Saturday, April 19, 2014

First swim in Bountiful Lake for 2014

This morning I coached South Davis Masters, followed immediately by a coaches meeting, so I didn't get a chance to swim in the pool, but I planned on a swim at 10am with Joelle in Bountiful Lake.  I invited Sarah to come too, but wasn't sure she would cause of the hype about the lack of cleanliness of Bountiful Lake.  She also swam 10,000 yards at SDRC too so I wasn't sure she'd have enough left to do an open water swim.

I got there at 9:40 and waited for Joelle, but she didn't show up.  I called and found out she had a CPR class that she was in the middle of that she wasn't aware of earlier.  So I took a temp at the boat ramp and it read 54.7 degrees.  I was expecting close to 60 since it was 57 a couple weeks ago.  All the runoff from the snowy mountains must be regulating the temperature lower than I thought.

Planned on doing a Josh Green Loop (.7 miles), but Sarah was a little nervous about going that far in the colder than anticipated temperature.  Once we got to the first island I stopped and asked how she was doing and whether she was up for continuing on or not.  She smiled big and said she was loving it, so we continued on around the second island.  The water quality wasn't terrible, I kept an eye out for floating logs of wood which is common out there.  Wouldn't want to run into anything real big or sharp out there.

We swam around the second island and the sun came out and it was really nice.  I was wondering about asking Sarah if she wanted to just go around the perimeter and get in a mile instead, but I didn't want to push my luck.  I was lucky to have a partner today and I didn't want the first experience to be a negative one, so I stuck to the plan.  I took a temp with my watch and it read 57 degrees.  So I'll average the two readings and call it 56 degrees.  

When I got near the boat ramp as I was getting out, one of the fishermen right there caught a very large trout.  Probably the biggest I've ever seen.  It had to have been over 20 inches.

The thing I don't like is the taste in my mouth after a swim in Bountiful Lake.  Today's flavor was like the smell of cut grass after it's been placed in a bin and sitting in the sun for a day.  Rotten grass smell, but as a taste.  In my mouth.  Could be alot worse.  I'll take that over many other smells/tastes.  Always though I have this urge to brush my teeth afterwards.

I had a great time and plan to go again at least once or twice next week.

I stumbled across this video of a Bountiful Lake swim I did a few years ago, when it was much colder.  Kinda funny.  My mom did the video.  Today's swim was definitely not a winter swim.  But 56 isn't a walk in the park either.  It was "refreshing"!

Total: .7 miles in 20 minutes

Thursday, April 17, 2014

7th 10K for April Challenge

Last night I penned this workout together on a piece of paper and swam it this morning starting at 0520:

300 warmup
3400 - 4 x (250 free, 100 kick with fins, 4 x 100's desc 1-4 on 1:30, 100 back)
6,250 - 5 x (300 free on 4:30, 150 back/breast/fly, 4 x 200's pull desc paddle size on 2:45, 1:15 of treading in deep end no hands with Gatorade bottle)
50 skull easy

10,000 yards in 2:42

I especially enjoyed the egg beater tread drills, and the skulling at the end.  I don't do those often enough.  Triceps are still sore from Monday's killer lifting session with Alex, but not a painful sore, a good sore.  Feeling buff.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Miss Swinger

Today I downloaded this ipod app.  It came with a cool new swimmer: Miss Swinger instead of just Mr. Smooth.

Here's more on the Swinger types.  I've tried to adopt a Smooth style, but I can't seem to get that synchronous and pretty bent elbow and 6 beat kick.  I have that straighter arm recovery and definitely a 2 beat kick.

The water was pretty smooth, and the salt wasn't a big deal.  Felt awesome
out there!
Up till now I was under the impression that the philosophy is to that the smooth style is the only TRUE "church", but apparently it's OK to be a swinger provided that it doesn't introduce drag and you can maintain that stroke for a long time without injuries.  So I'm going to bask in my swinger style, and not be ashamed of it.  Especially that 2 beat kick.

This afternoon I met Sam, Karl, and Sarah at the Marina for a swim.  Sam was referred to the lake from Mike from last week.  I asked him to stay with Karl given this was his first time and not sure he would really want to do a 2 mile Gridley Straight his first time.  Sarah and I swam out to Blackrock, and then swam back.  I took a slightly more arched return trip cause when I got to Blackrock the GPS read .99 miles.  Needed to lengthen that return trip in order to ensure a 2 mile swim.

