Gordon Gridley - World Record Great Salt Lake Swim

Gordon Gridley is in the water and on his way to his second world record Great Salt Lake Swim.  This time he will be swimming 19+ miles from Black Rock to White Rock Bay.

After being covered in channel grease, he started wading into the water a little past 8:00am.  The water temperature was 58 degrees, but will likely warm up as the day goes on.

He picked a great day weather-wise and we wish him the best of luck.  I'm hoping to catch up with him again at White Rock Bay to see how he did and get some more pictures...stay tuned!

US Trisports Open Water Clinics at Blackridge Reservoir

US Trisports will be offering two free open water clinics coming up soon at Blackridge Reservoir in Herriman.

The first will be Saturday June 4 at 9:00am and the second will be Wednesday June 8 at 6:30pm.  Registration is free and you can reserve your spot by clicking here.

I have attended swim clinics by US Trisports in the past, and they do a great job.


On Hill Events Tri Clinic at Willard Bay

My friend and Great Salt Lake Open Water partner Gords was asked to help with a triathlon clinic last night that was sponsored by On Hill Events.  I had a lot of fun and was lucky to have him ask me to help out.

On the drive up, the weather was looking sketchy.  I though for sure it was going to rain when we got to Willard Bay.  The clouds were dark and the wind was picking up.  By the end of the evening, it was absolutely beautiful.  The wind died, the clouds cleared and the sun even came out!

When I got to the reservoir, I found Gords and Jim Hubbard and we got things ready to go.  Jim already had his wetsuit on and he and Gords set the buoy that we would be using for the clinic.

I really liked the way this clinic was set up.  The group met together for some prizes and instructions and then split up into three smaller groups that rotated through swim, bike and run "mini clinics" every half hour.  It was much more manageable to have a group of 10 to 12 instead of 35 to 40.  At the end of the "mini clinics", race director Joe Coles had organized a "mini triathlon" so that people could practice the things they had just learned.

Gords went over the basics of open water swimming including how to choose the right goggles, pro's and con's of wetsuits, body lubricants, sighting, swimming straight, starts and finishes and drafting.  He asked me to cover buoy turns following the four steps found in the open water issue of USMS "Swimmer" magazine.

The water was surprisingly warm at about 63 degrees.  We had the swimmers practice starts, swim out to the buoy and then practice buoy turns.  All of the swimmers that I watched did a great job on their turns.

This was the second open water clinic I have been involved with and I loved it.  I'm already looking forward to next week when Gords and I will present our clinic at the Great Salt Lake.

Thanks to Gords for asking me to help (and for plugging the site) and for Jim who brought his buoy and hot chocolate.  Thanks to Joe Coles and On Hill Events for putting together a great clinic.  Thanks to my parents and brother Jake who watched my boys while I helped with the clinic.  And thanks to Har for bringing me my towel :)


Upcoming Open Water Clinics

Several people have been asking me about upcoming open water clinics.  I will do my best to post any clinics that I am aware of here and on the calendar.  If you know of any clinics coming up, please let me know so that I can post the details.

Here are two upcoming clinics:

This is a triathlon clinic sponsored by On Hill Events ahead of their Willard Bay Triathlon.  I like the way this clinic is set up.  The group will be split into three smaller groups and rotate through swim, bike and run "mini-clinics".  At the end of the clinic there will be a non-competitive mini-triathlon.  My friend Gords was asked to head up the open water swimming portion of the clinic and he asked me to help him out.  The clinic is free for USAT members and $10 for non-members.  More details and registration can be found here.

Thursday June 2 - 6:00pm @ Great Salt Lake Marina
Ahead of the Great Salt Lake Open Water Swim, we will be putting on a free open water clinic at the Great Salt Lake Marina.  This would be an excellent opportunity to get in the water and see what it is like before the race on June 11.  We will have dryland instruction and Q&A followed by in-the-water practice.  Entry to the Great Salt Lake Marina is $2 per car.


2.5 Miles in the Great Salt Lake

Warm weather and calm seas...perfect for swimming!  (Antelope Island in the distance)
I met my brother Jake at the GSL Marina yesterday evening for a swim.  It was a beautiful day and the lake was very calm with hardly any wind.  There were several sail boats out on the water and a couple tourists wandering around.

It took us a while to get in the water.  My family came out to watch us swim and to help keep an eye on my boys.

I didn't put my thermometer in, but the water felt really nice.  I am guessing it was in the low 60's.  Can anyone explain to me why salt water feels warmer than freshwater?  I swam in 62 degree water at Sand Hollow last week and it felt much colder than GSL.

We decided to swim from the marina to Black Rock and back which ended up being 2.5 miles.  There were a couple cold spots, but the water was very comfortable.  The water level keeps creeping up with all the late snow melt.  I am keeping my fingers crossed that the water temperature doesn't cool down too much before the Great Salt Lake Open Water Swim with all the runoff.

When we got to Black Rock, there were a bunch of people there.  Some where shooting a gun (is that even legal?) and there were some kids messing around on the rocks.  They must have thought we were crazy.

On the way back I ran into Dave Shearer, Great Salt Lake Harbor Master, near the marina.  He was out on the State Parks boat with his dog.  He asked how it was going and if the water was cold.  I told him it felt great and kept going.

Congrats to Jake for completing his longest open water swim!  My dad got in the water the last two weeks and swam from the marina to the first green buoy and back.  Way to go Dad!

As I was finishing up the swim, my collar bone on my right side started hurting.  This happened once before (at Slam the Dam last year) and I'm not sure what causes it.  Anyone else out there had this same problem?

It was a perfect day to be in the water and I had a lot of fun.  I am getting excited for the Great Salt Lake Open Water Swim!  We have been ordering medals, t-shirts and prizes this week.  I am hoping we get a good weather day on June 11!

