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)


Quick Swim Before "Tour of Lakes"

This morning I met Lisa at Jordanelle for a quick swim before the awesome "Tour of Lakes" adventure we have planned for tomorrow.

The air was a little chilly, but the water was nice.  We did one lap of the buoys and called it good.  My arms felt tight for the second half of the swim and I hope it doesn't cause problems for tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow...We have nine confirmed "all day" swimmers who will be swimming 1/2 mile to 1 mile+ at eight different lakes.  Others will be joining us along the way.

Here are some "Tour of Lakes" links if you are interested in following our progress or joining us along the way:

Tour of Lakes "Bible" - Schedule, maps and instructions for the day.

Live tacking via SPOT GPS

You can also search for #touroflakes on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram


Tour of Lakes

We have been secretly planning a swimming adventure for this weekend and we are finally ready to release details for anyone who wants to follow our progress or join in.

The "Tour of Lakes" will take place this Saturday July 27, 2013.  It will be an all day trip consisting of swimming 1 mile in eight lakes starting at Causey Reservoir in Weber County and finishing at Utah Lake in Utah County.

Anyone is welcome to join us for all, or part, of the adventure.  The schedule of our stops is posted below and a more detailed plan with maps and other information can be found here. If anyone wants to come along for the whole adventure, we may have a few seats left.  Otherwise you would have to provide your own transportation.  If you just want to meet up with us at one (or a few) stops, you should be able to figure out where we are based on the schedule and maps.

This is meant to be a social event and not a competition.  However, we will be very strict with the 30-45 minute swimming time limit at each stop so that we can make all eight lakes before it gets dark.  We have one scheduled lunch break and will celebrate our accomplishment with dinner following our last swim at Utah Lake.

For those who would like to follow our progress online, we will post a SPOT GPS tracking page and will also be posting regular updates on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #touroflakes.

Start swim at Causey Reservoir
Leave for Pineview (30 min drive)
Arrive at Pineview
Leave for East Canyon (1 hr drive)
Arrive at East Canyon
Leave for Echo (30 min drive
Arrive at Echo
Lunch break in Coalville
Leave for Rockport (30 min drive)
Arrive at Rockport
Leave for Jordanelle (45 min drive)
Arrive at Jordanelle
Leave for Deer Creek (30 min drive)
Arrive at Deer Creek
Leave for Utah Lake (30 min drive)
Arrive at Utah Lake
Total Driving Time
4 Hours
Total "At the Lake Time
8 Hours
Lunch Break
1 Hour
Total Time
13 Hours

Leave a comment below or send me an email at joshuakgreen@gmail.com if you are interested in participating.


Bear Lake Monster Swim - Race Report

This weekend was a whirlwind trying to get ready for the Bear Lake Monster Swim.  Luckily Gordon and I had plenty of help from family, friends and other volunteers to get everything taken care of.

On Friday, Gords and I swam the course to see exactly what our swimmers would experience the next day.  Our swim went well and the water conditions were perfect.  We missed the finish point by about 1/4 mile, but figured that when we put up the red finish arch it would be easier to see.

We got all the prep work done Friday night and woke up early to drive up to Bear Lake.  We got there with plenty of time to get things set up before the swimmers started coming in.  Check-in went really smoothly and I didn't notice any problems.

After a safety briefing by Gords, we all drove over in a caravan to the starting point at Cisco Beach.  Gords and I were some of the last vehicles to get there and we noticed that a lot of people getting ready south of where the race was going to start.  I circled back and let everyone know that we were starting further up the shore.  Actually though, the primitive boat ramp where these swimmers were getting their kayaks ready might make a better starting point.  For next year, we need to communicate better where the starting point is or put up signs or something to mark where it is.

Swimmers at the start of the Bear Lake Monster Swim at Cisco Beach.  Photo credit: Connie Hubbard
Gordon did an excellent job checking solo swimmers and teams off our master list while I was sending people to the right starting point.  When I got to the start, he had accounted for all but two swimmers.  I made some calls to see if I could figure out where they were and was told they had some boat trouble and were on their way.  At 9:00am we started the relay teams.  Two minutes later we started all but two of the solo swimmers.  When the last two arrived, about 15 minutes later, we started them and recorded their late start time so that we could get their time right.  I noticed right away that swimmers headed south of where the marina is and hoped that it wouldn't be a problem on the other side.

With the swimmers started, Gordon and I didn't have a whole lot to do.  Normally at least one of us is paddling for someone and it was kind of weird to not be on the water.  It was good though, because it freed us up to focus on making sure that all swimmers were accounted for.  I got a call from the Coast Guard Auxiliary about 45 minutes into the swim that one swimmer had dropped out.

It was fun to watch the swimmers come in!  Some looked really strong and others looked like they were struggling.  In the end, we all relay teams finished and all but three solo swimmers finished.  For many swimmers, this was the longest swim they had ever done and it was awesome to see their accomplishment.

