12.31.2015

SLOW 2015 Year in Review

We had the Salt Lake Open Water (SLOW) year-end awards dinner this week.  It was fun to get together and celebrate all of our accomplishments.

Here's the year-in-review video that Gords made:


Thanks everyone for a great year! Looking forward to 2016!

11.18.2015

"How Far Can You Go" Challenge - Second Test

I was working in Cody, WY the other day and swam at the Paul Stock Aquatic and Recreation Center.  For such a small community, this is a really nice facility.

This is a really nice facility.  Notice the climbing wall in the far left lane.
There was a workout written up on a whiteboard on deck and I decided to just swim that workout.  At the end of the workout, I decided to do my second Swim Smooth "How Far Can You Go" Challenge.  On my first test, I made it 150 yards at my challenge pace of 17 seconds per 25 yards.  I felt slow during the workout and wondered if I could even go 150 yards again at my challenge pace.  I set my tempo trainer to 17 seconds and set off.  At 150 yards I was still on pace.  I made it to 175, still under pace, but was getting tired.  I was so close to getting 200 yards, but my tempo trainer beeped just barely out of reach of the wall.  I was happy to see an improvement over my last test.  Next time I'll get 200 yards!

2015 South Davis Masters Meet

Last Saturday I swam at the South Davis Masters meet.  This is always a well run meet and is one of my favorites.

I had a lot of fun hanging out with Chad and Chandra and the Fairmont crew.  It's always fun to catch up with people that I usually only see at meets.  Fairmont was pretty well represented and it was fun to watch my teammates swim and do well.

I haven't been training too hard lately, but decided to enter the 1,650, 500 and 200 just to see where I am at.  My focus was on the 1,650 and the others were just for fun.

My previous best time was 21:29.90 at South Davis last year.  On my last CSS test, I tested at a 1:16 pace.  Theoretically, I should be able to swim a mile at this pace, which would be 21 minutes.  I didn't think I would go quite that fast, but wanted to beat my previous best.  I ended up between the two at 21:19.03, which was good enough to get first place overall (none of the fast guys were there).  My goal is to eventually break 21 minutes.

I kept a pretty even pace through most of the swim, but felt tired towards the end, which shows in the splits below.

Lap Cumulative 50 Split 100 Split 500 Split
50 00:33.22 00:33.22
100 01:10.13 00:36.91 01:10.13
150 01:48.35 00:38.22 01:15.13
200 02:27.09 00:38.74 01:16.96
250 03:05.74 00:38.65 01:17.39
300 03:44.64 00:38.90 01:17.55
350 04:23.57 00:38.93 01:17.83
400 05:02.90 00:39.33 01:18.26
450 05:42.05 00:39.15 01:18.48
500 06:21.44 00:39.39 01:18.54 06:21.44
550 07:00.35 00:38.91 01:18.30 06:27.13
600 07:39.55 00:39.20 01:18.11 06:29.42
650 08:18.98 00:39.43 01:18.63 06:30.63
700 08:57.81 00:38.83 01:18.26 06:30.72
750 09:36.79 00:38.98 01:17.81 06:31.05
800 10:15.63 00:38.84 01:17.82 06:30.99
850 10:54.20 00:38.57 01:17.41 06:30.63
900 11:32.94 00:38.74 01:17.31 06:30.04
950 12:11.86 00:38.92 01:17.66 06:29.81
1,000 12:51.13 00:39.27 01:18.19 06:29.69
1,050 13:30.19 00:39.06 01:18.33 06:29.84
1,100 14:09.48 00:39.29 01:18.35 06:29.93
1,150 14:48.77 00:39.29 01:18.58 06:29.79
1,200 15:27.57 00:38.80 01:18.09 06:29.76
1,250 16:06.78 00:39.21 01:18.01 06:29.99
1,300 16:45.76 00:38.98 01:18.19 06:30.13
1,350 17:25.11 00:39.35 01:18.33 06:30.91
1,400 18:04.80 00:39.69 01:19.04 06:31.86
1,450 18:44.83 00:40.03 01:19.72 06:32.97
1,500 19:24.61 00:39.78 01:19.81 06:33.48
1,550 20:03.82 00:39.21 01:18.99 06:33.63
1,600 20:43.44 00:39.62 01:18.83 06:33.96
1,650 21:19.03 00:35.59 01:15.21 06:30.26
Min 00:33.22 01:10.13 06:21.44
Max 00:40.03 01:19.81 06:33.96
Average 00:38.76 01:17.79 06:30.34



