Great Salt Lake Open Water Marathon Swim - Saturday

One mile swimmers making their way through the marina to the starting buoy.

Saturday was an amazing, and stressful, day!  I woke up at about 5:00am to drive down the the marina to meet Gords and the 8.12 mile swimmers for their safety meeting and to raffle off some prizes donated by our sponsors.  It was fun to talk to the swimmers and see how excited they were about the swim.
Gords giving instructions to the 8 mile swimmers.
Gords gave some final instructions as well as a short history of the marathon swims of the past.  He was really well organized and I could tell he was excited for the race to actually be happening after so much planning.

We got the swimmers loaded up into the vans and sent them off to Antelope Island.  As soon as they left, Jake and I started setting things up for the 1 mile swim.  We talked to a lot of sailors and some people from the Hawaiian canoe club.  They were all really interested in the event and had a lot of questions.

At around 10:00am we started checking swimmers in.  It was really exciting to meet the people who would be swimming and to talk to them about the race and what to expect.

There was a pretty good sized crowd by the time we were ready to start.  We had a quick meeting (maybe too quick...) with the support paddlers and got them into the water and on their way to the course.

Next we had a meeting with all the swimmers.  There was a crowd of about 50 people at the observation deck by that time.  I gave some final instructions and advice and answered as many questions as I could.  Dave Shearer also gave some instructions for getting out of the marina and to the starting buoy safely.

Steve Spencer showing the last trophy his father, Orson Spencer, won.
I had the honor of introducing Steve Spencer, son of legendary GSL swimmer Orson Spencer, who told about his dad and his swimming career.  Steve had brought along some photos, newspaper articles, awards and a trophy for everyone to see.  He did an amazing job and got a lot of cheers when he finished.  We were lucky to have Steve and his family there and hope that we will be able to have them come out every year.  We are hoping to be able to post video of his presentation soon.

After Steve finished his presentation, the swimmers walked down to the boat ramp and starting making their way to the starting buoy.  It was a lot of fun to hear their reactions as I walked along the path to where I would be starting the race from.  Everyone seemed to be having a great time.

One of the Utah State Parks boats was in the marina (I assume with Dave on board) making sure that everyone made it out safe.  It took a little while for all the swimmers to make it to the starting buoy.  I was relieved to see that the buoys we had placed the night before had not moved and it was reassuring to see all the paddlers lined up along the course.

Start of the 1 mile race.
Once the last swimmer made it to the starting buoy, I had Steve count down from 10 and we started the race.  From there it was a mad dash to jump in a van and drive down to Black Rock.  My family was amazing and had packed everything up and were already on their way to Black Rock.  I took a couple of the lifeguards in the van with me and I had a good time talking to them about the swim and answering their questions.  We could see the swimmers making their way down the course as we drove down the gravel road to Black Rock.

My family had already set up the tent and food by the time I got there which was a huge relief.  We got everything ready to record the times as the swimmers came in and got the medals and awards ready to go as well.

It was exciting to see the first swimmers come it!  There were mixed reactions when I asked them how it went, but overall I think everyone had a great time.  It was a swim that they will not soon forget!  When the last of the swimmers came in, I was finally able to relax a little bit.  This was the first open water swim for several of the participants and I was happy to see that they all were able to finish.

I got some interviews with a bunch of swimmers as they were coming out.  The major complaint was the salt water in their mouths (which was to be expected).  Hopefully we will be posting some of those videos on the website soon.

We held a raffle with more prizes donated by our sponsors and then I took a van full of swimmers back to the marina.  Many of them told me how thankful they were that we put this race together and offered some good suggestions about how to make it better for next year.

1 mile swimmers.
Here are the official results for the 1 mile swim:

After dropping them off at the marina, I made my way back to Black Rock to wait for the 8 mile swimmers to come in.  Gords had called me a few times to tell me that they were getting close.  Will Reeves was the first to finish.  This was no surprise to many of us.  Will is an amazingly fast swimmer and was happy that one of our local swimmers won the race.

Antelope to Black Rock Swimmers.
We watched the rest of the swimmers finish and I was able to get video interviews with all of them.  I was exciting to see the camaraderie that had developed among them over such a short time period.  The 8 mile swimmers compared stories, and tongues, before heading back to the marina.

Here are the official results for the 8.12 mile swim:

Clean-up took a while and I think I finally got home around 8:00pm.  I am so thankful for all the swimmers (who all finished!), volunteers and sponsors who made this event happen.  A HUGE thanks to my family who spent the whole day at the lake and helped me with everything from set-up, check-in, photos, setting up buoy, food prep, transportation, etc.  We couldn't have done it without your help!  I think Gords and I make a pretty good team and I had a lot of fun working with him on this project and look forward to many more years putting on the race with him.

We are already looking at June 9, 2012...who's in?


gpagmalove2u said...

Thank you Josh & Gords. Great Successful Adventure. I've written a personal jornal story. Looking forward to next yr. And you two make a great team! Words fall short of the unique positive experience I had. THANK YOU to all! including your family, the paddelers.

Josh said...

Thank you for your kind words and for participating in the swim!