A lot of swimmers and paddlers let us know that the arch was not visible until you came around the corner of the marina.  In the future, we will put the arch out at the end of the marina so that it is easier to see from the water.

We had planned on only giving out awards to the top male and female non-wetsuit swimmers.  At the Great Salt Lake, the race has always been won by a non-wetsuit swimmer and we assumed it would be the same here, but the first finisher was wearing a wetsuit.  I felt really bad that we didn't have an award for him and I'm sure he felt cheated.  It was bothering me all day yesterday.  After talking to Gords, we went ahead and ordered two more awards that we will mail out to the top male and female wetsuit swimmers to correct our mistake.  We should have just done awards for both categories, but being our first year, we weren't sure we had the budget for it.  In the future we will be sure to have awards for BOTH categories.

We had Cathi taking swimmers back over to Cisco Beach to pick up their cars.  It's about 30 minutes each way and she made two trips (about two hours driving time).  For future races, I think we need to think of a better way to transport people back to the start.

Overall, I think the event went well and we are already looking to reserve July 19, 2014 for next year.

Thank you to all our swimmers and their support crew, this event would not happen without you.  Thank you to my family for volunteering their time to help with timing the event.  Thanks to Chad and Chandra for providing another boat for the event that really came in handy near the end of the event.  Thanks to our sponsors who provided swag and raffle prizes.  Thanks to the Coast Guard Auxiliary who did an excellent job keeping our swimmers safe and they came into the busy marina area and made some great suggestions for next year.  Thanks to Gords and his family for all they do to make these event happen.  He is a true friend and a great business partner.

If you swam in the event this year, please take a minute to fill out this quick survey and let us know what we can do better next year:



Cisco Beach to Bear Lake Marina

I really didn't think this photo was going to turn out well, but it's AWESOME!  Photo credit: Gords Swim Log
This morning was the Bear Lake Monster Swim that Gordon and I organized.  We took the event over when Ben, the original organizer, told us he was moving out of state for school.

Gords and I were both a little bummed that we wouldn't be able to participate in the event and run it at the same time, so we decided to swim the course on Friday morning.

We got to Cisco beach around 8am and started our swim a little after 8:30.  Bear Lake is such a beautiful lake.  The first thing I noticed when we got in the water is how clear it is.  I could see the bottom for a while until the lake got too deep.  From then until nearly the finish, all I could see was turquoise blue and my hands as they pulled.

Gords and I swimming at Bear Lake.  Photo credit: Gords Swim Log

Gordon and I started of at exactly the same speed, but he started pulling ahead before we took our first feed.  From then on, he would get a ways ahead of me and we would regroup at feeds.  I saw him stop a couple times, I think he was waiting for me to catch up.

The water felt great and the time seemed to pass by really fast.  I put sunscreen on my head and my cap kept slipping off.  Finally, I just took it off and tucked it into my suit for the rest of the way.  At one point we swam right over the top of some mysterious bubbles coming up from the bottom of the lake.  Bear Lake Monster?

Austin was a good sport.  Even though he wasn't feeling well when we started, he did a great job paddling for us.

As we got closer to shore, the distance was really deceiving.  Gords and I both starting picking up the pace and the shore didn't seem to get any closer.  I was almost at a sprint near the end, trying not to get completely dropped by Gordon.  We finished with a time of 3:17, which I was happy with.  I thought I would be closer to 3:30.

We finished a little too far north of where the Bear Lake Monster Swim finishes and had to swim south to the right beach.

I had a great time and hope to make this a tradition before the race.  Thanks to Gords, Austin and my patient wife Sabrina for making it happen.

Race report coming tomorrow...I'm going to bed.


Eight Swimmers, 71 Degrees

We had a group of 8 swimmers at Jordanelle this morning. The air temperature was a little chilly, but the water was 71 degrees and felt great.

My pool buddy Chris came out to swim with us for the first time and I hung back to keep an eye on her.  She did great and seemed to be having a lot of fun.  Hopefully she will come swim with us again!  This was Goody's first time swimming at Jordanelle.  He was surprised by how quickly he got to the lake and hopefully he will come swim with us more.

After finishing the first lap, Goody and I swam in to the boat ramp and said goodbye to the other swimmers who were headed home.  After switching our goggles from clear to tinted, we hopped back in the water.  We saw Sue near the boat ramp.  She was swimming fast and hadn't stopped since we jumped in.  We said "hi" and kept going.  At the end of the buoys we stopped to take some photos and chatted for a while while swimming breaststroke.  We must have been really slow, because we saw Sue coming back towards us in the same place we saw her before.  I had to get out and get to work, but Sue and Goody kept going.

It was a nice swim and I am looking forward to doing it again on Friday.


Sudden Change in Weather

Fog, clouds and wind at the end of our morning swim.