The water was between 63 and 65 degrees according to my watch.  It felt a little colder than that, but that's just because I'm still acclimatizing and am a bit wimpy.  I never did shiver during the swim, but I did just a little after getting out.  Just a little.  Probably a 1 out of 10 on the shiver scale.

I'm proud of Sarah doubling her distance from last time.  She's a machine.  Can't get over how fast she's progressing.  She's going from an open water newbie to well on her way to a Utah Triple Crowner.  Pretty dang amazing.

Total Distance: 2.05 miles in 1:04

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

6th 10K - Tax Day workout

This morning I had to really get down to business as I had exactly three hours to swim before I was due at the Dentists office.  So I did the following with a "Tax" theme.

Imagine how much easier if our government required a flat tax instead of all these write offs and loopholes.  The Lord has his own "tax" for His church.
Malachi 3:10 - "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."
So this workout consisted of sets followed by a 10% tax for the Lord:

1000 free warmup + 100 backstroke tithe
2 x 500's free at 7:00 + 100 backstroke tithe
4 x 250's free :5 ri + 100 backstroke tithe
5 x 200's pull no rest + 100 backstroke tithe
10 x 100's kicking with fins + 100 backstroke tithe
5 x 200's odd free, even IM no rest + 100 backstroke tithe
4 x 250's free :10 ri, + 100 backstroke tithe
2 x 500's free on 7:00  negative split + 100 backstroke tithe
1000 pull work the lats! + 100 backstroke tithe
100 free (fast offering)

10,000 yards total in 2:45  Then off to the dentist!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Fulfilling my duty to help teach others how to swim

This morning I swam at Layton Surf N' Swim.  I got in at 0520 and started my ladder set before meeting with Ken and Denise Ashby from my ward.  They wanted a quick lesson on how to swim better.  Started with some kicking to help them establish a good body position in the water.  Worked on that for a while, then had them try front crawl, but that was too big of a step and gave them more pointers on how to stay relaxed in the water and stay in a streamlined position.  I encouraged them to continue practicing the drills I gave them and to make an effort to swim at least once a week in order to continue getting used to the water.

Then I continued with my ladder set:

100 free easy
200 IM
300 - 4 x 75's free no rest
400 kick with fins
500 pull
600 - 200 free, 2 x 200 IMs :5 rest
700 - 2 x (250 free + 100 stroke) no rest
800 - 4 x 200's odd IM, even free :5 rest
900 - 9 x 100's free on 1:20
1000 pull
900 - 3 x 300's on 4:30
800 - 4 x 200's odd IM, even free no rest
700 - 2 x (250 free + 100 stroke) no rest
600 - 3 x 200's free on 2:50
500 pull
400 kick with fins
300 - 4 x 75's free on 1:00
200 IM
100 free easy

10,000 yards total in 3:00 (Not counting the time spent with the Ashby's)
5th 10K for the month - felt great.  Didn't have any soreness or weakness.  Just kept it going.  Next time, I'll get creative.  Went with the traditional ladder cause it takes no special brain power to get through it.  

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Results of the Utah State Championship meet

This morning I got a ride with Jacob's swim coach, Jayme Jorgensen.  She said this was her first swim meet in a very long time.  She swam all the tough events (1650 fee, 400 IM, 200 fly, etc)  Pretty brave.

I on the other hand scratched my 1650 free, cause I really was hoping to break my high school PR (5:25) in the 500 free.  Last time I swam the 500 free at the Ski N Swim meet I got 5:32.02 and felt like I could better that.  Well apparently, even with swimming the 500 fresh, I wasn't able to cut that much time off my 500.  In face, I was a fraction of a second slower than the last time I swam it.  I got 5:32.25.  I had Julie take my splits and here they were:

50 - 28.59
100 - 32.05 (1:00.64)
150 - 32.99 (1:33.63)
200 - 32.98 (2:06.61)
250 - 33.26 (2:39.87)
300 - 34.65 (3:15.52)
350 - 34.58 (3:49.10)
400 - 35.06 (4:24.16)
450 - 34.84 (4:59.00)
500 - 33.25 (5:32.25)

Needless to say, I was extremely disappointed with this time.  I felt like I prepared for it and did my best, but apparently my best wasn't good enough. I had Julie Keyes help me with my splits and notifying me of what they were during the swim.  I remember during the 150 mark noticing that my time dropped from my 31 second target straight to 33 instead of maybe leaching into 32 second territory.  I tried to pick it up, but I still wasn't able to hold that 33 second and soon I started seeing nothing but 34s.

