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.