Memorial Day Swim

There was a pretty good group that got together yesterday for a Memorial Day swim at the Great Salt Lake.  Sue, Todd, Annie, Goody, Stacey and I were all in attendance.

The water was warm, about 68 degrees, and the wind was blowing southwest.  There were quite a few brine shrimp at the bottom of the boat ramp, but it was nice out in the marina and in the main body of the lake.

The waves were a little rough once we got out of the marina.  There had been a small craft advisory on the Great Salt Lake Marina website and Sue and Todd decided to leave their kayak at home.  That didn't stop Goody from bringing his.  When I caught up to Goody and Annie, I joked that I was going to tip him over.  I guess he had already tipped over twice since leaving the marina and was completely soaked.  We had a good laugh before continuing on with our swim.

Sue, Todd, Stacey and I headed out towards Black Rock.  Even though we were getting hit with waves on our right, I was still able to breathe on both sides by rolling a little more.  I was surprised when we got near Black Rock how shallow it is.  The water level is not as high as it has been the past couple of years and I bottomed out well before making it to Black Rock.  It will make for an interesting finish at the Great Salt Lake Open Water Swim on June 8th.

Sue, Todd and Stacey at Black Rock Beach.

After stopping for a quick drink and photo, we headed back to the marina.  By this time the waves had calmed down somewhat and the swim back was pretty nice.  By the time we got out of the water, my thermometer was reading 70 degrees.  I forgot to charge my Hydro Tracker, but we swam just over two miles total.

I'm looking forward to the Great Salt Lake Open Water Swim coming up in less than two weeks.  It was fun to be out there yesterday with three of our 8 mile swimmers, a one mile swimmer and a support paddler.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed for nice weather...

Pirate / Bandit / Bootleg Swimming

Due to a few incidents over the past couple years at open water swimming events in Utah and out of state, I thought it would be a good idea to write a post about pirate swimming.  Pirate swimming is also know as bandit swimming and bootleg swimming.

So what is a pirate swimmer?  According to Openwaterpedia, a pirate swimmer is
"an individual who does not purposefully pay the requisite fees to participate in an open water swimming competition or an open water swimming charity event, or to attempt a marathon swim, or a channel swim where there is a recognized governing body.  It can also be an individual who uses another swimmer's name or a false name to purposefully enter an open water swimming event or charity swim.  It also refers to an open water swimmer who purposefully preempts a publicly announced marathon swim or channel swim of an unprecedented course by another swimmer."

So why would someone swim an organized event without paying the registration fees?  Some would argue that the fees are too high, that they don't need the shirt or award, or that they missed the registration deadline.  Others simply do not want to pay to participate.

Pirate swimmers may reason that what they are doing is not stealing and that they are not doing any harm since they are not collecting the event swag or awards and that the support, safety and volunteers are already there.  What they may not understand is that there are other costs involved and that their pirate swimming could put themselves, other swimmers, the event organizers and the event itself in danger.

Organizing an open water event is not easy, or cheap.  Apart from the swag and awards (which pirate swimmers may argue they don't need) there are permits, insurance, sanctioning fees, support and safety services, emergency services, park entrance fees, parking fees, etc. that still have to be paid.  These costs add up quickly and small events are lucky to break even financially when all is said and done.

Pirate swimmers also potentially put themselves and others in danger.  Not having paid the registration fees, they may not be as committed to the event as those who have and may not have trained and prepared themselves to the same level.  In addition, they would not have received any pre-race emails or messages about conditions, water temperature, potential hazards, etc.  If they did not register, they may not have attended the pre-race briefings.

If a pirate swimmer were to run into trouble while on the water, the safety support would still step in to take care of them.  This takes away safety resources from the other swimmers in the water who essentially paid for those services.  Also, the event directors will not have an emergency contact, or any other medical information for the pirate swimmer.

