SLOW Awards Banquet

I spent an incredibly fun evening with a hot date and the Salt Lake Open Water team last night at the SLOW Awards Banquet.

The banquet was at Buca di Beppo downtown.  Gords was able to get us a nice space that worked really well for the our group.  There were about 20 people in attendance, and I know there were several more who wanted to be able to come.

After a welcome by SLOW President, Gordon Gridley, I presented a brief overview of the year.  When we formed the club, we were hoping to get 15 people to sign up.  We ended up with nearly 30 and have already added a couple new swimmers for next year.

In the last year we had quite a few visitors from out of state, and out of country.  We also had a good amount of publicity on KSL, Fox13, Deseret News, NPR, High Country News and H2Open Magazine.

This year we saw several swimmers make huge improvements in their swimming.  We saw several big accomplishments including four Utah Triple Crown swimmers, two Catalina channel swims, and once ice mile swim.  We also welcomed new swimmers to the sport of open water swimming.

Thanks to Rachel Wagner, we have put out five issues of what I think is a pretty awesome newsletter.

We watched a great year-in-review slideshow that Gordon put together.  You can watch the whole thing below:


Goody gave an emotional talk about overcoming cancer and how SLOW members supported him and helped him get through it.  Joelle gave a brief talk about her Catalina Channel swim and her future plans.

Next, we gave out four Utah Triple Crown awards to: Sue Frehse, Will Reeves, Tammy Taylor and Michell Poole.

We asked for nominations for four other awards.  The winners were as follows:

Volunteer of the Year - Chad Starks
Most Improved Swimmer - Tanya Harris
Best Sportsman - Josh Green
Good Will Ambassador - Goody Tyler

Special recognition was given to Michelle Poole, who we officially "adopted" into the SLOW family.  Michelle lives in Colorado but travels to all of our events and made a special trip to be with us at the awards banquet.

The highlight of the evening was the Lifetime Achievement Award which was given to Jim Hubbard.  The board took turns talking about Jim and thanking him for all he has done for open water swimming in Utah.

Chad donated a kayak that was raffled off (and won by Sue).

It was a really fun evening and I really love our team.  We have some big ideas for next year and I can't wait to see what we can accomplish before next year's banquet.


Gordon's Ice Mile

This afternoon I met Gordon, the rest of his support crew, family, friends, SLOW teammates and others at the Great Salt Lake Marina.  Today was the day he would do his ice mile swim to raise money for the Utah Food Bank.

It was snowing lightly as the crowd started to gather.  I dropped in my thermometer along with three or four others.  Mine came out the highest by far at 37 degrees.  All the others, including the official Utah State Parks temperature, ranged from about 33 to 35 degrees.  This was much colder than I think Gordon was planning on.  Just a few days earlier when we were there, it was 41 degrees on the dot.  It's been really cold, but I didn't expect the water temp to drop so far, so fast.

After a briefing by Goody and a prayer by Cathi, Gordon got in his van and got changed and ready to go.  He came out quickly and I'm afraid I missed the start of his swim because I didn't have my camera ready to go when he dove in.  He took off extremely fast.  His stroke rate was around 84 spm on the first lap.

I knew he would do two laps no problem, but wondered how he would hold up at such a cold temperature for the last two laps.  His stoke rate dropped to the mid 70's on the second and third laps.  At one point he had to stop to fix his goggles, which I'm sure was frustrating.  The last thing you want to do is stop.

On the third lap he seemed to be slowing down a bit.  He still looked strong on the last lap, but I could tell it was getting tough.  His stroke rate dropped to around 70 (which is still higher than he normal rate).

The plan once he finished was to go immediately into the van and turn things over to Chad, an EMT, to take care of him and help him recover.  He had some trouble getting out of the water (which is to be expected at such cold temperatures).  Chad was awesome!  He took control and knew exactly what he was doing and what Gordon needed.  He was in incredibly good hand throughout his recovery.

People keep asking me if I'll ever do an ice mile.  The answer is absolutely NO!  The reason is I have seen two people, Goody and Gordon, go through the recovery and it honestly scares me.  Both of them have said that the recovery is harder than the actual swim.  I have a huge amount of respect for anyone who gives it a try, but it's not for me.

It took about an hour for Gordon to recover.  That included being bundled up in a heated van with hot water bottles and, later, a shower.

