Thursday, April 8, 2021

Finishing the MVP SLOW Database

 MVP - Minimal Viable Product, in other words, the bare minimum level of functionality.  

So I finally finished working out all the major issues with the Digital Experience of the SLOW Database.  Until now it wasn't an option to make it public because I didn't have enough knowledge on how to enable it for guest users.  

Removing the requirement to have users login to view swim data was the biggest hurdle, then the UI, and there is still one issue I don't like.  You have to click the "Related" tab when navigating the database, rather than just removing the Detail tab and having the Related tab the primary section below each Section.  Regardless, I put together a quick video on the home page to demonstrate how to navigate, which includes clicking on the Related tab.  

Here is the SLOW database, which includes all the records that we've been collecting over the year.  The central repository for all open water swim records in Utah:

https://slow.force.com/s/

Also, this last weekend I spent the entire Saturday scrubbing the pool as it was emptying. And once completely empty, refilled with fresh water.  This is the first time I've emptied it 100% since getting it two years ago.  It's as clean as day 1, and I've enjoyed swimming in it a little more now:


Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Review of the Zygo Underwater Audio system

 I saw an ad for Zygo on Facebook and was thinking originally that it was a scam claiming to stream music underwater.  I've tried using Bluetooth technology underwater and it doesn't work.  Not even cell coverage with full bars above water can penetrate 2 feet of water. But I found out that ZYGO is using FM wavelength and that it is able to broadcast just enough to go through a couple feet of water.


The package came yesterday and here's what it comes with:

  • 1 Zygo headset
  • 1 Zygo Bluetooth receiver/FM Transmitter
  • 1 pair of earplugs
  • 1 charging cable
  • 1 hard shell stow bag which also acts as a dual charger for both headset and transmitter

The claim is that it will go up to 2 feet below the surface if the transmitter is on the pool deck.  In my case, I want the transmitter underwater in a waterproof container along with the tablet I have anchored at the bottom of the 3-foot depth endless pool.  That way I can watch a movie that is downloaded on the tablet, and hear the movie instead of just read subtitles.  

I've tried the swimMP3 before and was greatly unimpressed with the sound quality.  These really aren't much better.  The sound doesn't go in your ears using air obviously.  The little "speakers" rest on your cheekbones and use vibration to allow you to hear.  You'll never get the kind of audio quality that you would get from Bose headphones by any means!  But it's loud enough for you to hear.  And even when cranked up, when you take them off, the vibration doesn't go through the air like a speaker, so you don't need to worry about bugging any friends you might be swimming with.   But the audio quality is a lot like listening to an AM Radio when I was a kid.  Crackly and muffled, but it's better than nothing.  

Until someone can invent biotech that enables connecting audio directly to the brain, I don't think you'll be able to get much better, given the limitations of physics and the human body.

Anyway, my test of playing a movie and listening/watching it while I swim, was a success.  What movie did I watch?  On a Clear Day My favorite swimming movie of all time.  I noticed that the transmitter has a button on the side where you can press it and speak into the transmitter like a walkie talkie and that is actually very clear.  Much clearer than the audio from any music or movie that you might be playing.   So if you are a coach and want to give feedback to a swimmer that is wearing the headset, you can do so while they swim, and hopefully, if you speak clearly they can understand you.

Here's my video review:


Is it worth $300?  Well, that depends on how well it lasts, and time will tell. If I can get 400 days out of this, I will call it a good purchase.  I will track along with my yardage whether I used Zygo or not so I can track the number of workouts used with it. 

So far I'd give it an 8 out of 10.  I hesitate to give it a 10 because bone conduction technology is just so inferior to traditional high-quality headphones, which you can't use underwater.  It's definitely superior to the swimMP3 though.

Monday, January 18, 2021

5000 total pool miles

Today I passed the 5,000 logged pool miles (including endless pool) not counting open water miles. 

