The thought of swimming across the 19 mile length of Bear Lake has been in the back of my mind ever since I first started hearing about other swimmers who had done it. This year when I was tagging along on Gords' crossing, the thought came back and has not gone away. Seeing Gords tackle the swim firsthand was an incredibly inspiring experience for me.
Recently, I have been thinking a little more seriously about it. Specifically what type of training plan I would need to follow, what time of year I would make my attempt, what kind of support I would want, etc. I've also been wrestling a little with some doubts.
Regarding the training plan, I found a 12-month plan in Steven Munatones' new book "Open Water Swimming" for a 25K swim. While 25K is a little short of my target distance, it gets me pretty close and gives me a good idea of how many yards I ought to be swimming each month and what specific skills I should be working on at each stage of training. For the month of November, I should be at about 15,000 yards a week.
This summer is shaping up to be a busy one. As of right now the best times for me to try the Bear Lake swim would be the end of July or the end of August. Depending on the weather and water temp, I might even be able to push it to the first of September. I will need to research typical water temperatures during those times and take another look at my calendar later next year.
As for support, I think two kayaks worked well when I was part of Gords' support team. I might also look into getting a boat because I think at least some of my family might like to come along as spectators. I will definitely want pace swimmers to help motivate me during the swim. Gords and Goody would be my top picks for pace swimmers. If Jake is up to it, I'd also like to have him come along.
This swim will be quite a bit longer than any other open water swim I have done, and I'm not sure how I will handle it mentally. I think having a support crew and pace swimmers will help a lot mentally. The physical training doesn't have me too worried, it's just a matter of sticking to the plan and getting in the yardage I need to.
Another doubt that keeps creeping in is the muscle pain in my right collor bone area. It seems to be getting better and I only really start feeling it if I swim very hard. I'm not planning on setting any records on this swim, so hopefully by swimming my normal, steady pace, I can avoid the pain and finish the swim.
There are still a lot of things I need to work out, and a lot will depend on how my training goes, but as of right now I'm planning on going for it!