It was an incredible swim and I am glad to have had a small part in it.  He had a great support crew and family support.  Someone from Fox13 was there shooting video and I hope to see the story soon.

Congrats Gords!

Click here for Gordon's own account.


Chilly Swim and Shakey Recovery

I met Gordon at the GSL Marina this afternoon for a WFPBC swim.  The water temp on my thermometer read 51 degrees before we got in.  At the end of the swim, Gordon's thermometer said 49.

Gordon was going for 4 laps (1 mile) in anticipation of his ice mile coming up. I was just going fo time, with a goal of 30 minutes.

It took me a minute and a half to get over the cold shock and get my breathing under control. After about 6 minutes, I was feeling "comfortable".  After about 10 minutes my hands and feet stopped hurting and felt warm.

I puttered around, keeping an eye on Gords until he finished his last lap.  I was starting to shiver after about 20 minutes and decided to get out at 27 minutes instead of push it any further. It's only my second cold water swim of the season after all.

The shivering was pretty bad and took me about 20 minutes to stop. I really hate the recovery.

I'm hoping to meet Goody out there again tomorrow.  I've got to get acclimated for the New Year's Swim.


First Cold Swim of the Polar Bear Season

I met Gords, Goody and Jim at the marina this afternoon for a Wasatch Front Polar Bear Club swim.  This was my first open water swim since September, when the water was still in the 70's.  I was hoping for water in the 60's or high 50's for my first time in, but Jim was getting readings of 56 (and later 54).

I haven't been acclimating myself as well as last year and the first step in the water made me question if what I was doing was really a good idea.  It took me several minutes (much longer than last year) to get past the cold shock before I could calm down and get "comfortable".

Gordon took off swimming, while Goody, Jim and I did head-up breaststroke and floated on our backs.

When we got out near the marina entrance, there was a sailboat coming out, being pushed by a smaller boat.  The water is so low, they got stuck for quite a while. Eventually they made it out. I don't know how they were going to get back in...

On the way back to the ramp, two guys were backing their boat down. Since we were in the water, they asked us to help push their boat over to the dock. I had just started shivering at this point, and Goody and I pushed their boat to the dock before getting out.

The recovery wasn't as bad as I thought.  I spent about 30 minutes in the water. Not bad for my first day.


Driven: A Glimpse Inside the World of Marathon Swimming

I got my copy of Driven: A Glimpse Inside the World of Marathon Swimming in the mail yesterday.  I couldn't wait to get the kids to bed so that I could watch it in peace.

I have to say, it is really well done and gives some great insight into the marathon swimming world and why people do the swims they do.  It was fun to see some people in the film that I have met in person.

If you get a chance, I highly recommend checking it out. You can watch the trailer below or order a DVD or digital download here. I'd also be willing to lend my copy to anyone in the SLC area.

Driven Trailer from Element 8 Productions on Vimeo.


Great Salt Lake in September

I had been planning to swim from Antelope Island to Black Rock this morning. After a conversation with the Harbormaster about the anticipated high winds, I decided to listen to his advice and cancel it. The wind was forecasted to blow fairly hard from south to north, which is exactly opposite of what I needed. There were all kinds of high wind warnings on the marina website. I don't know what a "negative storm swell" is, but it sounds bad.

Sue had volunteered to paddle for me for on the long swim. Since cancelling, we decided to go out to the marina anyway for a quick swim.

The water was nice. September is a really nice time to be out in the lake. The bugs are gone and the water temperature is still warm.

We swam out along the buoy line to the last red buoy. The wind was pushing us a little on the way out and we fought it a but on the way back. As we were getting back to the marina, the wind picked up and started making the water spray. I stopped just short of the boat ramp and Sue bumped into me ("head butted my butt" as she put it). I thought it was pretty funny. There were a few tour busses pulling up as we got out. All said, I think we did about 1.5 miles.

The water was so nice, Sue and I were talking about the possibility of organizing another GSL race in September, or at least a SLOW club swim. Sue suggested Saltair to Black Rock, which sounds like a lot of fun.


Going Back to the Great Salt Lake

A beautiful sight.  Looking east from the Great Salt Lake Marina.

Looking at my calendar last night, I realized that this coming Saturday is my last shot this year for completing the Utah Triple Crown.  I did Bear Lake in July and Deer Creek in August, but I still need to do Antelope Island to Black Rock at the Great Salt Lake.