Got in a two hour, 8,000 yard endless pool swim today. Watched the entire movie of Jaws on my tablet which was weighed down at the bottom of the pool. Captions were on and it made the swim go by faster. Probably the only person to watch the whole movie Jaws while swimming. 😀

Song of the day:

https://youtu.be/4qsJLZSlGdY

 Girl, your love is like the ocean

It doesn't seem to end
Can we just keep floating
'Cause it's too far to swim
No rescue or a boat insight
You know it's alright
'Cause when I'm with you
I'll drown in it all night
Girl, your kisses so addictive
And it's always on my mind
Can't resist it for a minute
'Cause it gets me every time
And when you wake up with no make-up
That's true beauty in my eyes
No matter how I try
I lose it when you smile
You take me 5000 miles past heaven
And by the way
I gotta say I love the view
(I gotta say I love the view)
Your beauty is 5000 miles past heaven
Every time
Every time I look at you
(Every time I look at you)
Baby, don't you keep me waiting
Your touch is all I want
'Cause I don't have much patience
When it comes to making love
No need to complicate this
There's nothing more to say
'Cause when you're not here
I'm missing you all day
Girl, your kisses so addictive
And it's always on my mind
Can't resist it for a minute
'Cause it gets me every time
When you wake up with no make-up
That's true beauty in my eyes
No matter how I try
I lose it when you smile
You take me 5000 miles past heaven
And by the way
I gotta say I love the view
(I gotta say I love the view)
Your beauty is 5000 miles past heaven
Every time
Every time I look at you
(Every time I look at you)
Hey God only knows (knows)
How far I'll go (go)
I swear it's like falling from the sky
If looks could kill
Then I would surely die
You take me 5000 miles past heaven
And by the way
I gotta say I love the view
(I gotta say I love the view)
Your beauty is 5000 miles past heaven
Every time
Every time I look at you
(Every time I look at you)
Every time
Every time I look at you
Every time
Every time I look at you

Monday, August 24, 2020

Happy World Marathon Swimming Day!

 August 24th is World Marathon Swimming Day.  Why?  It is the date that Matthew Webb swam the English Channel on 24 Aug 1875.  

In celebration of the day I just bettered my PR for the most time swam in the endless pool for a single workout.  Swam over 12,000 yards in 3 hours.  It was a good workout.  5 sets of 36 minutes with a minute for a quick drink in between. Odd sets swimming intervals, then even sets pulling intervals.

The world wouldn't be the same for me without one where a swim such as this hasn't been turned into such a legacy event.


Sunday, August 16, 2020

Deer Creek Open Water Marathon Swim 2020 - 10 miles in 5:21:25

 

Wow! It's been 9 years since I last swam the 10 mile DC Race.  I swam it in 2010 (4:50) and 2011 (4:56).

While it's only been 9 years.  I feel so much older now physically.  It takes me longer to recover from physically difficult activities, I get sore easier, and I'm slower.  But that's OK.  That's life.

On Friday night, Sam, Oliver, Cathi and I camped out at the Great Horned Loop.  Sam slept in his hammock and Oliver on a cot under the stars.  


I misread the email. I saw that checkin started at 6:30, so I set my alarm for 5:30 so we could get up, break camp and get the Sea Doo in the water.  I got checked in at 6:30 and was ready to swim at 7.  There were only about 10 people there at that time and I was really confused, as I was already greased up, with my cap and goggles on, ready to go.  I got out of the water back up to where Jim and Connie were still checking people in.  I overheard him answer someone's question about start time. He said 8 oclock.  

Oh my gosh I was an hour early!  So I got some sweats on instead of just wading in the water for an hour.  It was good though to notice that the water temp was actually warmer than the air temp.  It felt awesome.

At 8 am we got started.  Apparently I was the only 10 mile swimmer for today.  Didn't matter to me.  I am really doing this just as a milestone for this year, not to place or compete really.  Except to maybe compete against previous years, which to be honest just wasn't going to happen.  I was shooting for a low 5 hour time.  