Thanks to my family (Jod, B, Owen, Mom, Dad and Gram) for coming out to the lake to watch us and for keeping my boys safe while I swam.  You guys are awesome!


Ironman St. George as a Volunteer

My view of the Ironman St. George swim course.
Last year I took a trip to southern Utah to watch the first Ironman St. George.  I was blown away my the magnitude of the event and determination of the athletes.  This year I went down to volunteer as kayak support for the swim.

I got to Sand Hollow at about 4:15am on Saturday and met up with the 50 or so other kayakers who would be watching over the swimmers.  We were broken up into teams and assigned to specific areas of the course.  I joined a team that was at about the halfway point of the swim.

One of the pro triathletes.
For an open water swim nerd like myself, it was an amazing experience to watch the swimmers from the water.  The elite athletes were amazing.  The looked so fast and smooth in the water.  I counted the stroke rates for the leaders, all of which were above 70 spm.

Lead swimmers following the SUP.
There were some very fast swimmers in the "amateur" group as well.  I was able to help a couple people who were having trouble.  One guy was from New York.  He got a leg cramp and signaled for help.  I pulled my kayak over and let him hang on until he was ready to go (completely legal I might add, since I did not paddle forward).  After the majority of swimmers had passed my area, I was asked to pick a swimmer who was lagging behind and follow them in to the finish.  I followed a guy who was probably in his late 50's.  He would swim 10 to 20 strokes, stop, and then swim 10 or 20 more strokes.  At one point near then end of the swim he stopped and asked to hang on my boat since he had a leg cramp.  The guy was with a group of four or so swimmers who just made it under the cutoff time.  These are the most inspiring athletes to me.  They aren't the pros (we all know they can finish the race), they are the amateurs, the ones who struggle and find a way to push through to the end.  I have never seen someone so determined as a woman swimming in the group with the guy I was keeping an eye on.  She just made the cutoff time, but I could tell that she was giving 100%.

Mass of potential Ironmen (and women).
It was an incredible, inspiring and FUN experience.  I hope to volunteer as kayak support or in some other area next year.

I learned some things from the kayak leader that will be useful for our kayak support team for the Great Salt Lake Marathon Swim.  Speaking of which, we still need a few volunteers to be positioned along the 1 mile course.  All volunteers will get a nice t-shirt in addition to the warm fuzzy feeling that comes from helped someone out.

Of course I had to get in the water to swim.  Unfortunately, with two young boys, I wasn't able to get in the water until 8:30pm.  By that time it was already getting dark and I was only able to swim for about 10 minutes.  The 62 degree water felt refreshing after my kayaking duty, but was a little chilly that late in the evening.  I made the mistake of not wearing a cap and was surprised to get "brain freeze".  I didn't realize what a difference a thin latex cap can make.


Perfect Conditions at the Great Salt Lake

Today was a perfect day for a swim at the Great Salt Lake!  I met Gords, Goody and Brad (from Utah State Parks) at the marina at 4:30.  There was a slight breeze but the water was about as calm as I have ever seen it out there.  Gords and Goody both took the water temperature, which came in right around 60 degrees.  Jake texted me that he was on his way out, but I had a short window for swimming and we had to get going without him.

Brad was there from Utah State Parks to take some photos of us.  His department has been working to help us get some media exposure for the Great Salt Lake Open Water Swim.  He was really helpful and was interested in all the details of the swim.

We decided to go about half a mile and started to wade into the water.  It felt cold at first, but my body got used to it pretty fast.  As usual, Gords was the first one to dive in and start swimming.  We headed west and then turned out of the marina into the open lake.  The water got a little more choppy outside of the marina, but it wasn't nearly as rough as last week.

We followed the line of buoys until we got to the last green one.  We had planned to head in to Silver Sands Beach at this point, but we were all feeling so good that we decided to swim back the way we came.

On the way back, I could feel my neck and armpits start chaffing.  Since we were only planning on doing half a mile I didn't bother putting on BodyGlide or TriSlide, and I wished that I had.

This is a little embarrassing, but I totally missed the turn back into the marina!  My goggles had been fogging up and I was in a really good rhythm.  I saw rocks, so I turned.  After a while I lifted my head to spot and was confused when I couldn't see the boat ramp.  My hand scrapped the bottom and I stopped to take a peek.  I was on the wrong side of the marina!  I missed the entrance!  I waded/walked/ran through the shallow water back towards the entrance to the marina and headed back in.

Jake, my sister, my parents, my nephew and Brad were all at the ramp when I got there and Jake was getting ready to get in the water.  I wished I could have stayed around to swim with Jake and talk to my family, but I had somewhere to be back in Salt Lake.

It was a great day for a swim!  Gords and Goody are planning on going back on Saturday.  I would like to be go with them, but will be in St. George volunteering at Ironman St. George.

Thanks to Brad, Deena and Utah State Parks for all their help!


Group Swim at the Great Salt Lake - Wednesday May 4

Sorry for the late post this week.  This is a busy week for me and I didn't want to post this week's swim without a firm date and time.  Here are the details:

We are swimming at the Great Salt Lake Marina on Wednesday May 4 at 4:30pm.  Next week we will try to push the start time back a little next week so that more people can make it.  The entrance fee is $10 per car (unless you have an annual State Parks pass), so it's a good idea to carpool.

The weather forecast for Wednesday is 62 and partly cloudy.  Last week the water temp was about 55 degrees and according to the Great Salt Lake Marina's website, the water temp is 55 degrees today.

I have been working with Deena Loyola at Utah State Parks about getting some media coverage for the upcoming Great Salt Lake Open Water Swim.  She has been extremely helpful and is sending out one of their photographers to take some pictures of us tomorrow!

Hope to see you there!