I've been avoiding the GSL during the hot summer months because the water it too warm and there are too many bugs.  This morning I went out to the marina to see what the water was like.  Walking down to the boat ramp I saw a cloud of bugs and thought "oh great".  The water level was pretty low and there was some scummy stuff near the shore.  I figured it would be better out in the open lake, so I dropped my thermometer in and headed out.

There were some bugs on the surface of the water in the marina, but nothing too bad.  There were also some pretty cold spots inside the marina.  Once I got out into the open lake, things got 100 times better.  The water was perfectly flat and glassy and the reflection of the rising sun made the water look pink.  There were no bugs and the water temperature was significantly warmer, I'm guessing at least 74 degrees.  I was really encouraged and excited and started out for the first buoy.

I ended up following the red buoys, counting my strokes, for half a mile.  I stopped part way through just to enjoy being in the water and watch the sun coming up.  After half a mile, I turned around and headed back.

This photo doesn't really capture how many tourists were there this morning.  Eight tour buses!

The water temp dropped again when I got back into the marina.  When I lifted my head to sight, I saw a MASSIVE crowd of people milling around the boat ramp.  As I got closer, I could see several tour buses.  I collected my thermometer (which showed 70 degrees) and headed to the hose to rinse off.  The hose was being used by a couple tour bus drivers to wash their buses so I had to hang around in my speedo in a crowd of tourists until it was free.  A few people came up and asked about swimming in the lake.  After rinsing off I hopped in my car to leave.  I counted eight tour buses on the way out!  I've never seen that many buses or tourists there before.  The visitors center and gift shop are now open and I wanted to go in and check it out, but I'll wait until I have more time.

This morning I am going to try to get a hold of Dave Shearer, Harbormaster at the GSL Marina, to see if he can take me and a paddler to Antelope Island on Saturday morning so that I can finish the Utah Triple Crown.  I'm also looking for a paddler if anyone is interested.  It should take me about four hours to finish and I'll buy you lunch afterwards.


Longest Open Water Swim

Today I finally made my goal of swimming 10 miles at Deer Creek!  It's something that I have been wanting to do for the last couple of years, and it just hasn't worked out.  After missing out on swimming last Saturday with everyone else, several people offered to paddle for me another day.  Sue was the first one to offer, so she was the first one I asked.  Luckily things worked out that she could paddle for me today.

We met a little before 8am and got the kayak loaded up.  We ran into Justin Stewart and a couple other guys as we were getting ready on the boat ramp and they wished us well.

The water felt great and the weather was nice.  Swimming down the bay in the glassy, morning water is one of my favorite things to do.  I planned to swim the Deer Creek 10 mile course and hug the shore to make sure I got in a full 10 miles.  Everyone I saw at the race cut a few corners and I was more interested in getting a solid 10 miles than I was getting a particular time.

Sue had never paddled for someone before and she was excited to give it a try.  She did an excellent job and stayed right at my 11 and 1 (depending on which side she was on) which is perfect for me.  

We talked a little beforehand about my feeds.  The plan was to go 1 hour with no feeds and then every 45 minutes after that.  I had three bottles of Perpetuem, some gels, squeezable apple sauce and ibuprofen.

Other than dodging a few fishing boats, the first half was pretty uneventful.  On the way back things took a turn for the worse.  Last Saturday the swimmers got a little help from wind pushing them back towards Wallsburg Bay.  Not today.  Between Rainbow Bay and Wallsburg Bay I felt like I wasn't going anywhere.  I knew I was past due for a feed, but I wanted to get the hell out of the wind and chop and into the bay.  It was exhausting.  Finally I had to stop outside of the bay to get a feed and some ibuprofen.

Once we got back into the bay, things settled down quite a bit.  Sue let me know that we would have to do a loop around the buoy line to make up for not going across the boat ramp near the island.  I guess she had talked to the ranger and told him what we were going to do and he told her that we couldn't cross the boat ramp.  By this time my arms were getting pretty tired, but I wanted to get a solid 10 miles so I did a loop of the buoys before heading to the end of the bay.

I took my last feed at the end of the bay and headed back towards the boat ramp.  Sue let me know that we were going to be short of 10 miles and needed to do two more buoy loops.  I just about said "forget it" but I knew I would regret it, so I did two laps of the buoys.  As I was coming in from my second loop, I saw Sabrina and my boys on the shore.  I waved weakly, and kept plugging along to the finish.