When I started I kinda went out too fast cause everyone was watching, and I didn't want to look like the big white whale that I resemble.  Everything felt just OK, no issues.  I noticed someone pass me just as I got to the 1 mile turnaround (.5 miles in).  What the heck?  If they started 10 minutes apart, that meant that he swam that 1/2 mile in 5 minutes.  I think that would be a world record :)

The water level of the reservoir was quite a bit lower than last year when I swam the 5K.  So the turn around at the end of Wallsburg bay was significantly closer than last year.  Which I like.  That is one heck of a bay.  

When I got to the 5K turn around about 6 swimmers had already passed me.  And once I got out of the bay and around the corner the 10K buoy seemed to be closer than the 5K turnaround.  Once you get out of the bay, the wake and wind sure picks up and makes for less than pleasant conditions.  When we got into the next bay I yelled out to Cathi to go to the "cigarette buoys" (no wake buoys). After which she noticed a big orange buoy at the beach and yelled out to me "There is the turn around!".  In my mind I was like "Yeah, I wish!".  When we got there she turned around and was ready to head back.  I noticed the buoy said in big bold lettering "Keep Going".  Haha.  Even Cathi was wishing it was time to head back.  So we kept going along the shoreline to the next bay.  Man I was struggling.  I was feeling sluggish and my arms hurt.  I was having second thoughts about my abilities, but I kept going on as best as I could.  

Soon Chad came along in his boat and I noticed Oli and Sam were there. That was nice of him to take them for a ride. They were bored as hell at
the start making stone towers and sitting there under the sun tent on their phones. 

Those straightaway sections outside of the bays sure are torture.  They're long, and boat wakes just keep on coming and I feel almost like I'm swimming upstream.  At the 10 mile turnaround I was glad to finally be on the second half!

I had Cathi give me feeds every 40 minutes.  The feeds consisted of various items:  Flavored milk, Gatorade, yogurt.  I should have packed more solid items, like a sandwich or some nutrigrain bars.  But regardless, once I got back to Wallsburg Bay, I said a prayer and Bam! I hit a second wind and I was able to really feel stronger, with much more efficient swimming.  It was also nice to have smoother waters. Although it was crowded with fishermen on boats.  The final swim in the bay seemed to go much quicker and I felt great. 

 In the video, Cathi refers to the 10K turnaround.  That's on the way back.  But it was gone.  I was looking forward to hitting that buoy, but where you're the last swimmer in the water, and it's later in the afternoon, the race volunteers wanna get home so I can't fault them for cleaning up a little early.

Cathi was awesome as the pilot.  She was cheering me on the whole way, and especially at the end.  I was pouring it on the last mile especially.  My shoulders were feeling good and I felt strong. I swam around the final corner at the boat ramp and the buoy was gone, but I swam to the shallow water I could sit down. I wasn't about to go under the inflatable finish arch cause of the many rocks. In years past all you had to do was hit the buoy with your hand. I just think they were antsy to go home and took it our early.  I stopped my stop watch at the point of stopping, and it read 5:21. Official time: 5:21:25  So I was about 30 minutes slower than 2011.  But hey, I'll take a finish any day regardless of time.  

Cathi said after the race that she cried near the finish cause
she was so proud of the strong finish. Even 10 miles on a jet ski in the sun is tough. I told her next time about the ability to steer while resting the umbrella against her leg so she could be 100% shaded.  

Another 10 mile open water swim in the books.  And it was nice to see old friends: Chad, Jim, Josh, Sue.  


As I was swimming the last 1/2 mile to the finish, I thought as I was finishing how big of a deal it was for Goody to do that UTC in 24 hours.  I couldn't even imagine going to swim across Bear Lake, nor swimming 10K in GSL all in the same day.  That feat is bigger than an EC crossing in my opinion!  I highly doubt that accomplishment will be matched anytime soon.  Goody Tyler. Now that is a legendary dude. I miss that guy.




