Thursday, October 31, 2019

Swimming to Moscow

Hit another big milestone..... Swimming from Salt Lake City to Moscow (A virtual stage swim obviously, which includes every stinkin' swim I've logged) Haha.

5,553 miles total


Here's all the swim's I've logged:  https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1gVsWUALbblPVJTseGEnAyya18z7MvMzCFY-MXcpZ4jw

And yesterday's open water swim in the GSL was 44 degrees F!  Sam went with me and we both swam from the boat ramp to the outside of the marina opening and back.  About 7 minutes.  Sam swam waterpolo style the whole way.  Something you can get away with in the GSL.

Jim came too and got in and was in the water longer than we were.  He's amazing that guy!

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Learning to swim. Better late than never.

It would be tragic for someone's last thought to be prior to dying "I wish I learned how to swim".  Yet that's what thousands of people in the United States are likely to think as they take their last breath prior to sinking under the water helpless.  There are a significant number of local news stories that cover drowning in Utah.

I had a friend from work gree me in the elevator and say how I inspired her to sign up for an adult swimming lesson at her local pool.

That made my day hearing her tell me that. 

I've been able to help several adults in the few months that I've had my endless pool.  Giving them a chance to come over and learn a little technique to make swimming easier.  They learn that swimming is a step by step process.  You can't learn the basics in just one or two visits.  It takes dedication to consistent practice and learning as skills improve.  Just like learning how to play an instrument. It requires practice.  But unlike learning how to play an instrument, knowing how to survive in water could be a life saving skill in an emergency.

If this applies to you, take that first step. It would be a real shame to have that that last thought be, "Man if only I would have learned how to swim!"  Let me know if you want help.  I'm willing to give support free of charge.


Monday, September 2, 2019

Sam's first open water marathon

Sam, Cathi and I drove to the Bear Lake Marina just north of Garden city, and got prepared for our 7:30am departure.  I had reached out to Gustavo a month earlier informing him of my intention to do the crossing on Labor Day with Sam. He agreed to do an attempt as well that day.  He wanted to get his Utah Triple Crown this year and the Bear Lake swim this year involved some weather conditions that required pulling some swimmers.  
Sunrise from the Bear Lake Marina Pavillion
So today's swim was another change at getting that UTC for him.  He had a couple of kayakers join him for safety. There was a concern that there would be a huge number of boaters out on the lake.  I knew we'd be OK starting early and getting to the east side earlier in the day.  (I've done three major swims in Bear Lake on Labor Day).  



We started at 7:33am and the water felt awesome.  Sam and I got a great pace going and Cathi was doing well as our kayaker.  Sam and I swam side by side with Cathi on the outside.

At the first feed I was in good spirits and asked Sam to toast our first drink together out on the lake.  I tried to make this a fun event for Sam and Cathi and yelled out at the end of our feed "On to the nipple!"  Referencing the peak that we often point swimmers to on the east side that gets them close to the position they need to aim for.  Once they get halfway, there is some adjustments to the landscape references for the finish at Cisco Beach Campground entrance.

The water the first half wasn't terrible, but it wasn't glassy.  Once we got in the middle of the lake and beyond, the water was almost glassy with how smooth it was.  At the 3rd feed I told Sam, next time we take a feed we'll be more than halfway.

The feeds we took today consisted of the following:


  • Sliced Peaches ( This is Sam's idea, and it was awesome!  I think I ate more peach slices than he did)
  • flavored milk from Gossners in Logan (Banana and Strawberry milk)  This is a treat that I should have discovered long ago.  I used to get terrible heartburn during swims, and flavored milk would have kept that under control, but I had to endure it.  I'm going to definitely keep this one on my go-to list of feed items!
  • Green Apple Gatorade - Sam, Wild Strawberry Caffeinated drink mix with water - Gords