I was so happy to be done!  I haven't done a ton of swimming the last couple weeks and I definitely felt it.  Next year I will be more prepared.  My GPS had a freak-out before we finished and I'm not positive of my total distance.  My longest open water swim before today was 9.25 miles and I am 100% sure that I was over that today.  I finished in 5:16, which is quite a bit slower than I was shooting for.  Considering the crappy conditions in a couple spots, I'm just happy I finished.

Thank you to Sue for volunteering to give up her Saturday and paddle for me all morning.  She did an excellent job keeping me safe, getting my feeds ready (shaking up my drinks, opening gels and apple sauces, and getting my ibuprofen), taking tons of photos and videos, and encouraging me when things got tough.  She was in the perfect position the whole time and kept me away from the jerks on their fishing boats.

After today's swim, I am one swim away from the Utah Triple Crown, which consists of swimming 8 mile from Antelope Island to Black Rock at the Great Salt Lake, 7 miles across Bear Lake, and 10 miles at Deer Creek all in one year.  I have already swam Bear Lake and now Deer Creek.  If I can find a good day to swim Great Salt Lake, I will see if I can work it out.


Gordon's Catalina Swim

The last couple days have been a whirlwind of driving, almost puking, sleeping and swimming.

I drove down to Long Beach with Jim and Connie on Tuesday morning.  We left just before 6am and drove pretty much straight to the marina where we would board the Outrider, the boat that would be piloting Gordon across the channel.

After arriving, we met up with Sue and Goody for a quick dinner.  They noticed that I was acting strange and I blame the motion sickness patch I had put on in the car on the way down.  It made me feel a little drowsy and gave me a dry mouth.

After we ate, we all drove over to the marina and met up with Gordon and his family.  He had made each of us a cool shirt to commemorate the swim.  The two observers and paddler showed up not long after we got there and we all headed down to load up the boat.

We had to wait for a while for the crew to show up and we used that time to go over the official rules as well as Gordon's detailed plan for his swim and what he expected each of us to do.  Once the crew showed up, we were off.

I didn't feel nearly as sick as last year when we were there for Goody's swim.  The patch was definitely working.  I took the opportunity to go below deck and sleep on the way over.  When we were about 30 minutes away, Gordon started getting ready to swim.  He jumped off the boat with no hesitation and swam to shore.  After signaling his start, he was off.  I stayed up for the first couple of feeds and then went back to sleep.

I got up after a while and Sue and I took over feeds.  She prepared them and I tossed them in.  Gordon looked strong and smooth in the water.  His stroke rate averaged between about 66 and 69.

When it got light (it never really got sunny), Jacob hopped in the kayak to give Tom a break.  Sue seemed eager to get in the water and got her suit on.  She swam for 30 minutes with Gordon and loved it.  It looked like she was smiling while she was swimming.

After another feed cycle, I jumped in the water to swim for 30 minutes.  The water felt cool and I was tempted to just start swimming fast.  I had to be careful not to get ahead of Gords and get him in trouble with the observers.  The water was amazing.  It looks deceptively gray/black when looking down from the boat.  Once you get in the water it's dark blue in color and you can see forever.  It was fun to see Gordon and the boat at one side, the kayak on the other, and small sea creatures below me.  Once my time was up, I swam back to the boat and climbed in.

Gords seemed to be in good spirits until he got a leg cramp with about 2 nautical miles to go.  He asked us not to tell him how far he had gone except for one "treat" after he was more than halfway.  We though that letting him know how close he was would help him get through the cramp and pick it up to the end.  

At one point we saw a big pod of dolphins.  They got pretty close to us and it was fun to watch them gliding and jumping through the water.  We tried to get Gordon's attention so he could see them, but he was focused on swimming.

Tom, the paddler, came aboard as we got closer.  They though they had secured his kayak to the back of the boat, but we noticed it was drifting away behind us.  The captain would not leave Gordon and told him that he would have to swim back to the kayak before finishing.  I can't imagine what a crushing blow that must have been.  Luckily, Goody stepped up and offered to swim back and get it, leaving Gordon to keep heading to shore with the boat.  We were all watching Goody and he caught up to the kayak, which was drifting further and further away.  Once he climbed aboard, he paddled back and staying on the water with Gordon to the next feed.