Thursday, July 30, 2020

Endless Pool detailed review

Ever since 2015, I've wanted an endless pool.  I had a vision of the pool being in the back yard inside of a greenhouse type structure with huge windows overhead as the roof, and huge sliding doors along the outside.  Basically a see through house structure around it. Inside next to the Endless pool would be the hot tub.  
Looking into the costs for such an endeavor I estimated would be
You can see the pre work for the pool
pad behind the tree which Isaac
was removing Jacob's pathetic
attempt at a treehouse.
around $40,000.  I got in touch with the Endless Pool people and they got back to me and allowed me to go in and configure the exact pool I wanted:

It had to be fast.  I did test swims of pools that blew bubbles at you and they sucked.  I could swim breast stroke at the level of their fastest speed.  They come with a tether for you to attach yourself to.  What's the point of swimming into weak current while tethered?  That defeats the purpose.  In 2016, I went to do test swim at a pool in Kaysville and he had the thing going full blast, and I was able to keep up with it.  So I wanted a pool that I would not even be able to hang with. This called for the High Performance pool which tops out at :56/100 yards.  

The year before the planned purchase we had the back yard completely overhauled.  Here is the step by step process in detail and broken into sections.

Concrete work

Our crappy back yard where we
raised chickens, turkeys and even
a goat.  All for food.  But Cathi had enough,
time for a overhaul of the back yard!

We put in a concrete deck, concrete stairs going up to the back door,  and the pad for the hot/tub and pool



Jacob demolished the back deck, so now we need
stairs. Let's go with concrete. Down to a big concrete
back patio!


After the gravel and compacting,
in goes the concrete!

This was starting to get really exciting!

Just like I had envisioned. A separate
pad for supporting the endless pool
and the hot tub.



Bullfrog Hot Tub

In Fall of 2018, Cathi and I went to the Bullfrog dealer in Clearfield and also the dealer in South Jordan. We found the model we wanted that was affordable.  We got a deal because it was a demo at the State Park and they gave us a discount.  The cool thing is we could choose what jet packs we want.  The neat thing about bullfrog is that you can pick and choose these jet packs in each corner. They remove and go in within seconds.  Each jet pack has unique features. We ordered the hot tub and within a month they came in and installed it.  They suggested an electrician that has lots of experience with installing the electrical needed for the hot tub, and they said he could also do the electrical for the pool at the same time and save some money.

Electrical Work 

After the Bullfrog purchase, which would take about a month to get delivered, we got a head start on getting the electrical work done.  That involved a licensed electrician who does this kind of thing, and he wired us for both the hot tub and endless pool from the main.  His name is Dave Warner, and he did a very quality job!  It involved not only getting the new wiring through the house to the back, but to shut off boxes to the back outside wall, and then underground over to the concrete pad.  The pictures above show the yard before the concrete work that was done.
Our panel didn't have enough slots for him so he had to install additional slots to accommodate the two 220 slots for the pool and hot tub, and moved things around in the breaker box. 

Then had to fish the wire through the ceiling in the basement thru the brick wall in the back under the back stairs.  Then he installed a couple of breaker boxes on the outside to turn off power to each.

Then he dug a trench to lay the electrical cabling over to the concrete pad for the hot tub and endless pool once they get purchased.

Once the hot tub arrived, they tested out the electrical and everything worked without a flaw.  Great work Dave Warner!

Endless Pool Delivery - Early March 2019


To be honest, I was disappointed with the condition of the pool shipping containers.  It all came in labeled boxes which was good, but the base of the shipment was lopsided and the pallets all broken up.  Whoever prepared the base of the shipment was new or didn't know what they were doing because there was a great deal of weight that wasn't on a pallet at all, and the base board broke. There was only one pallet with the entire shipment balancing on that one pallet.
Fortunately the only damage I found was to one of the corner underwater panels.  The follow up with Endless Pools however was very good. There was a small part that was broken and they sent me a whole new corner assembly which wasn't really necessary, but definitely fixed the issue.  

Endless Pool self install - Started mid March 2019

Shortly after getting everything organized, I watched the video and read the installation manual.  I'll tell you, this is why I am not a mechanic.  I must have read and reread several portions before I got it.  So I installed the steel walls and that took several hours.  There are 6 large 7x48" panels that you have to put together just right. I actually installed the fatter end down, which after setting it up, realized the fatter end is at the top.  So I had to move everything around.  What a pain!  