Once we got the 4th feed I noticed Sam having a harder time to stay right at my 9 o clock. I told him he needed to eat more peaches and get some energy in his body.  But each 30 minute session after that progressively got slower for him and I could see him shivering a little during our feed breaks.  The 7th feed he cramped up pretty good and I asked him to relax the muscle and stretch it.  Once that feed was over, I think he was really angry and he took off!  I had a hard time keeping up with him.  After about 5 minutes he slowed back down, and continued his slower pace.  He was getting tired, but fortunately we were about a mile from shore.  Cathi took some video of the finish: 



Isaac carrying his shivering brother wrapped up in a blanket

The welcome crew, Ethan, Wyatt, Jonas, Sam, Isaac, Me, Cathi and Oliver!
Swimmers and Kayakers
Sam was pretty beat and shivering. Isaac carried him to the car to warm up.  I got dressed and helped load the kayak onto the trailer.  Once we got all loaded up and ready to go, Gustavo completed his crossing. He completed it in 4:24.

We took a minute and took some pictures and finished out mid-day with everyone in smiles.

I asked Sam on a scale from 1-10 what this was as being the hardest thing he's ever done in his life.  He said "9". 

I'm so proud of that kid.  As far as I can tell from the results of the swims of width crossings, Sam is the youngest person to do it (14 years 2 months 9 days)

Next year we're shooting for an Anacapa crossing.




Monday, August 19, 2019

Chad's NYOW 20 Bridge Manhattan Island Circumnavigation



On Friday evening I met Chad at the 155th Ave Station and went to his BnB he was renting for his family and spent the night.

At 5am we left in a Uber for the southern end of the island with his Mom, Diane.  We met up with Josh and got ready to go.  The field consisted of approximately 18 people, with about 4 waves of 4 people starting with the slowest swimmers first.

They started at Pier A, only a short distance further south than where I started my MIMS swim.  The weather was a little cloudy at the start, but after a couple hours it was all sun, and hot!  I did my swim mid June. Mid August is way hotter.  The water temp was in the mid 70's rather than the upper 60s and that's a big difference for someone swimming distance.

Chad swam primarily to the right and there were quite a bit of things to see on the left side. I hope he was able to enjoy as much as he could.  He ran hard into a toolbox that was floating. At the time Josh and I thought it was like a briefcase or something.

He passed up all the other swimmers in his group and those in the first wave.  Josh and I were unable to pace swim for him until the upper Harlem, or Hudson. We both agreed to wait until Hudson, because we could only swim for an hour total. So when we got to the Hudson he swam the first 30 minutes, and I relieved him and swam for the remaining 30 minutes.  The water going from Harlem into Hudson wasn't near as choppy as my swim.

About halfway down the Hudson the chop picked up and the wind came towards him kicking up the water.  He was enjoying the Hudson about as much as I did.  A bit annoying with the rough conditions.  The water to me tasted the same as when I did it.  Like diluted diesel fuel.  It was a fun experience to relive.

Chad's family was waiting with a huge sign for him at Pier 25 and it was awesome to see.

The entire time I kept Chad's family and friends updated with pictures and video.  It was really neat to see the amount of support he was getting.  He was swimming strong and once he saw the huge cruise ship inside of North Cove he was psyched and knew he only had a few hundred yards left to get back to Pier A to finish.

Chad finished in 9:15:56, and is now noted in the list of Utah Superstar Swims as the 3rd Utahn to swim the Triple Crown.  Way to go Chad, all open water swimmers in Utah are inspired by your dedication and resolve!

See the above video for tons of pics and video of the swim.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

2019 Deer Creek Open Water Swim Results - New 5K PR - 1:15:07




Camping the night before at the tent sites
is the way to go! It's fun turning a swim
race into a family event.

Visiting before the race. I didn't have the slightest nervousness
and talking to friends probably was the reason. Poor Oliver
and his broken arm, and Sam all smiles before the race.
Sam, Oliver and I prepared this past month to participate in this race.  Oliver on Thursday night was with our family at a wedding reception where there was a group of kids dancing up on a stage.  Well the kids all went up there and did their goofy fortnite dancing.  I wasn't looking cause I was talking with someone in the crows, when Cathi's Mom came up and said, "I think you better come look at Oliver, he fell and he's injured."