I almost missed the 500. There were supposed to be three heats and I was in the second.  I must have missed the announcement that said they were going to combine the first heat.  I was talking to Chad and looked up to see everyone up on the blocks ready to go.  Gordon was in my same heat and he was up on the blocks.  I tried to grab my stuff, but they were already blowing the whistles.  I decided to just bag it, but then Gordon yelled "Josh are you coming?".  I stripped down, grabbed my goggles and ran up to the the block.  I felt like an idiot for holding up the meet.  I pushed the 1,650, so I wasn't expecting a great time on the 500.  I ended up at 6:06.04, which was better than I thought I would do.

I thought about just skipping the 200, but swam it anyway. I ended up at 2:17.60, which wasn't great.

Anyway, it was a fun meet and I was glad to hang out with my friends and get a PR on the 1,650.  I'm looking forward to the next couple meets at Olympus and Sand Hollow.

11.06.2015

Swim Smooth "How Far Can You Go" Challenge

If you don't already subscribe to the Swim Smooth newsletter, you definitely should.  I think it is some of the best swimming and training advice available and it's in a format that is easy to understand, even if you haven't been swimming all your life.

A few weeks ago in the Swim Smooth email, a challenge was described that is designed to help give you some motivation and something to work towards during the winter months.  With no big swims to train for in the winter, it's hard for me to get up and go to the pool.  So when I saw this challenge, I was excited to give it a try and finally got around to doing it this week.

Basically, for the "How Far Can You Go" Winter Challenge, you time yourself swimming a 400 yard (or meter) swim.  You should be going "all out" and trying to get your best time.  After you swim your 400 for time, look up your time on the chart below to figure out your "challenge" pace.  Once you have your "challenge pace" you try to swim as many lengths as you can at that pace (it really helps to have a FINIS Tempo Trainer Pro).

Your current
400m/yd time*
per 25m/yd
per 50m/yd
per 33m/yd
12:00
41
83
55
11:45
40
81
54
11:30
40
79
53
11:15
39
78
52
11:00
38
76
51
10:45
37
74
50
10:30
36
73
48
10:15
36
71
47
10:00
35
69
46
9:45
34
68
45
9:30
33
66
44
9:15
32
64
43
9:00
31
63
42
8:45
31
61
41
8:30
30
59
40
8:15
29
58
39
8:00
28
56
37
7:45
27
54
36
7:30
26
53
35
7:15
26
51
34
7:00
25
49
33
6:45
24
48
32
6:30
23
46
31
6:15
22
44
30
6:00
21
43
28
5:45
20
41
27
5:30
20
39
26
5:15
19
37
25
5:00
18
36
24
4:45
17
34
23
4:30
16
32
21
4:15
15
30
20
4:00
14
29
19

Swim Smooth recommends doing this challenge every couple of weeks.  It doesn't take long to do and you can easily fit it into your workout, or even do it at the end.  The idea is to see if you can increase the distance you swim at your challenge pace.

On Wednesday, I swam 400yards for time at the end of the workout and got a time of 4:51.  I've been out of the pool for a while and haven't done a CSS test for a long time so I decided to swim easy until my heart rate came back down and then swim a 200 sprint so I could figure out my current CSS pace.  I did the 200 in 2:20, resulting in a CSS of 1:16.  (Click here for a brief explanation of CSS training)

Looking up my 400 time on the chart, I was right between the 4:45 and 5:00 times, so I decided to go with the faster time.  My challenge pace was 17 second per 25 yards (which is is a 1:08 / 100 pace).

At the end of my workout today, I decided to do the challenge and see how far I could get.  I thought maybe I'd get 50 to 75 yards and was surprised when I got to 150.

I'm excited to keep going with this challenge and test again in a couple weeks to see if I can get further than 150 yards at that pace.  If you decide to give this challenge a try, let me know how it goes.

9.12.2015

Crewing for Michelle Poole's Anacapa Swim

I was invited a while back by my friend Michelle Poole to come to California to help her with her second attempt at swimming from Anacapa Island to Silver Strand Beach.

I got in really early on Friday morning and spent most of the day just messing around. I went to the LDS temple in Los Angeles and also checked out where we would be meeting on Saturday morning.

