Saturday, July 20, 2013

Results of the 2013 Bear Lake Monster Swim

As you know I didn't swim the event today, but helped Josh with directing it.

We set up a schedule and kept it fairly well, we were only a few minutes off of our scheduled plan, but that's not too bad.  I've organized a swim meet before where we were off schedule by 45 minutes and that can be REALLY embarrassing.  After checking everyone in, which went really smoothly, we had our safety meeting and then directed everyone to meet at Cisco beach for the start.

I made sure to check people again as they started to enter the water.  There were a few people who weren't there on time.  Josh made some phone calls and we were in danger of not hitting the schedule start, so we decided that the two remaining swimmers would still be able to swim, but just with a delayed start and we would just adjust their time at the finish to get a net time.

We took a photo at the start (which I need to get from Connie Hubbard) and then did a count down for the relay teams.  I thought it would be a good idea to give them a head start just to get their motor boats out of the way instead of having the entire group in a mad rush at the start with all those propellers it made me nervous.  So we did a countdown for the relay teams.  Then two minutes later they had their boats far enough out to not be in the near vicinity of the larger group of 19 solo swimmers.

Then about 10 minutes after the solo swimmers started our two late comers appeared and we got them started exactly 15 minutes after their fellow soloists started.  Everyone was accounted for and safely departed.

When I got to the other side at the finish Josh told me that one swimmer was pulled, but the rest were going strong.  I got my binoculars out and noticed that from under the big red arch that I couldn't even see the field of swimmers.  I was confused where they were so I walked down to the end of the marina wall on the north side and noticed that from the angle of the course that they had to swim north slightly.  Enough that the marina wall was blocking the view.  Oops #1:  The finish wasn't even visible from the course.  At least I told the swimmers and kayakers at the start to swim for the marina and that the arch would just be at the north end of the marina.  Unfortunately, they wouldn't actually see the arch until they were practically there.  Next year we will put the arch at the end of the marina wall so it can be seen from the start.

Josh and I spotted the first wave of fast swimmers as they were coming in.  Using the binoculars we could tell that the first swimmer was wearing a wetsuit.  We didn't have a clue who it was from that distance, but realized that our policy of having no awards for wetsuited swimmers was probably flawed.  Typically wetsuited swimmers at the GSL race don't stand a chance, because they don't really have that advantage with the buoyancy since everyone is already buoyant.  But here in Bear Lake, that wetsuit actually does make a big difference and the first place person was wearing one.  We realized it might ruffle some feathers with that policy even though we did make it clear in the registration that awards were for the non-wetsuit division male and female.  And then for relay's it didn't matter because wetsuit or not since it is a "for fun" division anyway.

Oops #2: Instead of appearing to be antagonistic towards wetsuited swimmers, just get an award for those divisions.   

Next year we'll have a first place award for male and female wetsuit and non wetsuit division, and then first place relay, so five awards.  Problem with this year is that we didn't expect to have a good turnout.  It really makes it hard to budget an event when people sign up last minute.  We end up being short on shirts, and don't have the money on hand to buy awards in advance.  Hopefully the fact that we only had two "Oops" that weren't huge issues, but still allowed the race to be pretty successful, that we will have a better turn out next year and that we can make some modifications to make it an even more enjoyable swim next year.

The biggest surprise:  Sue took first place for the female division.  In fact she kicked the butt of the time that Josh and I were able to do yesterday.  We did 3:17 and she got 3:10.  That was very impressive!  I didn't expect her to get such a great time.  Congratulations Sue!

Cleanup:   The biggest pain of the event is cleanup.  This year it appeared to include shuttling swimmers to the east side.  The website apparently says that we will shuttle swimmers, but the details of that Josh and I never discussed.  It ended up being Cathi making two trips over, which is quite a bit of driving while I stay behind and clean up, and also make sure we get every swimmer in.  It's a time consuming process and seriously takes ALL DAY.

Afterwards we drove back to the cabin to unwind and eat some dinner.  Cathi was kind enough to let me get in another 30 minutes in the Logan River.  That felt so good especially with feeling overheated there at Bear Lake.  The water temp was 59 degrees and felt wonderful.  I wish I could live there and get up everyday for a cold water endless swim.

Total: 30 minutes in 59 degrees (3/4 mile to be conservative)
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