Pirate swimmers also cause increased liability for the event organizers.  Pirate swimmers will not have signed an event waiver and it is possible that their presence on the course may actually invalidate the event insurance.  The increased legal and financial risks could cause the event to not continue in the future.

For the sake of the sport, fellow swimmers, and event organizers, PLEASE don't be a pirate swimmer!

More information on pirate swimming can be found at the following links:





LV10K - Utah Swimmer Results

Results for Utah swimmers who participated in the 10K National Championship over the weekend:

Name Team Age Group Age Group Place Time
Dominique Maack SALT Female 18 to 24 2 2:27:20
Wes Johnson SLOW Male 25 to 29 1 2:21:26
Brandon Hochstrasser QUAC Male 25 to 29 2 2:32:38
Kelsey Withrow SALT Female 30 to 34 1 2:24:28
Josh Green SLOW Male 30 to 34 6 2:52:48
Miles Pomeroy SLOW Male 30 to 34 7 3:12:51
Sue Frehse SLOW Female 35 to 39 3 2:57:59
Gordon Gridley SLOW Male 40 to 44 2 2:36:45
Steven Pickard UTAH Male 40 to 44 3 2:37:47

In other races: Robynn Masters took first place overall in the 5K wetsuit division with a time of 1:09:32 and Todd Frehse took 5th place overall in the 1 mile non-wetsuit division with a time of 28:27.

Nice job Utah, way to represent!

LV10K National Championship - Race Report

Beautiful Boulder Beach before the start of the LV10K.
I am just now sitting down to my computer after a great weekend of swimming with friends in Las Vegas.  This past Saturday was the inaugural LV10K at Lake Mead.  The race was also the USMS 10K National Championship.  I figured this was probably one of the few chances I would get to swim in a national championship race (they move it around every year), plus I knew that Kara and Paul at Swim Las Vegas would do a great job putting it together, so I signed up early.

I drove down Friday morning and went straight to the Boulder Beach campground to make sure that I would have a place to sleep that night (the campground is first come, first served).  I got a camp site without any problems and then drove back to Henderson for packet pick-up.  I think it was a good idea on the race directors part to have pick-up and body marking the night before, it made the morning of the race a lot less stressful.  Body marking for the 10K was done with temporary tattoos, which I though was pretty cool.  The swag was pretty sweet too: cool tech shirt, two caps (one silicone and one latex), and a bunch of gels.  There were also free massages, which pretty much undid all the hours I had just spent driving in the car.

After packet pick-up, I went to dinner with fellow Utah swimmers Gordon, Wes, Kelsey and Brandon.  We had a lot of fun talking about swimming and other things and the food was pretty good.

My not so comfy bed.
After dinner, I made a stop at the grocery store to get a few last minute items and then drove back to Boulder Beach.  Gordon and his son Jonas shared my campsite and they were already there with their tent set up when I got back.  I put the seats down and slept in the back of my car.  It was as uncomfortable as it sounds.  I tossed and turned all night, not able to straighten out my legs.

Saturday morning started early.  The campers next to us were up at 5am and made enough noise that it woke me up.  Since I was up, I took the time to apply a generous amount of sunscreen and organize my gear.  After a while, Gordon and Jonas got up and we all headed to Boulder Beach.

At the beach, I walked down to the water and waded in to my knees.  It felt cool, but not too cold.  The water temperature was something that I had been worrying about.  Just a week or so before, the reported water temp was 63 degrees.  The actual race day temp was reported between 68 and 72 degrees.

SLOW home base.
We had plenty of time before the swim started and I spent most of that time in the canopy Gordon had set up talking to Sue, Todd and Gordon.  As it got closer to race time, I put on more sunscreen, got greased up and took my little "feed" cooler down to the feed station.  At the last minute, I opted to use the cooler instead of the bottle rack after seeing the rack tip over.