Russell Brusch was in the lane next to me and I was trying hard just to stay with him, but he was always, just one arm pull ahead of me.  I thought I'd try staying close to his lane and get any kind of draft off him, but I don't think I was getting much as I had to really push it to stay with him.  I hated the far wall from the blocks.  They were slippery and I had to really stick the feet on the wall to get a good push.  About 4-5 of the push offs the wall were total crap.  Even on the block side, I was too close on a couple of them and ended up with a really deep push.

I got Josh to take some video of the 500 and its no wonder I wasn't able to get the time I wanted.  My stroke looks like crap.  My left arm is totally swinging out, and my push off the walls are extremely wimpy with no dolphin kick at all.

50 fly - Swam a short 100 free to loosen up after the 500.  That didn't seem enough as my arms felt like lead during the 50 fly.  When I took my first breath at about the 15 yard mark I saw the lane counter was being used with the double orange.  I laughed a little, but tried to stay focused on a long powerful stroke.  When I got to the wall I looked forward, and I wasn't able to get a really quality two hand touch because the lane counter was still being held in the pool.  I wanted to extend my reach, grab the edge of the pool with my hands close together, and then turn, but with the lane counter still being held in, I had to reach around it.  With the far end of the pool having less than ideal surface area, my turn on the 50 fly sucked pretty bad.

I tried to make up for it on the swim back to the finish.  Ended up with a 28.70.  Over a second faster than the Ski-n-swim meet, but I had over 15 minutes rest from the 500 free to the 50 fly, whereas with the Ski-N-swim, I had less than a minute.  I had my split time as 28.5 which is what I probably would have got had I been given the opportunity to swim it without being interfered with.  FYI - lane counters are supposed to come out before the swimmer gets to the wall.  And yes, you'll get wet if you don't.

200 free - I had about 20 minutes rest before swimming the 200 free.  I was again disappointed in getting a 2:06.27.  I'm capable of getting a much better time than that!

I tried to be a good coach for the South Davis Masters swimmers: Julie Keyes, Matt Chamberlain, Mindy Hopfenbeck, and John Eyring.  They all swam exceptionally well.  I was super impressed with Matt's 100 free time: 51.03

Check out Julie's 100 free.  She was so stoked to get her goal time.  An improvement I think she said by 7 seconds on her 100 free.  Awesome work Julie!
As well as Josh's 100 free.  Look how smooth his stroke looks!  And I love the finish, how he comes from a half body length on that last 25 for the win.  Literally, a smokin swim!

Thursday, April 10, 2014


This morning I got to sleep in a little.  Yoo hoo!  Got up at 4:45 and took my sweet time getting to the pool at Northwest.  Here's what I planned for and swam as successfully as I had hoped:

300 easy warmup
10 x 100's FAST
1st one a little easier than the others (1:07), 2-9 got 1:04 and on the last one 1:01
300 easy cooldown

1,600 yards total in 30 minutes

Because I pushed those 100's I don't feel guilty one bit for tapering.  If I can maintain a 1:04 average on my 100 splits in the 500 free,  I'll have a new PR (from high school) beat this Saturday.  I think this is doable.  It's gonna be tough, but definitely possible.  Looking forward to it!  No swim tomorrow, mental training tomorrow.

Side note, Craig Lenning (One of only 3 people to have a Frosted Triple Crown) finished a monumental swim from Farallones to the shoreline near SF yesterday.  Tough dude.  Super tough.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Team Pursuit attempt

This morning in the midst of my sleep, Cathi wakes me "Gordon aren't you swimming?"  I look at the clock.  45 minutes beyond my alarm.  Fortunately I set my alarm way earlier than I really need so I can take my time with my morning routine.  But today I had to jump straight out of bed, rush through and get on the road.  I made it to the pool exactly at 5am which is what I wanted.  I was planning to meet Jason and Sarah to swim the 1650 Team Pursuit.

