First Swim of the Year at the Great Salt Lake

After checking the weather forecast all week, today looked like it would be the best day for swimming.  I was excited to get out to the Great Salt Lake for the first time this year.

When I pulled up to the marina it was pretty windy.  I got my thermometer and headed down to Silver Sands Beach.  On the beach, I met Kate who was there to swim.  She said she had seen online that the water temperature was 54 degrees.  I had a hard time keeping my thermometer in the water because the wind was making a lot of waves that kept washing it back to the shore.  When I pulled it out it read 56 degrees, but I don't know if I left it in long enough.  I put my hand in and it actually felt nice, I would have guessed around 55 by touch.

After watching the waves and whitecaps for a while, Kate decided that she was going to back out of the swim.  I completely understood her decision, it was ROUGH out there.  I decided to stick it out and see if it got any better.

Jake showed up a little later with my dad and grandma.  By that time, the wind had calmed down a little bit.  My grandma was telling me that they used to come out to Black Rock Beach when she was younger.  We walked up to the lookout point and I showed them where the 1 mile Great Salt Lake Open Water Swim would be.  It is going to be an awesome course for spectators.  You can see the starting point and half of the course from the lookout point.

The clouds were getting darker and we decided to get in before the weather took a turn for the worse.  There were a few people around and a couple ladies started taking pictures of us from a ways off while we were getting ready.  As we walked down to the boat ramp, about 10 people followed us to see what we were up to.  We waded in until the water was about waist high and they dove in.  One side of my goggles started filling up with water right away and was stinging my eye.  Lucky me.

We swam out of the marina and out into the open lake.  The water was much rougher here since it was less protected.  We swam out to one of the racing buoys and then followed the line back towards the lookout point and Silver Sands Beach.  Jake and I were surprised to see that the crowd had all moved over to the lookout point and were all watching us.  We stopped and waved and then kept going.  The swim back was fun since the wind and waves were pushing us.  It was kind of like body surfing at times.

As I was heading towards the beach to get out, I suddenly hit my arm on a sharp rock.  After I got out of the water I noticed that I had a couple scratches that were bleeding on my forearm.  I also had a little scratch on my ankle from another rock.  Jake was smarter and went around the rocky area to the beach and got out with out much trouble.  It was fun to run through the knee high water along the beach.

I guess the crowd had given up on us because by the time we got back up to the parking lot, only my dad and grandma were left.  We got dried off and Jake checked his GPS that he had tucked into his cap.  We had been in the water about 15 minutes and swam a little less than half a mile.  Not bad considering we stopped several times to talk, wave at the tourists and pick out way through the rocks.

It was a fun swim and I was completely comfortable at that water temperature.  Even after getting out and standing wet in the wind, I didn't shake at all.  I'm already looking forward to the next good weather day to head out to the Great Salt Lake again.


Group Swim at the Great Salt Lake - Thursday April 28

A group of us are getting together to swim at the Great Salt Lake on Thursday April 28 at 4:30pm.  This will be our first swim of the year in the GSL and I'm looking forward to it!

Water temperatures are reported to be 50 degrees.  Wetsuits are welcome (and encouraged for those with little cold water experience).  There are several buoys near the GSL Marina and we will decide how far to swim after seeing what the weather and water conditions are like.

As always, anyone is welcome to swim with us.  If you have never swam in the Great Salt Lake, it's an experience you need to try.  If you are thinking about swimming in the Great Salt Lake Open Water Swim on June 11, this would be a good time to get a feel for what swimming in REALLY salty water is like.

Hope to see you there!


A Warm(ish) Swim at Bountiful Lake

I met my brother Jake at Bountiful Lake for a swim this evening.  It was a sunny, but chilly and breezy, day.  As I was driving down the frontage road, I saw Gordon's van and his Scout Troop's tents set up on the southwestern part of the lake.  He came over to see us before we started our swim.  I could tell he really wanted to be swimming, but had too much going on with the Scouts to get in.

I took the temperature by the boat ramp and it came out at about 57 to 58 degrees but after getting in, I had to question my thermometer's accuracy.  Jake and I took our time getting ready and playing with my boys.  It was chilly and breezy outside and I was getting a little cold even before getting wet.  I don't think either of us were in a hurry to get in the water.

Finally we decided we had put it off long enough and started wading in.  The water felt icy, and felt a lot colder than 57 or 58 degrees.  I was planning on going all the way around the outside of the lake, but there were two fishermen standing in the shallow part of the lake, blocking our usual path.  Jake wanted to try doing laps around the first island so I decided to do the same.

After I got going, the stinging of the cold water wore of and I started enjoying the swim.  After rounding the island, I decided to keep going so I did another lap.  At the end of the second lap I met Jake and we decided to keep going and swam to the southern pier, to the eastern pier and then back to the ramp.  All in all it was about a mile swim.  I was dreading getting out of the water because I knew I would start shaking and have to try to warm back up.

I love when Harrison comes to watch me swim, because he always stands at the end of the boat ramp and hands me my towel when I get out.  I brought along a couple emergency blankets for Jake and I to test out.  I'm sad to say that they didn't do much to warm me up, but they were good at blocking the wind.  As we were drying off and trying to warm up, a lady from across the way started cheering and clapping.  I wondered what was going on and when I turned around, I realized that she was cheering for us!  "I don't know you guys, but that was a HELL of a job!" she yelled.

Thanks to Jake for getting me to come out today.   I was about to skip this week's swim after a busy day, but I knew Jake would be there so I had to come too.  Luckily my parents and grandma were there to keep an eye on the boys while we swam.  Thanks guys!