I then used the supplied drill hole to drill the holes in the walls for the lights and the hydraulic hoses.  At this point I was supposed to start putting the coping in at the top.  Not much instructions there at all. At this point I realized I was in way over my head.  

Endless Pool Professional installation continuation - late March 2019

I called Dave Christensen a professional and trained Endless Pools installer, who is located in Salt Lake.  I was desperate for his help. He came up and took a look at my customizations and what I had done so far.  He said that he could get the rest of it installed (minus the insulation and skirting install, which he suggested I do if I wanted to save money) for $2500.  I was like "Heck yeah!".  I guarantee I would have broke something or installed it wrong so I was very glad to hand it over to him.  I took some time lapse video of his work from that point on.


Pavers - Mid July 2019

I bought some pavers (166 to be exact) from Home Depot.  These cost about 5.00 each and were VERY heavy.  I had to make many trips to get the 2+ pallets worth of pavers to my home.  Each one is over 40 pounds.  They are over 2 inches thick and 16"x16". The concrete pad only allows for about 18 inches of concrete beyond the outline of the pool/hot tub base.  I realized there would be some water splashing and so I figured I needed another 3 feet or so of pavers to keep the chlorinated water off the grass.  This also included some gravel and sand from Travis Call.  The gravel and sand base enables the pavers from moving around and giving any water between the cracks some drainage.


Sprinkler System - late July 2019

Travis' brother Justin gave us a plan and estimate for the sprinkler system.  

Justin and his uncle worked many afternoons getting this work done.  Cathi would often go out and give them lemonade.  We gave them a tip for their hard work. They deserved it.

Pool Tent - August 2019

After swimming thus far through the summer, I quickly realized that having the pool exposed directly to the sunlight was heating the water way beyond I was satisfied with.  So I looked online for carports and other tent structures to cover the pool.  I talked to a friend of mine, Theron Watson, who owns Olympus Fireworks.  He said he had many used tents and that he'd give me a good deal on one.  I took him up on it.  He had a 15'x30' tent he'd sell me with walls for $500.  That was a great price.  That would cover the pad well enough.  
The kids really worked hard helping me wheelbarrow all that gravel and sand over and spread it out, and then help me lay the pavers.  That was hard work.  I bought twice as much sand as I needed so I gave the rest away on KSL Classifieds.
The delivery of the tent took forever.  It took many calls and texts to him to get his crew to come out and deliver it. Then when it got here I realized there were some missing parts which I was able to get resolved fairly quickly. I got the tent up and noticed that the water temp was no longer increasing.  But it wasn't really going down either.  

So I went to Smith's and bought 80 pounds of ice.  I dumped it all in and watched it all melt in a matter of minutes.  The water temp dropped only 1 degree!  I can't afford ice for that kind of effect. So I did some googling and found that the number one way to cool down pool water in the summer is with a waterfall.  So I rigged up my pump and hose to the tent poles and setup a waterfall system.  I even put in a fan to blow air through the dripping water.  The water temp dropped down over 10 degrees!  Wow!  That worked awesomely!


Sod Installation - August 2019

We really struggled with whether we should put in real grass (and skip the sprinkler system), or artificial grass.  After getting quotes, the amount of grass we would need would have cost us between 6-10K. 






However, sod for the same amount of land, was less than $2,000 so I reluctantly went with grass.  We ordered I believe 5 pallets and allowed for us to completely start over with quality grass in the back, and a good portion of the front that was weedy with dying rose bushes.  It was a lot of work, but it went quickly with all the help of the boys.  


Lighting

One customization I got with my pool was that it comes with two underwater lights.  I opted to get 2 additional lights.  That was money well spent.  In fact I kinda wish I did two more, for the back wall.  

I wanted some ambient lighting for those night swims or hot tub soaks, so I bought some led lighting to attach to the inside of tent poles at the top and also created a "led lantern" above the hot tub.  I also got some solar powered lights to got along the side of the pool.  In the night time, this really looks awesome! 