Sarah was gracious enough to offer to time Jason and I in a 2-man team relay.  Jason apparently did the same thing with his alarm and showed up at 0515.  Which was fine cause we had aloted a full hour to warmup and swim the mile before masters started, which I was in charge of coaching.

Warmed up with about 200 yards of freestyle practicing side by side drafting.  Jason was new to it and occasionally we'd get a bump or two, but nothing major.

Thanks to Sarah Jones for taking the time
to record our splits when she could be swimming
her 3rd 10,000 for April!
So off we started agreeing to swim side by side offset a little so the person drafting would be right on the leader's hip.  Switching lead position every 100 yards.  The goal was to get about a 1:15/100 yard pace.  Here is the actual results.  We were doing well and at about 400 yards into it, I was already hurting.  I was a little negative in my head thinking "Only half -way?!!!!"  I knew it wasn't going to be a pretty ending.

Unfortunately at the 650 yard mark, Jason stopped at the wall as I flipped and kept going.  He picked back up after that 50.  OK, not the end of the world I thought.  He'll do an extra 50 yards once I'm done.  He was able to hold on until 1050 and then again he held back for a lap. Game over.  Doing an extra 100 yards after I'm done?  No way was the time going to be sufficient for a decent entry. Oh well, at least I'll keep going and see what I get on my own individual 1650.

Most of the splits show an under 40 second time, but near the end I was freakin' tired and we got a bunch of 40's and a couple 41s.  No way was I gonna get a 20 minute mile.  Jason held up one more time at the 1600 mark and when I touched the wall on the 1650 Sarah stopped the clock at 21:24.46.  Definitely not what I wanted considering I got just under 20 minutes last November at the SDM meet.  Oh well.  This is the third time I attempted to swim this for the Team Pursuit challenge, and the first time of actually swimming it.  Unfortunately it didn't result in an actual team finish, so I can't submit it.  Don't get me wrong I'm grateful he came,  he pushed me and we are a similar pace, just there is some improvement on endurance, and he's not a huge fan of long distance events.  So I don't blame him.  I am grateful and he did gain some experience in drafting, and got a killer workout in for today.

This Team Pursuit Challenge apparently didn't take off like the SLOW leadership had hoped and it has crashed and burned.  Definitely not even comparable to the one hour postal that USMS has grown and developed.

I did a few more laps of warmdown before getting out to coach masters, and ended up with a daily total of 2000 yards.  Looking forward to tonight's open water swim in the Great Salt Lake.  Hoping to do a Gridley Straight, but it may be a cut a little short depending on how the cold water will affect the group.

This evening I met Mike, a member of the QUAC club who is the first to join us from QUAC.  He was very interested in swimming in the lake and was excited to join us.  I hope his experience was as pleasant as it could be given it was his first time in the lake.  It's always a rough experience the first time, but gets progressively easier as well as more enjoyable over time.

These medals aren't the tiny dinky things.
Pretty good sized with tons of detail.
And the ribbon itself is extremely well done.
Today's swimmers were Goody, Josh, Sarah, Mike, Karl and myself.  The water temp was still pretty cool getting in.  We swam out to the red buoy and then east to the next red buoy, then a couple loops between the two red buoys and then back in.  Since we didn't have a kayaker, I towed my Swimmer Buddy Board with the GPS in tow.  The GPS read a total distance of 1.01 miles.

Goody and I talked for a good bit during the swim swimming heads up breast stroke.  Today marked an important anniversary for him.  One year since his clean bill of health from the Drs.  He's been through a lot and is one tough dude!  I'm very blessed to have him as a friend.

Josh showed me one of the medals that I've only seen pics of up to this point.  It looks even better than a picture can portray.  The level of detail is outstanding!  Here is a picture of Karl modeling it.  Seriously, this is gonna make the race participants freak with delight when they get home, rinse off all that salt, and sip on a cool drink and look at this medal and ponder their experience.  I think it'll stand out as a big life moment for many.

