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.