We let Gordon know when he had about 30 minutes left and Goody, Sue, Jacob and I got changed so that we could swim in to shore with him.  With only a couple hundred yards to shore, we all jumped in and swam in behind him.  Gords pulled himself out on to shore and cleared the water.  He beat his goal time of 12 hours by 10 minutes!  Gordon's kids and parents were there on shore to see him finish.  Joelle was also there to see him.  After a quick celebration and some photos, we all got back into the water and swam to the boat.  Goody had arranged to have a plateful of chicken nuggets waiting for Gordon when he got back.

After getting back to shore, Gordon took us all out for lunch.  I had a great time being part of a pretty awesome support crew and seeing my friend make his goal.  It was really cool to see how many people were following him online and tracking his progress.  He has inspired many people and I am sure he will continue to inspire more.

You can read Gordon's own account here and see the official observers log here.


Deer Creek Open Water Marathon Swim - Report

This past Saturday was the 7th annual Deer Creek Open Water Marathon Swim.  I had entered the 10-mile race and was feeling good about my training up to the day of the race.  The weather and water conditions looked like they would be perfect.

After checking in, Sabrina and I drove down to the boat ramp to unload the kayak.  After getting all our stuff out of the van and into the kayak we waited around and talked to the other swimmers.  This is one of the few times a year I get to see a lot of these swimmers and I had fun talking to them before the race.

With about 15 minutes to the start of the race, Michelle Poole from Colorado came up to me and told me her paddlers was not there.  We looked around for her paddler and made some announcements over the PA, but still couldn't find her.  I knew how much Michelle had been looking forward to swimming the 10-mile race.  She had traveled so far and had already spent money on renting a car, accommodations, etc.  We tried to find her another paddler, but that's a big commitment (5 hours) for someone who didn't come ready to paddle.  In the end, I decided to postpone my 10 mile swim to paddle for her.  I quickly switched gears from swim prep to kayak prep and got in the water just seconds before the 10 mile start.  Special thanks to Karl for letting me borrow his hat!

Michelle took off pretty fast and went back and forth between 3rd and 4th place for the first five miles.  I had her feeds all ready to go, but she refused them until she got to the turnaround.  At the turnaround, she was passed by Sue and fell into fifth place.  On the way back, I could tell that she was losing steam.  I offered her feeds several times, but she refused most of them.  Finally, I got her to take a feed and she seemed to pick up her pace.  With about 1 mile to go, I got her to take one more feed and she really picked it up, finishing under 5 hours.

An interesting side note, I saw someone get baptized between Rainbow Bay and Deer Creek Island Resort.  Pretty cool!

I had a lot of fun paddling for Michelle and talking to the other paddlers out on the water.  The weather was perfect and the water was beautiful.  It was awesome to see my friends complete their goals and finish their races.  I heard nothing but good things about the race.  Jim and Connie did a great job as usual.  I really appreciate all the work they do to keep this race going.

After the race, several people stepped up and offered to paddle for me another day so I could still get my 10 mile swim.  As of right now, it looks like I'll be doing my swim this coming Saturday with Sue as my paddler.  Thanks Sue!  Before that though, I'm headed to Long Beach for Gordon's Catalina swim.  I can't wait to see him conquer another channel swim.


Five Swimmers, Two Laps

I met Lisa, Kevin, Karl and Goody at Jordanelle this morning.  It was a nice morning, but it is starting to get a little chilly up there at 6am.

Goody called me up to his car and gave me a bunch of Cliff Bars.  He doesn't like the macadamia nut flavor and knows that I do.  I don't eat them during my swims, but I do like to have one before I get in the water on a long swim.  Thanks buddy!  When I walked back down the boat ramp, Kevin, Lisa and Karl were already in the water and making their way to the third buoy.

I didn't waste any time getting in the water.  It always feels cold until I get to the first buoy and then I'm fine.  Starting this early in the morning, before the sun comes out, the air temperature is cooler than the water which makes it feel colder than it really is.

My plan was to swim two laps.  On the first lap, I saw the other swimmers at different spots but didn't stop to chat.  I love it when the sun comes up at the end of the first loop, it's such a mental boost.  The second lap was perfect.  On the last half I tried picking up the pace every third buoy and I think I might try to work in some more "fast" swimming intervals then next time I go up.  Maybe sprint for one buoy, take it easy for two, and repeat the whole way.

When I got out, the water temperature was 70 degrees.  It was up as high as 72  a week or so ago, but the weather has cooled down a little bit.  Goody was planning on doing a longer swim and was still going when I left.