I stopped by Bountiful Lake on the way home and took a temp reading.  57.8 degrees.  Looks like perhaps it's time to give that a try on Saturday, after the meet.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

April is Learn to Swim month

This morning I met a couple guys at Layton Surf N' Swim.  They are triathletes who just wanted a couple tips to improve their stroke.

Curtis and Pete (Not including last names so I can reference them and their individual points of needed improvement)

Both of them had their own strengths, and the issues that needed to be fixed are common among many swimmers.


  1. Lifting head out of the water when breathing, instead of rotating the body.  Head position while swimming (Notice Tip #4)
  2. The arm recovery out of the water was correct.  Bent elbow and hand entry into the water was spot on.  However the right hand after entering the water, had a sweeping, or sculling motion at the very start of his catch.  To correct this and to read up on the catch, check out this excellent resource.  In Curtis' particular scenario, his left hand was spot on, but his right hand was completely different.  Working on getting that right hand to mimic his left would be a high priority.
  3. Lack of kick. - While the kick is relatively low in actual propulsion during the front crawl, it is still very important in the rhythm and influence on body roll.  Here is a good article on kicking including demonstrations of good kicking, and other useful tips.  This video attempts to teach correct body rotation, but at the same time introduces incorrect depth on the kick.  Look how far his feet are from the surface.  It's way too low.  Don't teach a drill that introduces an incorrect technique in another area, that can develop into a bad habit.  
  1. Too much pause at the start of his catch, and head too low in the water.  I asked about TI and he admitted that he was a follower.  Total Immersion has a huge following, and it has its merits, such as introducing relaxation for anxious newbies, and encourages efficiency, but many of the methodologies are simply counterproductive.  Here is a good argument that I happen agree with.
  2. Too much body rotation. - Body rotation is good, but too much and you lose the correct rhythm. This video shows what over rotation looks like.  However, the fix it drill they prescribe is counterproductive to the issue of having too much pause at the start of the catch, and I wouldn't recommend that drill in this particular scenario because it only reinforced the lack of catch that he's already experiencing.  Here's an awesome article on body rotation.
  3. Lack of kick.  Kicking should be included in every workout.  I suggested that it consist of 10-20% of your total distance in a workout.  It's great for increasing ankle flexibility and developing the right amount of kick in your swimming.  
After working with them for about 20 minutes or so I did my own swims.  

Total yards today:  1500 yards.  The tapering for Saturday's swim meet has begun!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Day 4 of 10x10Ks - Grab bag

Man the pool was crowded this morning.  Had to share with David Balling.  Started a ladder, but only got to 600 before joining masters:

100 easy
200 IM
300 - 3 x 100's free on 1:30
400 - 2 x 200's free :10ri
500 - 400 IM + 100 IM
600 - 3 x 200s free strong

200 - 150 yards of pulling lane lines and returning. + 50 easy

Warmup: 300 IM backwards Drill

300 free
300 kick (no fins)
300 pull strong with Jason practicing drafting)
200 breast stroke

900 - 3 x (6 x 50's) starting at :45 for first 6, :40 for second 6, take an extra minute, then last 6 on :35! (pull)
400 IM

200 - 8 x 25's sprint on :45 (odd fly, even free)
200 backstroke
100 cool down

Then picked up back on the ladder starting at 900 coming down:

900 pull
800 - 4 x 200's odd IM, even free (get under 2:45 on the free)
700 - 2 x (250 free + 100 back)
600 - 3 x 200's odd free, even IM on 3:00
500 - 5 x 100's tempo trainer on 2:00 (1st @ :80(1:12), 2nd @ :78(1:09), 3rd @ :76(1:07), 4th @ :74(1:05), 5th at :70(1:03))
400 kick with fins
300 - 4 x 75's free/drill/free on 1:15
200 IM
100 free with extremely heavy drag suit (My basketball deck shorts that I use for modesty purposes when I get out of the pool)

10,000 yards total in 3:05

Not the best workout ever.  I liked the 3 sets of 6 x 50's with Matt taking the lead.  Had to pull that last set otherwise I would have had to flip turn right into the next 50.  Was able to stop, look at the clock, take a breath and go!  

This will be my last 10K for the week since I need to start tapering for the meet on Saturday.  I'll pick things back up on Tuesday, April 15th.