Swimming in Winter

Once I got to Halloween of 2019, I reached out again to Theron for tent walls.  You would think that they were making them in China still. It took me months of nagging and pestering until I got the walls.  Man that really was way too hard to get the tent and the walls finally here and installed.  But once I got them up, it was a life saver for the pool to keep operating throughout the winter.


Throughout the winter I kept the water temperature at around 68 degrees.  Which on a hot summer day would feel quite refreshing, but in winter when the air temps are down into the 20s, this made getting in a bit of a mental challenge.  But with open water swimming, you need to get used to cold water and the overcoming mental and physical challenges, so I saw this as an opportunity.  I kept an eye on my Sense energy monitor I have hooked up to my electrical system.  This enables me to know in real time my electrical usage and the AI built into the app is able to not only identify the appliance types in use, but allow me to setup notifications when certain appliances turn on/off.  

I found that over the span of several weeks in the middle of winter that the heater for the endless pool was going on approximately 4-5 times per night for 15 minutes each session to maintain the 68 degree temperature.  The usage for the heater was about 300-400 watts.  So that equates to less than 1 kwh per night!  That's awesome.  My hot tub was only slightly over that.  Keeping in mind the hot tub is leaking heat into the inside of the tent which kept the internal tent temperature about 10 degrees warmer than the outside. So heating the endless pool for one day in the winter was probably about 10 cents.  Just to be conservative, let's say a quarter.  I can totally handle that.

Swimming in the winter though was nice, cause I'd get in my swim and at the end the hot tub soak just felt awesome. 

I installed an Amazon Alexa device to the top of the inside of the tent so I could relax in the hot tub, tell Alexa to play some music, and then tell her to turn off the lights which I had connected to a smart plug.

Pool Maintenance

Owning a pool means that chlorine smell.  The pool where I did my test swim in Kaysville, the guy had his pool inside his house.  I could smell chlorine as soon as I walked into his house.  Not a bad thing for me, I like the smell.  But I didn't want visitors to have to deal with that.  One of the reasons I have mine outside.  

Anyway I found that with both the Hot Tub and the Endless Pool, I go through about 5 pounds of chlorine in about 3 months or so.  So I buy my chlorine from Amazon in bulk.  $100 per pop.  However part of keeping it clean is vacuuming.  I ended up getting a Dolphin E10 above ground vacuum, which for the size of the pool is overkill in a big way, but I love the convenience of turning it on and letting it just go.  

I also found that I need to rinse the filter every week.  I only replace the filter probably twice a year, which I also get on Amazon. In the summer I have to put water in from the hose for about 10 minutes every couple weeks.  With the waterfall and the front half of the pool uncovered I lose water to evaporation and a little bit of splashing while swimming. 

Other than that, the pool maintenance is a total breeze.  Just make sure you have the pump system configured to keep pumping and filtering.  I had originally configured it to only run the pump and filter when it was heating, and in the summer it wasn't actually filtering properly.  So I had to break out the owners manual and program the system to filter to my specifications (which is 20 hours per day).  Don't worry.  The pump is a tiny little motor that only uses about 150w (when the heat is off). 

Sharing the Endless Pool with "drowning" fish during Covid-19 hype

During the spring of 2020, recreation centers and community pools all over the country were shutting down, including here in Utah.  Many of my friends at the South Davis Rec center were out of the water and it was still too early in the season for them to do open water swimming.  So I opened up the pool to them via Salt Lake Open Water.  The only price: $25 to join SLOW.  

I realized I couldn't charge them for personal gain otherwise Syracuse City would come after me for proof of insurance, or for a business license. SLOW is a non-profit and it was my way of supporting the swimming community.  So we got about 15 swimmers from all over that were dying to swim and they had access to a google calendar where they could reserve time to swim.  Needless to say there were days the pool was almost running non-stop.  I calculated the cost of running the pool using the Sense Home Energy Monitor I already had installed.  I found that running the pool at a normal speed consumed a little over 3kw.  If I pay 9 cents per kwh, then each 1 hr swim would cost me about 30 cents or so.  That's not bad.  I can handle that.  With that information I didn't charge anyone a penny more than the $25 to join SLOW as members.