I'm looking forward to swimming again on Friday (not sure where yet) and the SLOW clinic at Deer Creek on Saturday.


How to Make a PVC Kayak Cart

When we were at the Bear Lake Monster Swim a couple weeks ago, we noticed a guy with a kayak cart made out of PVC.  What a great idea!  When I got home, I looked up some plans on Instructables and Sabrina bought me all the materials for my birthday.  Last night I finally got around to putting it together.

My main kayak is a Lifetime Manta sit-on-top and I customized the plans I found online to specifically fit this kayak.  I love this kayak because it has plenty of room for my whole family and, when I am paddling for swimmers, it has plenty of space for gear and feeds and for me to stretch out.  The only drawback is that it is big and heavy and really awkward to carry.  This year was especially tough at the Great Salt Lake Open Water Swim as Mark and I carried it 1/2 mile down a hill, across rocks, and through thick mud.  With this cart, the kayak is easier to move with one person than it is with two people carrying it.

On to the plans...

Here is the link to the instructions I referred to, and modified.

About $50

2 - 10" wheels
2 - 1/2" x 4" hex bolts
6 - 1/2" washers
4 - 1/2" nuts
2 - ABS cleanout plug
2 - 1-1/2" PVC female adapter
4 - 1-1/2" PVC "T" joints
4 - 1-1/2" PVC caps
1 - Pool noodle
1 - 10' section of 1-1/2" PVC

Some of the parts needed to build a kayak cart.

Drill (with various bits up to 1/2 inch)
Serrated knife (bread knives work well)
PVC primer and glue
Hot glue gun (optional)

Build the wheels:Drill progressively larger holes into the center of the cleanout plugs.  You will end up with a 1/2 inch hole and your bolts should slide through.

The wheel assembly should go like this: bolt, washer, wheel, washer, clean-out plug.  After you fit these pieces together, you can fill in the square space of the clean-out with hot glue to keep water, sand, etc, from getting inside.  Finish off the wheel assembly with another washer and two bolts.

Outside wheel assembly.
Optional hot glue to keep water, sand, etc out.

Wheel assembly.

Finished wheel assembly.

Cut the following lengths of PVC (for a Lifetime Manta kayak)
1 - 5 3/4"
2 - 2 3/4"
2 - 6 3/4"
4 - 13"

Cut lengths of 1 1/2" PVC

Dry fit the pieces together
Before you glue the pieces together, dry fit them and put it under your kayak to make sure everything looks good.  If needed, make modifications before you glue.

Glue the pieces together
At this point you can prime and glue the pieces together.  You can also leave some of the connections un-glued so that you can take the cart apart for storage.

Add the "pads"
Cut the pool noodle into 10" sections with the bread knife and then cut down the length of one side so that it will fit over the PVC bars.  Fit the pads onto the cart and secure with zip ties (optional).

Section of pool noodle "pad"

Enjoy the hassle free transport of your kayak!

This is Going to Make My Life Much Easier


Tour of Lakes - Report

"Tour of Lakes" swimmers.  L to R: Nathan, Gary, Josh, Gordon, Karl, Joelle, Jim, Kaitlin, Goody

Yesterday we finished up the first annual "Tour of Lakes".  It was a whirlwind trip of swimming and driving that took about 12 hours to finish.

5:00am at my house.  L to R: Karl, Josh, Nathan, Kaitlin, Gary

Most of the eight swimmers met at my house early Saturday morning.  We were loaded up and on the road a little after 5am.  Gordon had left his 12-passenger van at my house the day before and I drove it up to Layton to pick him and Joelle, the last two swimmers, up.  We ended up at the first stop 30 minutes earlier than planned and, by the end of the day, ended up over 2 hours ahead of schedule.

Following is a breakdown of each of the eight lakes and my experience there.

1 - Causey Reservoir.  This place is awesome!

1 - Causey Reservoir - 6:35am to 7:38am
Temperature: 70 degrees
Distance: 1.41 miles
Water: Very clear, blue-green water
Weather: Slightly overcast
Suit: Flower Power
I had never been to Causey Reservoir before and was excited to try it out.  This place is awesome!  The water was 70 degrees and felt very nice once we got in.  Causey is popular for cliff jumping and we swam over to some cliffs to start of the "Tour".  Most of us took a jump off a small cliff before beginning our 30 minute swim.  We swam down one of the "arms" of the reservoir until we ran out of water and then swam back.  Joelle, Gordon, Kaitlin and I were all pretty close to each other.  Gordon and I had talked about how it would be cool to do a documentary about the day and, on our way back to shore, he asked if he could interview me.  As we were getting out, I notice a ton of small little fish near the edge of the water.  I told a few people afterwards that I already knew this was going to be my favorite swim of the day.

