups swims coming up this week for anyone who is interested in spending some time in the open water.

The first will be Wednesday August 4 at 6:30am at Bountiful Lake.  As usual, we will meet in the parking lot near the boat ramp.  Stay for 1, 2 or 3 loops of the lake.

Julian Riley is planning on swimming at Deer Creek on Saturday August 7 from 8:30 to 10:30am if anyone is interested in testing out the course before the race on August 14.  Click here for a link to Julian's planned course and for information on where to park and meet up.