That made many people happy for the 2+ months that our wonderful Utah governor had everyone on lockdown. Now everyone is out at their own pools and open water swimming so it's back to just me, and I'm fine with that! I was having to really keep an eye on the water quality as it was getting cloudy at times.

Breakdown of Costs

Here is a breakdown of all the costs of this project. Not everything was directly related to the endless pool, so I've broken those out:

DescriptionWhoTotal AmountAmount Required for EndlessAmount for Beautification of Yard
Dirt Leveling/Trampoline HoleTravis Call$1,100.00$300.00$900.00
Concrete workTKT Construction$11,377.00$4,500.00$6,877.00
ElectricalDave Warner$2,395.00$1,197.50$1,197.50
Endless PoolEndless Pools$37,275.09$37,275.09
Pavers + gravel/sandHome Depot/Travis Call$1,228.10$1,228.10
Hot TubBullfrog International$9,576.00$9,576.00
Sprinkler SystemJustin Call$4,000.00$4,000.00
SodAlpha Sod$1,550.00$1,550.00
Pool Insulation PanelsHome Depot$450.00$450.00
Endless Pool InstallationDave Christensen$2,800.00$2,800.00
Used Fireworks TentOlympus$500.00
LightingHome Depot/Amazon$230.00$230.00
Dolphin E10 Pool Vacuum w/extra filterAmazon$548.99$548.99
Total$72,481.19$46,522.59$25,558.60

Summary

Would I do it over again?  Yes!  Would I do a few things differently?  Definitely.

Things I would do different

I would NOT get the skirting from Endless. I would go to Home Depot and make my own cedar skirting.  The synthetic skirting I got from Endless warps in the heat of the summer and looks like crap.  

I'm constantly nervous about getting a hole or tear in the vinyl.  I think to get around that I should have gotten a hard shelled endless pool, instead of a vinyl pool.  I'm pretty sure they offer those.  I originally was wary of those because they would need a crane to lift it up and over my house, but that may have ben worth it considering there really isn't much to install with it as a hard shell. 

Other than that. I love my Endless Pool system.  Here are the details of exactly what I got with their cost breakdowns:




I originally got a UV sanitation system, but they had safety recall on it just as it was going out, so I opted to just get a refund on it.  It was overkill anyway.





Friday, July 17, 2020

Bear Lake 2020 #2


This morning Cathi and I loaded up the Seadoo and got to the Bear Lake Marina at 6:30. This time I remembered the grease (which also included zinc oxide). Got greased up and left the shore just after 7:15am.

The prep for today’s swim included several things which I hoped would improve my time:

  • wearing a cap
  • wearing a proper speedo instead of a drag suit
  • full body shave.
  • Magnesium and Potassium supplements leading up to the swim.
  • Wearing channel grease.
The water recorded on the Seadoo came up as 68 degrees and the water felt great!

The first hour I was feeling sluggish and intentionally went a little slower so I could pace myself. After the second feed, I picked it up.

Cathi was the perfect support and pilot. I had Cisco beach navigation enabled on the Garmin and it was keeping her in line along to get straight to cisco beach and constantly reported the estimated time of arrival. She was so upbeat and cheerful. The feeds went much faster and were shorter than last time.

The downside to the swim was that I misplaced my goggle box in the packing for the trip, and left it at home. I was nearing panic as I searched for placing it could be in the car. Fortunately I had an extra pair in my glove box and an extra set of ear plugs in my wallet. Problem was that these goggles were pretty old and fogged  up constantly. I could barely make out her profile from 10 feet away. But it worked out. I just kept the sun to my 11 o’clock as it came up over the mountain.

At my 6th feed she said that I was on target for a sub 4 hour swim if I kept it up! That was
encouraging and I made sure to really keep my stroke count high and reaching forward to maximize each and every stroke. I've seen some swims where the swimmer in their fatigue robs themselves of several inches per stroke due to lack of extension, and proper hand entry.  Multiply thousands of stroke by several inches and that adds up to a slower swim, which equates to more time in the water, and increasing that fatigue even more.