It took Lucy about 20 minutes to catch up at the start. She
had issues getting her "Skirt" on!  But she found me.
Sure enough, he broke his arm two days before his one mile race.  So anyway it was just me and Sam today swimming the 5K while Cathi and Oliver paddled for Sam and Lucy paddled for me.

Sam is 14 and starting his marathon swimming resume.
Next year I'm hoping he'll swim Anacapa with me.
Photo Credit: Jim Hubbard
The water was warm (mid to high 70s), but not so warm that it was detrimental to my performance.  When they started us off I started my watch and swam hard.  I got into a groove and while a couple people passed me within the first mile, I was determined to stay in there and just keep a good maintainable, but quick pace.

At the turnaround point I saw Cathi and Oliver a couple minute back is all and Sam was doing well.  Lucy was in her whitewater kayak and practicing some moves.  I saw her completely upside down at one point and she flipped back over.  She sure loves adventure.  I saw the 1/2 mile buoy from the finish and at this point didn't take a drink and didn't event know what my time was at that point, but I figured I better take something if I wanted a sprint finish. So I yelled out to Lucy, "Drink" and she threw out my water bottle.

Josh is the best. He's kind to everyone he meets and such a
good ambassador of the sport.
Photo Credit: Jim Hubbard
The Monday morning Jordanelle Crew (Minus Zack who was
the beast to swim the 10 mile this time!)
Stop was about 20 seconds and I was off.  I wanted to really come in strong.  The entire time on my swim I recognized that the difference in speed for me wasn't stroke rate.  It was about extending my stroke and focusing on two things:

  1. Good Body roll
  2. A really good extension, and a good catch.
Well that philosophy really paid off. I ended up with a new PR.  My last 5K race was back in 200 (11 years really?), and was a 1:23:16

This morning I got a 1:15:07  Chad was right on my tail, shortly followed by Sam. Sam got 1:21:31. Which still was faster than my previous PR.  That kid is going to be awesome over the next few years.  I asked him if he is sore or what, and he wasn't. I'm thinking we totally could have done the 10K. Not at that pace, but it would have been good.  So we have exciting fall/winter training plans.  Next year is going to be great!

What a great day>Thanks to Lucy, Cathi and Oliver as the support crew. And especially to Jim and Connie for always organizing such an awesome race.


Zack finishing the 10 mile race
Photo Credit: Jim Hubbard

Cathi's always fun to have on the crew. Always so chipper!
Photo Credit: Jim Hubbard

Monday, August 5, 2019

Collecting support for Chad

Chad and Chandra have worked for this dream,
and are a great example of marital support needed for a feat like this!
Chad Starks, on Saturday August 17th will attempt to swim the 28.5 miles around Manhattan Island.  Up the East River, Harlem River, and then down the Hudson river back to the starting point at the south end of the island. 

This will be the final leg in the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming!  To help him feel of the love and support of all those who want to see him finish this thing, I am organizing a "Guess Chad's time" event.  You can submit how long you think it will take for him to complete this swim, and if you are the closest person, I'll send you via email a $50 giftcard to Swimoutlet.com where you can buy a few goggles or a swimsuit. Whatever you want. 

This swim, is my #1 rated most favorite swim of all time!  You can read the details of my own experience of this swim here.

You can submit your words of support and your guess to this form:

https://tinyurl.com/ChadSwimsNYCForm

Good Luck Chad!

Monday, July 22, 2019

3 days of 1 mile in open water

This past week I was up in south eastern Idaho at a scout camp, Camp Bartlett.  The waterfront at camp was restricted to a "25 yard pool" roped off in the lake.  No going outside of that perimeter until Friday at midday, when the aquatics team would organize a mile swim.