I met up with Michelle Friday afternoon and she got me checked into a room. I had been up since 4am, so I took a nap while we waited for everyone else.

I got a text a few hours later that the crew was mostly there. I went down to meet Ray (physicians assistant), Beth (interpreter) and Diane (Deaf Services Unlimited, who was sponsoring Micki's swim). We talked for a bit, then headed to dinner where we worked out some of the details. After picking up some supplies, I went to bed.

The next morning I got up at 3 am so that i could be ready and drive to the starting point by 3:30.  Beth and Diane were banging and kicking the door to Michelle's room, trying to wake her up. Finally she got up and ready and we were off.

On the way to the harbor we found out that the observer, Cherie Edborg, was going to be late.  The plan was for Micki to start swimming around 6 am, but it ended up being around 8am.  The ride over on the Tuna Thumper was gorgeous; flat water and an amazing sunrise.  I felt a bit queasy, so I laid down and slept for a bit on the couch.  When I woke up, Tom (the paddler) was getting his stuff ready to go. I got up and was surprised to see how close we were to the island.

Micki got ready and I helped her with the grease on her back. She lowered herself slowly in the water and then started to swim to the cliff. The water was about 66 degrees at the start.

After touching the cliff, she started her swim and Cherie started her time. My main job was getting feeds ready and keeping track of time between feeds.

It was nice to talk to Cherie and Beth while Micki was plugging along.  Cherie has swam Anacapa in the past and has observed many swims.  She was one of three swimmers featured in the documentary Driven (which I highly recommend watching). She saw the Great Salt Lake shirt I was wearing and mentioned she wanted to come do the swim.  It would be awesome if she comes!  I asked her a lot of questions about the Anacapa swim.  I think I'm sold on doing it myself.

Micki's feeds were almost exclusively Maxim, but she mixed in a few other things like cookies and a banana. She took feeds every 30 minutes from the start.  She didn't drink a whole lot when she stopped, but it must have been enough to keep her going.  She never complained about being cold or being in pain.

The weather and water were amazing. For most of the swim, the water was in the 70's and pretty smooth.

We saw a small shark that we kept a close eye on. We also saw sea lions, a small whale, and a pod of dolphins.

Micki was swimming fast with a 3-5 mile current for the first part of the swim. After about 6 miles, I got in to swim with her. Captain Bob wanted me to push her pace so that we would be clear of a freighter that was headed towards us. I only planned to swim for an hour but ended up staying in for 1.5.  The water was warm, super clear and blue. I never saw any animals while I was swimming, but got stung several times by small jellyfish.  This was a new experience for me.  They felt like mild, pulsing bee stings.  I was stung probably 10 times while I was in the water.

When I got out, she was starting to slow down a bit. She also got sick and threw up a few times. She was taking a long time to get going again at each feed. We kept trying to tell her to speed up and keep going.  It took longer than normal to communicate at feeds because everything had to go through Beth, the interpreter.

As we got closer we could see the waves break on the shore. The Harbor Patrol pulled up and escorted her in to shore. We had to stay a ways back in the big boat, but could see a big crowd walking over to where she was going to be landing. She had a crowd of about 50 people when she finished and we could hear them cheering from the boat.

Micki became the first deaf person to swim Anacapa.  I can only imagine what her face must have looked like when she got to shore and how excited she must have been. Her time was around 7:02. If she hadn't taken so long during feeds, she could have broken 7 hours for sure.

I highly recommend crewing for a swimmer if you get the chance. It's really rewarding and inspiring. I have been thinking about swimming Anacapa, and crewing for Micki inspired me to do it (probably in two years, depending on if I go to Spain next summer).  I hope that the conditions are as good for me on the day I do it.

Congrats Michelle on a great swim!

Here are some photos:


Micki getting ready for the boat ride to Anacapa Island

Observer Cherie Edborg and interpreter Beth Koubsky going over the rules.

Beautiful morning!

Damn! No that's a sunrise!


The arch at Anacapa Island.

Greased and ready to go!

Getting in the water.

Smooth and warm water.

Stopping for a feed.

Calling to the dolphins.

Awesome conditions.

Getting closer to the finish, still swimming strong.

Harbor Patrol escort in to shore.

Finished! With a big crowd of spectators.

She made it!