Saturday, April 11, 2015

Chad's English Channel Qualifying Swim

Yesterday I went out with Chad, Josh, Julie and Sam to the GSL for a swim.  The water felt nice.  I took a temp several times outside the marina and they read 64!  My digital one that I bought at the boat ramp read 62.

The swim was nice and I was able to keep up with Julie.  Shoulder felt great.  Didn't cause me any trouble.  There was a little bit of chop coming from the northeast so I preferred breathing on the right to avoid any water getting in my mouth.  

After today's swim we realized that we really ought to get out on Saturday for Chad's swim.  I stopped at the store on the way home to get some supplies.  

---------------------------- Saturday, April 11th -----------------------------

This morning I got to the boat ramp at 8:15am to eat my breakfast and get all ready for when we agreed to start.  I layed up the sun screen.  It was a very sunny beautiful day.  I took a preliminary reading with my digital thermometer at the boat ramp and it read 53°F !!!!!  Wow, we should stall a little and let the sun heat up the water just a little.

Chad gets ready to start.  Photo: Josh Green
Eventually 9am came around and Chad shows up.  He was late cause he forgot the backrest on his kayak.  My lower back was grateful he turned around instead of just saying "Screw it".  We took a temp with the traditional mercury read thermometers, and it read 55° in the marina!  We were hoping it would be a little warmer out in the water and the temp didn't seem to phase him.  It was a pretty calm day and no forecast for any kind of trouble with wind or rain so we decided to head out to Antelope Island and turn around about 3 hours into it and come back.

We took off and there was a slight breeze from the north, but nothing terrible. Just enough to cause about 1 foot wavelet that sometimes would crash over my bow and spray salt water all over me.  Not a big deal, but my gloves started to get salty.  I pulled out one of my "jokes" that I bought at the store.  Hulk gloves that actually ended up being really nice to have.  They were waterproof and had lots of foam so they were very comfortable to wear.  I put them on and it took a couple hours for Josh and Chad to even notice.  Haha!  I guess I look hulky naturally or something.  (Yeah I wish)

Looking strong.  Photo: Josh Green
After every feed I stopped and updated the log, while Josh would resume paddling, then I'd paddle like mad to catch up, and take over the support on the right side.  Chad really likes to breathe on the right side.  I don't have a problem with that unless it creates some kind of imbalance that introduces pain.

Every feed right from the start was like clock work.  30 minutes after the previous one.  At the first feed the temperature showed me 57° and the digital thermometer 55°F.  Woah!  That's significantly cooler than the 61 degree threshold.  I asked how he was doing and he said "fine", his feet were a little cold, but his core was fine.  He said he didn't even feel cold.  Awesome!  

My log that I maintained during the swim.
The first hour and a half the water was slightly choppy, but then it calmed down to just a ripple.  It was nice to get a bit of a break with the headwind.  Every feed was pretty flawless.  I'd wave him down, and he'd take two more strokes and stop just in time for me to hand him his bottle.  He didn't complain, or even make any requests for specific items to consume.  I'd alternate between his Perpetuem mix and gatorade, and at the two hour mark gave him his first solid: 2 little debbies.  He said they tasted a little salty.  Ha!  Everything tastes a little salty when eating them in the GSL.  He was cracking me up with some of the comments he'd make on this swim.  He was in very good spirits.  He said he forgot to over lube in his groin area and teased Josh about him greasing that area for him.

He said his face was taking a beating with the salt.  Particularly under his goggles.  The wind had died down, regardless I suggested that we go 3.5 hours north, that way when we head back south and get the push from the current and breeze so that we don't end up arriving at the marina earlier than the 6 hour target.

After finishing entering the information in the log from his second feed I quickly opened my waterproof container and called Cathi to give her an update.  She said that the tracker wasn't working and that it only showed one dot still at the boat ramp.  I checked the spot, and sure enough it was off.  I tried powering it up, but it wouldn't.  Dang, batteries were dead.  I opened the battery compartment and realized that I had backup AA's and the spot takes AAA batteries!  Doh!  OK now I know to pack extra AAA batteries.  So I asked Cathi to please update facebook with his status as many people would be curious.  Sorry Chad!  But if this is the only snag of the swim, it will be fantastic.

At the 8th feed, after asking how he felt (mostly concerned about the temperature taking a toll on him) and he mentioned fine except for some pain in his shoulder.  I gave him a couple
acetamenophen tabs (200 mg total).

Man I was sick of seeing
50's.  This is a legit
swim!
It ended up being perfect to turn around at 3.5 hours, cause it took a few minutes more than 2.5 hours to get back.  The breeze was fairly constant and gave us a nice push heading back.  For the first three hours the temperature stayed below 57, and at the turn around point it finally hit 58. At the four hour mark it hit 59° and stayed there until the final feed at 5.5 hours into the swim, I finally got a 60+ reading (61 degrees).  As we got near the marina opening Josh pointed to the outlook and there was Chandra and Chad's kids with posters off in the distance cheering.  When we got to about 100 yards from the marina opening Josh shouted that the temperature had risen dramatically and he got 65 degrees.  I took a reading to confirm and indeed the last 200 yards or so the temp had jumped 4 degrees.  Wow!  

Nearing the finish!  Photo: Josh Green
He finished strong and got out at 6:03:29.  The average temperature of the entire swim came to 58.1°F.  He swam strong and his stroke rate remained about the same.  He only dropped from 65 down to 61 at the very end.  The cold temperature seemed to have practically no affect on him whatsoever.  The salt did a number on his lips and tongue which was to be expected.  He mentioned that the pain in his shoulder went away as he realized that he was doing a thumb first entry and when he focused on doing a proper entry that his shoulder pain went away.  Glad he was able to figure that out, and correct it.

I'm so proud of that guy!  I was holding off getting tickets to England until this swim was over and now I can very confidently purchase those tickets!  He did outstanding and given a great day out over the channel, we're gonna make this happen!  Very happy for him.

Thanks to Josh for coming to assist paddling for the swim.  It was nice to have someone to talk to, as well as cover for me while I was taking notes in the log.  Thanks!

Here's a highlight video I produced:


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