2 - Pineview.  Warm water, lots of boats.

2 - Pineview Reservoir - 8:00am to 8:55am
Temperature: 76 degrees
Distance: 0.93 miles
Water: Clear, green-blue in color
Weather: Partly cloudy, dark clouds developing as we finished
Suit: Polka Dot
There were already quite a few boat on the water when we pulled in to Pineview.  The water felt much warmer than Causey.  We swam out from shore to the line of buoys, followed the buoys to the opposite shore and then turned back.  My arms were feeling tight until we got to the first buoy, and then I started to loosen up.  On the way back, I noticed Karl still swimming out towards the far shore.  He missed the turnaround time by accident and Gary and I waited for him to finish at the shore before heading off to the next lake.  Gordon interviewed Joelle before we left.

3 - East Canyon Reservoir.  Mud and rain.

3 - East Canyon Reservoir - 9:45am to 10:45am
Temperature: 72 degrees
Distance: 1.12 miles
Water: Somewhat murky
Weather: Overcast, rain as we were leaving
Suit: Square Leg
We decided not to in to the State Park to avoid the crowds and also to save time.  Instead we pulled off into a dirt parking lot and walked down a pretty steep hill to get to the shore.  All of the lakes are much lower than normal, most at about 60% to 70% of capacity.  We had to walk through quite a bit of mud to get to the water to start swimming.  There were a few paddle boards in the water, but all the boat and jetskis were out in the main part of the lake.  We swam out to the wakeless buoys, followed them across the bay and then added a little extra distance before heading back.  As we were getting out, it started to rain.  Gordon interviewed Nathan before we climbed back up to the van.  I had brought along a cooler of water and we used it to wash the mud off of our feet before loading up in the van.

4 - Echo Reservoir.  There's water here somewhere...

This about sums up our experience at Echo.

4 - Echo Reservoir - 10:59am to 12:04pm
Temperature: 72 degrees
Distance: 0.97 miles
Water: Very murky, visibility of a couple inches.  It was a little better when the water got deeper.
Weather: Overcast
Suit: Utah Open Water
We knew ahead of time that this was probably going to be the worst swim of the trip.  The water level is extremely low.  In fact, when we pulled up to were we were supposed to start swimming, there was no water there.  We had to walk a ways before we could even get to the water.  Once we touched water, we had to wade quite a ways through shallow water and mud before we got to swimming depth.  The water was extremely murky and I could barely see my watch two inches from my face when I checked the time.  The wind was blowing against us on the way out, which didn't help with my already tight arms and shoulders.  The visibility got a little better when we got out into deeper water, but not much.  I think we were all happy to get that one out of the way and were hopeful that Rockport would be better.  We were supposed to meet Karen here, but we were so far ahead of schedule that she missed us.  Gordon interviewed Jim for the documentary.

Lunch Break - 12:08pm - 12:52pm
We stopped for lunch at the Subway in Coalville.  Nathan got a pepperoni pizza that looked way better than the sandwiches I had packed.  It was nice to take a bit of a break, charge my phone, and use their wi-fi to update our progress online.  Goody called while we were there and said he would be joining us for the second half.  He was already at a gas station near Rockport, so we decided to pick him up there.

5 - Rockport. Windy with lots of boat traffic.

5 - Rockport Reservoir - 1:00pm to 1:56pm
Temperature: 71 degrees
Distance: 0.96 miles
Water: Similar to East Canyon, very choppy because of the wind
Weather: Very windy and overcast
Suit: Got Salt?
As we came up the hill near the dam, we saw that the lake was PACKED with boats.  Half the van uttered an "oh crap" at the same time.  There was a lot of wind and the water was really choppy.  This was right up Joelle's alley, she likes choppy water swimming.  We all agreed that the water felt colder, but it was only a degree cooler than the last few stops.  It was a struggle swimming against the wind for the first 15+ minutes.  There were a couple boats and jetskis that got a little closer than I was comfortable with and I was happy to get back to shore, out of the heavy traffic. Gordon interviewed Gary before we left.