I made sure not to look forward until I saw rocks underneath me. Meaning I was only 50 feet away. When I got to the point where I could stand, I made sure to just keep crawling as far as I could. Then I only had two feet of rocks to navigate to get to dry ground. As soon as I cleared the water I stopped my watch and it read 3:45:07.

So excited with that time. That’s very reassuring to get a time that is about 40 minutes faster than last time.

Thanks Cathi!!!



















Day after:
Saturday, July 18th, 2020

The official race was today.  My shoulders are feeling awesome.  It's such a confidence boost to swim hard and finish strong and still have energy to have kept going.  Deer Creek race 10 mile should be a good next step.

There were about 8-10 people registered (including relay teams) for today's 10k. It was really good conditions, and everyone finished without incident.  Jim joined Chad on his boat along with Mark. It was so fun being out on the water on the Seadoo.  Had a ton of fun.

Racing Chad back to the marina.  Didn't stand a chance. His
boat is a beast!  Thanks Jim Hubbard for the photo.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Bear Lake 2020 #1

Yesterday I swam a Bear Lake Width.  Sam, Oliver, Jack (my English Setter) and I jumped on the Sea Doo at Rainbow Cove Boat ramp and jetted over to the Garden City Marina pavilion/beach at 10am.

At the start of our journey. Starting
by cruising over to the start from
Rainbow Cove over to the
 beach north of the west marina. 
Took about 20 minutes
to get there @ 24 mph
I pointed out the "nipple" to the boys and off we went.  I felt on the verge of cramping several times throughout the first hour of the swim, but avoided a full on charlie horse by kicking gently through it.


Jack watches intently on his swimmer.


I took feeds on these intervals (35, 1:10, 1:45, 2:20, 3:50, 4:10).  There were several things learned from this swim:


  1. Just because you swim approximately 2 mph in an endless pool doesn't equate to that in open water.  (I was expecting a 3:15 finish)
  2. If you take two people on the boat, one to drive, and the other should have the feed ready, instead of searching the cooler, for something.  As soon as I stop it should be ready to go.
  3. Putting on waterproof sunscreen at the start, even though it says 90 minutes of protection. It really means just that.  After that, you're gonna burn like a raisin. 
  4. DO NOT forget channel grease.  Chafing simply sucks!  It's no fun swimming when every other stroke you feel a burning sensation from your right shoulder.  
  5. DO NOT look up near the finish wondering how much further.  I should know better than this, but I was concerned once I got to 3:30 and still wasn't done.
Spot GPS Track




Then I made the mistake of counting strokes.  Once I got to 1,200 I was getting super frustrated.  I quit counting, and did some backstroke, and getting discouraged.  I took a feed at 4:10 hoping it would be my last one.  I noticed the shore looked like we were about 500 yards away so I said to myself, don't look anymore until you can for sure see the bottom.  

4:21:58 
Once I got to where I could see the bottom was about 6 feet deep I told Oliver and Sam to just hang out at that point as I didn't want the Sea Doo's bottom to hit rocks.  So I carefully crawled in as far as I could, and then climbed out. I stopped at 4:21:58

Definitely a disappointing time.  More than an hour over my goal time.  I've never been so far off before.  Now I know what to expect for the race in two weeks.  I will shoot for a 4:20 time and know that I can definitely achieve on that if the conditions aren't terrible.  It was actually very good conditions throughout the swim. I can't complain at all. 

Enjoying the evening camping outside at the cabin
Bottom: Me, Cathi, Oliver, Sariah (Jonas' girlfriend), Jonas
Top: Sam, Isaac, Grandma and Grandpa Low
We went back to the van and got the kneeboard and let the boys have some fun on the water.  But they didn't last long. They were done and not super enthusiastic about spending any more time on the water.  Jack did well and watched patiently.

We went to the cabin and enjoyed our evening with the fam.

Next swim in two weeks: July 18th

Then I'm hoping to do a double on Labor Day.