Cold Water and "Open Water"

Yesterday was a great afternoon/evening of swimming.  I got in a cold water swim at Bountiful Lake and an "open water" swim at the American Fork Fitness Center.

I met Gordon and Goody at Bountiful Lake this afternoon.  I was surprised that the water temperature had dipped down to 46 degrees.  I remember how I felt a few weeks ago at that temperature, and decided I didn't want to risk being in the water too long.  Goody and I watched Gordon start his 1/2 mile swim from the boat ramp...that guy is amazing.  I can't imagine being in that water as long as he was.  As he rounded the first island, Goody jumped in and I followed.  I tried to get my breathing under control and swim long, smooth strokes.  At the end of the swim, I was shaking a lot more than normal, even for being in the water for just a few minutes.

Gordon made my day when he invited Sabrina and I to come along with him and Cathi for his English Channel swim next year.  I've secretly been wanting to go and support him, but didn't want to be a jerk and invite myself.  I'm really excited to help him in any way I can to have a successful swim.

After warming up, Sabrina, the boys and I drove down to American Fork for the "Open Water Pool Swim" that was sponsored by PowerTri.com.  I have heard about similar events, but never in Utah.  It was a lot of fun!  There were fewer people than I expected, but I don't think many people knew about it.  They took all of the lane lines out of the 50M pool and put in four buoys.  Swimmers could choose from 400M or 800M distances.

Will Reeves was there and watched him warm-up...that guy is fast and has a super smooth stroke!  I talked to him for a little while after the swim.  It's nice to know there are other people in the state that are passionate about open water swimming.  Will wants to put together a 24-hour pool swim...I will post details as they are available.

Start of the 800M "Open Water Pool Swim"
It was a "beach" start from the edge of the pool and we had to run through the shallow water until it was deep enough to start swimming.  Even though there were only about 10 swimmers in my heat, it was a pretty crowded start and I bumped into several people as we tried to find our positions.  The turns were also crowded for the first lap until we thinned out a little bit.  I was following David Warden from PowerTri and drafted off of him for most of the race, but on the last lap he picked up the pace and dropped me.
800M "Open Water Pool Swim" Finish
There was another 800M heat followed by two 400M heats (I think...we only stayed for one but it looked like they were going to do another one as we were leaving).  Sabrina swam 400M and had a good time.  She looked great on the turns and remembered some of the stuff that I tried to teach her last year.

Sabrina rounding one of the turn buoys.
Sabrina on her last lap of the 400M swim.
While I definitely prefer real open water swims, this is a fun way to prepare and practice for triathlons during the colder months.  For someone who has never participated in an open water event, this would be a great introduction and would let them get a feel for how different it is from pool swimming.  It would have been cool to incorporate a swimming clinic as part of the event since there were some very fast swimmers, triathletes and coaches in attendance.  I really hope there are more of these races in the future.

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