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.


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.