6.10.2013

GSLOW 2013

Annie Stanish and Will Reeves.  First place female and male 8 mile swimmers.
The 2013 edition of GSLOW is in the bag, and I am exhausted.  I think we had a successful event overall, but I've already started planning ahead for how we can do things better next year.

I took the day off on Friday and was able to get a lot of prep work done.  I met Goody and Gordon at the marina, where they were heading out to set the buoys for the 1 mile swim.  I cleared out as much of the rocks and other stuff as I could from Black Rock before heading home to pack up for Saturday.

Several of the 8 mile swimmers and their paddlers met for dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory on Friday night.  This is a great tradition and something that I look forward to every year.

Even though my van was pre-loaded the night before, I still had to get up around 5am to drive to the marina and get things set up before everyone showed up.

We got the 8-mile swimmers checked in and had a brief meeting.  I think I could have done a better job with the pre-race meeting.  After getting everyone loaded up, we hit the road for Antelope Island.  We were very lucky to get some volunteer drivers at the last minute to help get all of our swimmers and paddlers to the island.  Special thanks to Greg, Scott, Chandra, and Russell.

We got to the gate near Garr Ranch, and it was locked!  Luckily there was someone on their way up the road to unlock it for us.  On the way out to the starting point we saw a herd of buffalo, two snakes, and a coyote chasing two antelope.

The water level was lower this year than it has been in the past.  Unfortunately, that meant that we had to haul out kayaks over probably .25 mile to the water.  Once we got to the water, we had to go another .25 mile or so to get to where the water was deep enough to start the swim.

The swim got started later than anticipated (about 10:30am) and next year I think we really need to get started at least one hour earlier.  I made the mistake of not taking some photos with everyone together before the swim.  I also had a bunch of marine radios in my dry sack that I forgot to hand out to paddlers. Doh!


Mark Spratt swimming strong.
I was paddling for Mark Spratt, who I met at LV10K.  Mark is a strong swimmer and kicked my butt at the LV10K.  I suggested paddling on his right side to try to block some of the wind, but it became evident very quickly that this was a mistake.  Mark does not breathe to the right, so he couldn't see me and the wind kept blowing me too close to him.  At the first feed, I switched sides and that seemed to work much better.  Mark had a tough time with the salt, as did many of the other swimmers.  We eventually figured out that we needed to stop every 15 minutes for him to rinse his mouth with mouthwash.  He swam strong and smooth the whole way and was able to push past a mental challenge to finish the swim.  I was lucky to have been able to paddle for him.

We had one swimmer who dropped out of the race after about 4 miles because of the salt, but all of the other swimmers were able to finish.

I asked Will Reeves the night before if he as going to take a stab at beating the record, and he modestly side-stepped the question.  He ended up beating it by quite a bit, setting a new record of 3:10:10.  Way to go Will!  Annie Stanish was the first female finisher, and second overall, with the fasted recorded female time of 3:36:44.  Nice swim Annie!

Handmade awards by Heidi Linton.
Heidi Linton made some really awesome knitted swimmer awards for the first place finishers.  I thought they were the coolest, most unique, awards and I hope that those who won them like them too.  Thanks Heidi!

I am proud of all the swimmers who finished the 8 mile swim, but especially my fellow SLOW swimmers Annie, Sue, Stacey, Chad, and Tamarah.

Final results from both the 1-mile and 8-mile swims can be found here.

We have been lucky to attract some good media coverage this year from NPR and KUTV 2.  Thank you to Howard Berkes and Adam Mikulich.

I am very grateful for all of our volunteers.  Without them, this event could never happen.  Special thanks to my family (Kelley, Kathy, Jake, Jodi, Bernd and my Gram) who handled the timing, finish line set-up, food prep and photography.  Superstar volunteer Chad Starks, ought to be promoted to race director because of the amount of time and effort he puts into helping us out.

We had some really great sponsors this year who provided awesome prizes and swag.  Thank you to all our sponsors who made this a great event.

Finally, thanks to Gordon, who is a passionate GSL swimmer, great friend and business partner.  This event would not happen without his passion, commitment and organization.

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