First Full Lap of the Year

Tons of birds at Bountiful Lake this afternoon (this was only about half of them).
I wasn't able to meet Gords yesterday for our weekly swim at Bountiful Lake because things were so busy at work.  I haven't missed a week since we started swimming this year and I didn't want to miss this week, so I decided to swim today.  Luckily Gords and Jake decided to come too.

I was the first swimmer to arrive (for a change).  My Grandma was already there when I pulled up, reading a book in her car.  I got changed and dropped in my thermometer and was surprised that it came out at 58 degrees.  When Gords got there he put in his thermometer in a different part of the lake and got a reading of 55 degrees.  It surprises me how much the water temperature can vary and how quickly it can cool down or warm up.  He took his temperature near the boat ramp, where the water comes in from the canal, and I took mine a little further south in a shallow part of the lake and I think that is what cause the difference in readings.

My sister, brother-in-law, nephew and mom and dad all came down to watch us swim today.  Adding my Grandma, we had six spectators today!  Thanks guys for coming to support us!

Even at 55 the water felt cold and it took a few minutes before my face stopped stinging.  Really, that's the worst part of cold water swimming for me.  I can handle the cold on my body and even on my hands and feet, but my face is what really bothers me.

I followed Gords and Jake followed me.  We passed through some cold spots, but also some warmer spots.  Other than my muscles tightening up and my toes going numb, I felt pretty good.  Gords stopped a few times to let me catch up and made a joke about the buddy system as we passed a Scout Group.

I was able to finish pretty strong and, even though it wasn't a fast time at just under 33 minutes, I felt good about swimming my first full lap of the year.  I intentionally withheld Gords' temperature reading from Jake to try to encourage him to swim around the first island, and it worked!  Jake also had his longest open water swim of the year today.  Nice job Sir!

As I was getting out, I looked down at my body to see if my skin was red and was surprised to see that I was covered in "slime".  I don't know if Gords kicked something up as he was getting out and then I swam through it or what, but I was covered head to toe.  I had my sister Jodi take some photos before I washed it off.  After seeing me covered in slime, I don't think she will be getting in the water at Bountiful Lake anytime soon :)

I was shaking more violently than usual after getting out of the water today, but that was to be expected.  I don't understand why I can feel fairly comfortable while in the water, but start shaking like crazy after getting out.  After downing a glass of hot water and sitting in the car with the heater turned up all the way, I was able to recover after a few minutes.

Today was a great swim and was just what I needed after a stressful week of work.  Thanks Gords and Jake for swimming with me and thanks Jod, B, Owen, Gram, Mom and Dad for coming to watch!


Last Chance to Enter to Win a Swim Safety Device From GSLOW

If you haven't heard already, the Great Salt Lake Open Water Swim is giving away a Swim Safety Device (SSD).  I have been using an SSD for the past few weeks at our cold water swims at Bountiful Lake and love it!

All you have to do to enter to win an SSD of your own is go to Active.com and register for the 1 mile race by April 15, 2011 before 6:00pm MST.  The lucky winner will be announced at 7:00pm on April 15 on the GSLOW Facebook page.

While you are registering for the Great Salt Lake swim, you may as well register for the 5th annual Deer Creek Open Water Marathon Swim which will be held August 13.


From 58 degrees to 48 degrees...

After last weeks "warm" swim, I was looking forward to getting back in the water today.  I naively anticipated a water temperature in the low to mid 50's since the air temperature was in the mid 60's.  I couldn't have been more wrong.  Gords' thermometer came up at 48.9 degrees!  That was a 10 degree drop from last week!

This picture doesn't do justice to the waves that were on the lake this afternoon.
Not only was the water much colder than the week before, it was also pretty windy.  Because of these factors, I decided to join Goody and Jake on a 200 yard swim.  When we got to our jump point, the waves from the wind were getting pretty big.  We were all kind of hesitating as we saw Gords come around the first island.  Goody, although he had just told us he was thinking of backing out, was the first one to jump in.  Goody's sister-in-law joked that we had all gone soft after our "luxurious" swim last week.  She was right!  The water was a real shock and I started sprinting as soon as I hit the water.  It took me a while before I could relax and breath normally.

Goody asked me before the swim if the Swim Safety Device (SSD) that Gords and I have been using would hold my weight if I got into trouble in the water.  About halfway to the boat ramp I stopped and floated on the SSD.  I was surprised at how well I floated on it and I am confident that if I ever did get into trouble, that I could hang on to the SSD until I could get help.

This swim hurt.  Even though I was only in the water for a few minutes, it seemed to hurt more than usual when I got out.  My mom and grandma came out to watch today and my mom had my towel waiting for me.  It took me a while to get out of the water because my feet had gone a little numb and I had some trouble picking my way through the rocks.

Gords has good video of his post swim recovery...

All in all, it was a good (although short) swim.  On days like this I am really glad that I have friends and my brother to swim with me.  If I had been on my own today, the cold and wind probably would have got the better of me and I wouldn't have swam.

My new toy...Equinox 10.4 kayak from Costco.
We bought a kayak last week in anticipation of all the swimming I will be doing over the next few years.  We got a Equinox 10.4 at Costco for only $330 (including paddles and car carrying kit) and I really wanted to test it out today.  Sabrina and the boys were going to come out and meet me after Harrison's swimming lesson, but I told them not to come because of the wind.  Oh well, maybe next time...