Camp Bartlett 


"1 mile" course - extends north towards the lodge.  They had a rope with an occasional noodle to keep the rope afloat.  The turn around float was actually below the surface so if you want to know where to turn around, you better be right there next to the rope to see it.  The course was 5 laps of 200+ yards which makes this a little more than a mile. 
I told Sam to stay right on my tail the whole time as we would be weaving and out of scouts.  There were probably 60 swimmers total.  Most of them swimming sidestroke, backstroke and some breaststroke.  After the first lap the field was dispersed pretty well and we were able to get into a rhythm.  At the 3rd lap I saw Sam right on my tail as directed.  At the 2nd half of the 4th lap he swam along side me, and then picked it up as we approached the finish.  The last 100 yards he was full out sprinting. And I was struggling to keep up with him.  He out-touched me by 2 seconds. 
He set a new course record for the season (2 weeks remaining in the summer season for camp): 35:21 . Which also confirms to me that this is actually more than a mile.  We swam this just about as fast as Bear Lake, and the finish time should have been closer to 30 minutes even.  The water felt like it was probably 67ish.  It was a little chilly at first, ("freezing" according to the scouts), but after going it was totally fine. 


Bloomington lake 









This lake is high up in the mountains east of Bear Lake and Bloomington, Idaho.  The water here was quite a bit cooler.  I would estimate in the high 50s or even 60 degrees even.  I really need to get a thermometer for my goggle box.  Its only a 1/2 mile hike from the parking lot. I had my swimmer buddy board with me. Sam and I got in and swam across to the other side where there was a huge slope full of snow.  I got out and did a snow angle in the ice and then got back in and we swam back. I had to remind Sam to put his face in the water.  He felt swimming waterpolo style was easier on his face with it being so cold for him. 
Sam was pretty cold and got out and I did one more lap, but this time the perimeter of the lake.  The scouts and the other leaders enjoyed the rope swing.  This was a fantastic place to swim. Crystal clear water (greenish hue), and I saw a bunch of little fish underwater.  This was my favorite swim of the month. 1 mile.


Jordanelle 

Normal Monday morning swim in Jordanelle with Josh and Chad, but Cathi suggested I bring Sam along and she would pick him up on the way to Kearns for Waterpolo. Great idea.  I got Sam his own Safe Swim Buoy. He was shivering before we even got in the water. The air temp was a little cool for him at 5:45am when we started.  I used the aquasphere goggles that I got from endless pools.  They're like a diving mask almost and it was tough for me to get a seal.  It took about 4 times during the first quarter mile to clear water out and attempt to reseal.  I finally got it after I tied a knot in the strap to force it to stay put.  I'll probably not use the goggles anymore for training.  Too much fiddling with them to stay sealed.  1.22 miles and felt good.



Saturday, July 13, 2019

2019 Bear Lake Monster Swim

This morning Oliver, Sam and I arrived at the Bear Lake Marina in Garden City for the annual Bear Lake Monster swim.  I have never participated in this race as a swimmer in the past. Mostly as a director or paddler.  I arrived early to help setup the buoys with Chad and help with Josh at check-in.

My friend from work, Angela came to help paddle for the 1 mile section, and I had another boat that I originally was going to paddle, but realized I really should be in the water.  So I found a dad for a young swimmer that was willing to take my place as a paddler.


Two days ago, our family was up at Altamont at a family reunion, and we went on a training swim to Starvation reservoir.  The water was pretty cool getting in and I wanted the boys to experience a cold open water swim as a measure of what they should expect on Saturday.  They were doing so well! Sam was keeping up with me no problem.  At that point I realized I needed to show him how to draft and demonstrate the advantage that it is for an open water swimmer where drafting is legal.

At that point I decided I would do the one mile race as well.  We started that morning and Sam kept up with me the whole time.  I noticed that every time I would sight that I was already in line with the buoys that I was shooting for. So my stroke is pretty good as far as swimming straight.

Oliver swam the 1/2 mile, and Sam and I swam the mile.  There were several swimmers who "cut the line" to the proper buoys and shaved off some of the distance.  But to me, it's not about winning the race, but about getting the full distance in a time that meets or exceeds my pre-set expectations.

The goals we agreed upon:


  • Oliver - 1/2 mile in under 20 minutes
  • Me and Sam - 1 mile in under 30 minutes
We all made our goal and felt great about it.  Oliver got 18:56. I got 29:54 and Sam right on my tail at 29:58. It was nice to get out there and feel the coolness of the lake and see the fish below us in that beautiful crystal clear water.  It was a successful day!

