11.23.2011

Pre-Thanksgiving Polar Bear Swim



Today's polar bear swimmers.  Left to Right: Jake, Josh, Goody and Gords

The weekly Wasatch Front Polar Bear Club swim was moved up to this afternoon due to it being Thanksgiving tomorrow.  Today's swimmers were Gords, Goody, Jake and myself.

After meeting in the parking lot, we got out things together and headed down to the boat ramp.  As usual, we got mixed readings on the thermometers.  The temperature was somewhere between about 48 and 49 degrees.

Look at that snow!
Goody's wife and two girls were there to cheer him on and took some pictures of us before we got in the water.

Gords starting his swim. (I love this picture!)
Gords was the first one in with a goal of doing two laps (about 700 yards total).  With little hesitation, he got in and took off.  From my view on the dock, he looked strong the whole way.  He finished the swim in a little under 10 minutes and then stayed in a bit longer.

Goody warming up before starting his swim.
Goody got in the water as Gords was heading back to the ramp on his second lap.  He tried running in place again until he got his breathing under control and then swam out to the marina entrance and back.

Me coming into the boat ramp.
I was up next and wanted to see if I could do two laps too.  Although the water was cold, it didn't feel as bad as I expected.  I finished my first lap and felt pretty good so I headed out to the marina entrance again.  On my second lap I watched a sailboat come into the marina.  They must have thought we were nuts!  After watching the Winter Swimming documentary and seeing many of the swimmers doing breaststroke, I though I would give it a try.  Although slower, you face stays a lot warmer and you are able to breath a little easier.  I switched back to freestyle and finished the swim.  I tried to do a stroke of butterfly at the end and I'm sure it looked pretty pathetic.  My arms were tightening up and if felt like I barely got them out of the water.  My total time in the water was 10:45.

Jake finishing his longest cold water swim.
Jake was the last one in.  I'm impressed at how he pushes himself.  Of all of us, it must be hardest on him because he has metal plates in his head.  I can't imagine how much that must hurt!  He swam a combination of head's up free and breaststroke to keep his head out of the water.  He swam out to the marina entrance and back.

I think all of us set new personal records for distance and time in the water at this temperature!  Although I felt pretty good at the end of my swim, I have serious doubts about being able to join the IISA with a 1 mile swim in 41 degrees or below water.  After today, it seems incomprehensible.  I have a new found respect for swimmers like Lynne Cox, Lewis Pugh, Ram Barkai and Jack Bright.

Shirley wasn't able to be there to film us for her documentary, Evaporating Shorelines, which was a bummer.  I think I am going to take a shot at making a short documentary about our club myself.  I have pictures and video from almost all of our swim so far.  Look for it at the end of polar bear season!