6 - Jordanelle Reservoir.

6 - Jordanelle Reservoir - 2:21pm - 3:17pm
Temperature: 72 degrees
Distance: 1.01 miles
Water: Fairly clear, pretty calm
Weather: Overcast
Suit: Argyle
I was happy to get to Jordanelle since I was familiar with the lake and swim course.  It was pretty busy, with a lot of paddlers out near the wakeless buoys.  Swimming out to the end of the buoys, we were not quite at 15 minutes so we went the rest of the way to the shore.  On the way back, we had to loop back to get the 1 mile distance.  I was feeling pretty tired at this point.  It is much harder to swim six miles split up into one mile segments than it is to swim a straight six miles.  My arms and shoulders were pretty tight and felt heavy in the water.  Gordon interviewed Kaitlin before we got back into the van.

7 - Deer Creek Reservoir.  Second best swim of the day.

7 - Deer Creek Reservoir - 3:43pm - 4:53pm
Temperature: 74 to 76 degrees (I didn't get a good reading)
Distance: 1.22 miles
Water: Very clear and calm
Weather: Overcast
Suit: Yellow and pink checkered
The van was really quiet on the way to Deer Creek.  I think we were all getting tired.  I actually started dozing off several times on the way.  I was hoping for a good swim and Deer Creek did not disappoint.  The water was very clear, second only to Causey, and was extremely calm in the bay.  I didn't get a good temperature read on my thermometer, but the water was definitely warmest since Pineview.  I kind of got into a groove (maybe it was the gel I took before we left Jordanelle).  Joelle and Gordon kept going well after the 15 minute turnaround time.  Goody, Kaitlin and I turned back after about 20 minutes.  On the way back, I felt very tired.  For the first time I started to doubt if I could finish the whole challenge.  I'm telling you, it's MUCH harder to split up 8+ miles into short swims with long rest in between.  I kept plugging and eventually made it to shore.  When I got to shore, I was told that Etsuko and her boys were there.  I missed seeing them.  Sabrina and my boys were there and it was good to see them after a lot day.  I boosted my spirits quite a bit to see them.  Gordon interviewed Goody in the parking lot and we left for our last swim.

8 - Utah Lake. Done!

8 - Utah Lake - 5:25pm - 6:39pm
Temperature: 76 degrees
Distance: 1.05 miles
Water: Very murky, poor visibility
Weather: Very windy
Suit: SLOW
We were hoping for warm water (we were guessing in the 80's) and calm water when we got to Utah Lake.  What we got was 76 degree water, a lot of wind and chop.  We decided to swim straight into the wind so that on the way back it would push us to shore.  It was a tough swim.  My arms were already tired and going into the wind was rough.  It was really weird, when you dove down just a couple feet, everything around you went black (I assume because of the fine mud being kicked up by the wind and waves.  When I finished the swim, I was done.  I couldn't have done another lake if wanted to.  Nothing sounded better than going to Chili's to get some dinner.  I had been eating all day, but was starving.

Done! 8 lakes in one day!

Karl's wife had called ahead and got us a reservation for dinner.  We couldn't get there fast enough!  I ate everything in site while talking to Karl and Gary about swimming.  After dinner we drove back to my house and everyone unloaded their gear and got in their own vehicles to head back home.

9 swimmers (Josh, Gordon, Goody, Jim, Kaitlin, Joelle, Karl, Gary, Nathan)
8 lakes
8.67 miles swam (this was according to my GPS.  Some swam more, some less)
264 miles driven (thanks Gords for volunteering your van and for driving!)

This was a crazy experience!  I have never been more tired from swimming in my life.  I am convinced that it is much harder to swim this distance in chunks with rest in between than it is to swim the whole thing straight.  Something is wrong with my math, because by the end of the trip we ended up over 2 hours ahead of schedule.  We spent almost exactly 1 hour at each stop, but we did start early and took a short lunch break.

Thanks to everyone who came along for the ride, and for everyone who followed our progress online.  This is something that I think we will definitely do again.  I'd really like to do this again next year.  Maybe a southern Idaho/northern Utah version or a southern Utah version.  The other thing that would be fun would be to do it over a couple days and include a night swim for one of the stops.


Search for #TourOfLakes on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for updates and photos from the road.  Photo album here.

Gordon Gridley's experience (blog) (video)
Goody Tyler's experience (blog)
Nathan Nelson's experience (blog)