I woke up at about 2am this morning to the wind and rain and worried that it was going to keep us from swimming this morning.  Luckily by the time I got up again at 5am, things had calmed down and I drove up to Jordanelle to meet Karl, Lisa and Eric.

I wondered if the water would be any cooler after the two rain storms, but it was still 72 degrees.  Lisa and I swam out to the end of the buoys and turned around.  She and I swim at a similar pace, which is nice because I usually get left alone somewhere in the middle of the pack.  On our way back we ran into Karl and Eric and then two other swimmers near the boat ramp.  It's getting to be a popular place to swim.

I wanted to do 2 miles or so but on the way back to the boat ramp I felt myself being pushed slightly to shore.  When Lisa and I stopped at the last buoy and looked to the south, we saw fog and clouds rolling it.  It actually looked pretty cool and I stopped to take some photos.  The wind started to pick up and I decided to call it a day.  In retrospect, I should have stuck it out because by the time we got back to our cars, it was totally calm again.


5K+ Swim at Jordanelle and Lots of New Swimmers

Looking back at the western buoys from near the Jordanelle Reservoir PWC ramp.

Word is spreading about our Wednesday morning swims at Jordanelle.  We had 10 swimmers this morning!  The water was surprisingly warm at 72 degrees.  That's up 6 full degrees just from last Friday.

We swam east to the end of the buoy line and then waited to regroup.  Once we were all accounted for, we swam back to the boat ramp and six of us continued on to the opposite end.  We regrouped again before heading back to the boat ramp for a total of 1.4 miles.

I had planned to do 5K today, so I came into the boat ramp with the group to check my thermometer, change out my goggles for tinted ones, and grab a quick drink.  After saying goodbye to everyone but Kris (who was still in the water), I hopped back in.  I swam out to the end of the buoys and then kept going until I got to the shore.  I swam all the way back to the opposite end and then a little past the last buoy.  On the way back, I did a few extra loops around buoys to be sure that I had at least 5K.  I ended up at 3.4 miles in just under two hours (which included two stops to regroup and the one stop at the boat ramp).

The water felt so nice, I was tempted to not go into work today and just keep swimming.  I'm be there again this Friday.  Same time. Same place.


10 Open Water Safety Tips

I have been meaning to write up a list of open water safety tips for a while, but keep putting it off.  My pool swimming buddy, Chris, is just starting to get interested in open water and asked for some safety tips, so I thought it was time to finally get it done.

By putting this list together, I hope that I don't scare people away from trying open water.  The fact is, there are some dangers associated with swimming outside that are different from swimming in a pool.  While this isn't a comprehensive list, it should give you some things to think about before your next open water swim.

1 - Swim with someone else
Remember the buddy system from school or Boy Scouts?  Swimming with other people is more fun, but it's also safer.  In case something were to happen, they can help you out (and you can help them too).  Your swim "buddy" doesn't necessarily have to be in the water swimming with you.  They could be on a kayak or on shore.

2 - Know where you are swimming
There is something to be said for spontaneity, but I recommend doing a little research before swimming in a new place.  What is the water temperature? Are there any hazards?  Are there established swimming routes?  Are there landmarks that you can use to sight on or help you judge the distance you will swim?  Is there a good place to get in and out of the water?  Are motorized boats allowed?

3 - Check weather forecasts and water temperatures
I keep a pool thermometer in my swim bag and almost always take the water temperature before I get it.  I do this because I have a general idea of how long I am comfortable staying it the water at different temperatures before I start to get cold.

I also take a quick look at the weather forecast before I go swimming.  If it looks like there will be high winds or thunderstorms, I'll swim at the pool instead.

4 - Swim with a safety device
I am a big fan of the Safer Swimmer and almost always swim with one when I don't have kayak support.  It's basically an inflatable drysack that you pull behind you.  It is bright orange, which makes you easier to see on the water, and can easily support by body weight when inflated.  There are more and more safety devices coming on to the market that range from a body board you pull behind you to CO2 powered compact inflatables and wearable flags.

5 - Let someone know where you are and when you will be back
I always let my wife know where I am going and when I expect to be done.  When I finish, I give her a quick call to let her know that I am out of the water. 

6 - Wear a bright colored cap
Wearing a bright colored cap is a good way to make yourself more visible to other people on the water and the shore.

7 - Stay near the shore
Unless you have an escort boat, stay near the shore.  This will keep you out of boat territory and give you a place to quickly get out if needed.

8 - Bring something warm
If you are going to be swimming in cold water, be sure that you have a towel and/or dry clothes on hand for when you get out.  The worst part of cold water swimming for me comes a few minutes after getting out of the water, as my body temperature continues to drop and I start shaking to warm back up.

9 - Be aware of your surroundings
Even though you may be swimming in a non-motorized boat area, wearing a bright cap and a safety device, you are still not out of the woods.  You need to be aware of your surroundings.  Boaters will not be looking for swimmers in the water, and do not always follows boating laws.

10 - Use common sense
Don't do anything stupid.