Here are the results of the race.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Wesley Johnson's birthday swim

I recently learned through Facebook of Wesley Johnson's upcoming Catalina attempt (on July 25th), and reached out to him to see if he needed any help training.  It's awesome that we have another Catalina Crossing from a Utah swimmer since last summer's Catalina swim from James Jonsson.

Sleeping in the van the night before.
Kinda lonely on a 4th of July evening.
Wes told me he wanted to do a long training swim that started very early in the morning on his birthday.  I took the day off work and drove up the evening of July 4th and stayed in a campsite that his friend Mark bought for him.

I got up at 3:30 and met Wes at the Deer Creek boat ramp.  For his birthday I gave him a bulk pack of light sticks which will come in handy for his Catalina crossing which will require at least a dozen.  We got everything packed up and lit up and he made his way in the water.  I didn't have a thermometer but the website said that the water temp was in the low 60s.

There was no wind, and it was a clear night. In fact prior to getting in I saw a star make its way overhead which I immediately recognized as the international space station and snapped a pic.


We started the swim about 4:15, and I started my tracking on mapmyfitness.  He wanted a drink every 15 minutes, which he must have programmed into his watch because he was the one to initiate the stop only a few seconds before the 15 minutes elapsed.

At 7am we met several of his friends at the boat ramp where they joined us.  The all wore wetsuits, and man were they fast.  I sensed about a 25% jump in the pace.  Wes I'm sure really enjoyed the opportunity to draft.  Unfortunately none of that will be available for the Catalina crossing, but it was a great chance to get a slight break and also increase the speed.

The sun was warming the air and the swimmers kept up their quick pace only stopping every 30 minutes for a regroup and quick drink break for Wes. At 10:30 we stopped at the boat ramp and picked up a couple more swimmers and made our way over to sailboat beach (just around the bend west of the boat ramp) where the swim ended.

Mark, who reserved the campsite, also cooked up a very nice barbecue for the group of burgers and hotdogs.  It was cool to meet these young international triathletes and celebrate Wes' birthday together.  We talked about a few of the various Catalina crossing topics.  I'm betting Wes gets it done in about 10 hours.  His pace was about a 28 minute mile.  The reason we finished when we did was because we ended up waiting at various times at the boat ramp for additional swimmers to join in.

This was a fun experience, and again made me realize that kayaking these distances is quite a big deal too.


Monday, June 17, 2019

2019 Open water kickoff - two open water swims this weekend

I texted Chad re: swimming in Pineview last week and he mentioned that it was still a little cold, but he was open to go for it.  I looked up the temp online and it showed 55 degrees!  Woah!  So on Saturday, 6/15/19 I went with Cathi and Oliver up to Pineview to take a temp reading.

It came up as 62 degrees.  Much better.  I tried to convince Oli to swim with me at least out to the first buoy east of Windsurfer beach, but the water was too cold for him.  The water was way high.  It was only a few feet from the bottom stair down from the parking lot.  I set Cathi up with a camp chair and she and Oliver watched (along with about a dozen other people hanging out in that area playing), while I swam.

I went a little bit further, but then realized that I didn't lock the car and the parking lot was a zoo of people.  Didn't want anything to get taken so I called Cathi on my watch and told her to please lock the car.  I figured I had gone enough and turned back.

Once I got about 50 yards from shore, Oliver was there with a big smile on his face and he wanted to race to the shore.  I had to push it faster than my normal pace to beat that little kid. The little stink wasn't even wearing goggles, and was swimming water polo style.  I couldn't help laugh while I was swimming. 

It was a ton of fun and I'm ready to start swimming here on a weekly basis.

I texted Chad and he was at Jordanelle and sent me a pic of his thermometer reading 60 degrees even.

So the plan is to swim together at Jordanelle on Monday morning....

--------------------------------------------------------------
Jordanelle

Got up at 4:30 to get on the road in time to meet Chad at 6:00am.  Got there and Chad and Josh were there!  Chad brought a friend too, Zack.  I couldn't get over how high the water was.  It was basically at the top of the boat ramp.  Last time I was here it was about 25-30 yard walk down the ramp to get to the water's edge!  We had all agreed to do a 15 minute in and 15 minute back swim. About a mile.

