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.

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