Feed station.
After a brief pre-race meeting, we all walked into the water for the start.  Sue, Gordon, Miles and I were all grouped together.  At the sound of the start, I dove in and started swimming.  I could see Sue right at my side as we navigated the chaos of other swimmers.  Last year I started singing "99 Bottles of Bear on the Wall" in my head while swimming.  It works well for me to keep my pace and also gives me somewhat of an idea how long I have been swimming.

The course was a "T" shape and we would swim four laps, passing the feed station near the shore each time.  At the end of the first lap I was feeling good and chugged down some Perpetuem at the feed station.  During the second lap, the old familiar pain in my right collar bone started showing up.  Halfway through the second lap, it was hurting pretty bad and I though I might have to quit at 5K.  At the end of the second lap I took a gel and more Perpetuem and convinced myself to do another lap.  The pain was better on the third lap and I got into my groove.  There were two other swimmers who were right with me the whole time.  We kept passing each other and were pretty much even at the feed station.  I took another feed of gel and Perpetuem before starting the fourth lap.  At this point, I knew I would finish, even though the pain was starting to get bad again.  At the last turn, I tried to pick it up and was at a near sprint when I finished.

My goal was to finish under 3 hours and I ended up finishing at 2:52:48.  In retrospect, I should have done my usual pre-race stretches and swam a little more in the week leading up to the race.  I think that's why the pain in my collar started up and it kind of threw me off mentally during the swim.

I was happy that Gordon and Sue both beat their goal times.  This was Sue and Miles' longest open water swim and they both did awesome!  Wes, Brandon, Kelsey, Todd and all the other Utah swimmers all had great races.  With the swim over, we are now going to put together 3 man SLOW relay team to enter.  The relay event works by combining the individual times for each of the relay members.  All relay swimmers must belong to the same club.

Finisher medal and 6th place age group medal.
The final results are here.  There were some CRAZY fast swimmers at this event.  Doing a 10K in 2:08 is unbelievable.

Kara, Paul and everyone involved with the organization of the race did a fantastic job.  I felt safe at all times and enjoyed swimming laps for a change.  The post race cupcake and massage were awesome!  Thank you to the organizers, volunteers and other swimmers for a great experience!


Great Salt Lake in the High Country News

Last year, Gordon, Goody and I introduced Kate Greene to swimming in the Great Salt Lake.  Kate is a very talented writer and wrote a piece about her experience titled "Of Sense and Salinity: A Swim in the Great Salt Lake" that was recently published in the High Country News.

Check it out!



Choppy Swim at the GSL

There was a good group at the marina yesterday afternoon.  The weather was really nice and Gordon, Goody, Chad, Sue, Kate and myself all took advantage by going for a swim.

I've been getting a little nervous about the LV10K next week because the water temp is 63 degrees and I haven't done any long swims at that temperature for a while.  The water temp at www.gslmarina.com reported 62 degrees at the marina, so I though it would be a good opportunity to see what I would be up against next week.

I was relieved when we started wading into the water that it didn't feel too bad (the fact that it was warm and sunny outside didn't hurt).  Once we swam out of the marina, it warmed up noticeably and by the end of the swim, those with thermometers were getting readings of 67 to 68 degrees.

As soon as we turned the corner out of the marina, we were faced with pretty good sized swells that were coming right at us.  It took me a while to adjust and I ended up swimming more of a "catch-up" stroke into the waves.

Gords, Chad, Sue and I met up at the first red buoy and we decided to keep going straight out to the next red buoy.  Once we got to the second buoy, Sue and I decided to head back and Gords and Chad kept going out to the third buoy.  It was a lot of fun swimming with the waves back towards the marina.  You could really feel them pushing you forward.

Back at the first buoy, I was feeling great and was going to swim east to the white buoy.  Instead, we saw Kate (in for her second swim) and Goody just outside of the marina and I decided to hang out with them and chat.  After a while, we all headed back in to the boat ramp.

I didn't wear my GPS, but I'm guessing the total swim was around 0.75 mile.  It was a lot of fun to be out in the lake, swimming with a big group of friends.