What? My avg heart rate was
104?  Man, I'm sandbagging I guess!
When I got to the water, I started the wade in.  Yes it was cold, but not unbearably so.  I kept on going in to my waist. Didn't stop and got up to my shoulders, neck, and started some breaststroke.  I was a little freaked that I WASN'T affected by the cold. I didn't hyperventilate, and it felt fine. After about a minute of breaststroke I saw the other guys coming in and swimming towards me in freestyle.  That's when I started off. I knew I'd get passed pretty quickly.  I'm still pretty slow. 

Once I got to the red buoy, Josh was there and passed me.  We turned and went along the white buoy line and Chad and Zack passed.  I never felt any kind of numbness from the cold. It felt quite refreshing.  I knew that 15 minutes in and 15 minutes back was gonna be cake.  And it was.

When we got to the turnaround point, we chatted for a bit, and turned around.  I was feeling great and the water quality was awesome!  The recovery was easy.  I hardly did any shaking at all in the drive in to work. I definitely want to come here once a week!







Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Monument to Lynn Kubasek

Cathi informed me recently, "We should name your pool, you spend so much time in it.  What should we name it?"  I'm not into naming objects, as it just doesn't make sense to me.  Pets, fine. Non living objects?  Not so much.

But in the process of thinking of forcing myself to come up with names, I remembered Lynn Kubasek and the kind of person she was.  I first heard of Lynn via Steven Munatones' openwatersource.com video in April 2011.  Here's the original experience.

Here's the full interview that captured my attention:



When I watched her tell her story and love for swimming, I fell in love with that down to earth sweet personality and had to meet her in person.  I was quite star-struck when I attended Jamie Patrick's swim camp and was able to swim along side her and spend the week at swim camp with her and many other open water legends.

Lynn came out to Salt Lake and raced the Antelope Island to Blackrock races in 2014, and shared in the adventure of swimming an open water marathon distance in the Great Salt Lake!

Then when my time came to swim Catalina, she made an effort to be my observer, which she did.  Her presence there was very reassuring and comforting. And when I finished the swim and got back to the boat she was there to hand me a burrito and make sure that I was comfortable and cared for.

She compiled her own video log of that swim she observed: https://youtu.be/BuJd1Gvz2Dg

When I heard of her cancer diagnosis it was only a few weeks until I heard that she had passed away. My father died of the same type of cancer.
Some of the dearest people in the world are taken far too early from this disease!

When Kelly Gneiting made his Anacapa attempt, Lynn also was the observer for that swim and I was able to spend time with her on that trip as well.

One thing she did during swim camp was bring a Wilson volleyball and put goggles on it and take pictures of it in the open water at some of her swims. Her Facebook page often had other pics of Wilson at various open water locations. It was pretty entertaining to me.

So I'm happy to now have a monument dedicated to her to permanently in my endless pool, to float alongside me in the current & eddies and every time it bumps into me it will push me to keep on going.  Love you Lynn!


Saturday, June 1, 2019

2019 GSLOW race

This morning, Lucy, Sam and I went paddling for the swimmers in the 1 mile in the GSLOW race.

It was a little breezy at 7:30 when we got there but by 8 it calmed down pretty good.  It was a nice day for a swim.

Senthil and his daughter helped bring up the rear with the last swimmer. 
Sam is such a good sport. He doesn't complain at this age when I ask him to help me do stuff like this.  What a good kid.  He was a great paddler!
Sam posing from a distance!


Utah Open Water legend, Jim Hubbard rounds the final buoy.
Three young girls did the 1 mile.  That's some hardcore swimmers there. 








Anna-Marie Forest won her category (assisted). She's always up for these open water adventures!









I got my crusty salt fix for the day all over my pants and boots.  Felt good to come home and jump in the hot tub.  I'm ready for a nap and I didn't even swim!  I'm excited to get my own swim in the evening.