Wednesday, April 30, 2014


This afternoon I met up with Chad, Josh, Sarah and Sam.  I met Lisa Gentile for the first time. This was her first swim in the GSL.   I greased up really good this time, especially around the back of my neck which I failed to do last time.  We didn't have a kayaker so I pulled my Swim Buddy board with the GPS, camera and car keys in a waterproof container.

We all gathered at the boat ramp and the water seemed fine.  But little did we fully realize that the 15 mph winds were really building up some pretty lumpy conditions outside the marina break walls.  My plan was to swim at least three miles by swimming out to Black Rock, then back along the red buoys out to the farthest one and then back in through the marina.

I swam about 500 yards past the marina opening on the way out to Black Rock, then stopped to assess who was with me.  Lisa was right behind me with Sam about 100 yards back.  I couldn't see any one else out further.  They must have decided to swim a buoy line instead of inside the marina.  I continued on until we made it to Black Rock.  I took a temp with my watch: 62.8 degrees.  When I arrived I looked at my stopwatch: 31 minutes

The lumpy conditions started out at about a 4 on the Beaufort scale, but near the finish of our swim along the buoy line, they were about a 5 on the Beaufort scale.  I never dared to open my container at all during the swim to fetch my camera for a picture.

We swam back to the marina opening and I asked Lisa how she felt and whether she was up for going one more mile along the buoy line.  She said she was.

OUCH!  Channel Grease is a must in the GSL.
We swam quite quickly heading east along the buoy line.  Turned around and swam back to the marina opening.  I stopped once more to see how Lisa was doing.  I saw in horror that she had massive sores on the back of her neck from the rubbing against her wetsuit.  Battle scars galore!  Blood was pouring.  I could only imagine the agony.  We finished the 1/2 mile through to the marina opening and back inside the break walls which made the last 1/8th of a mile very calm.

I was extremely impressed with her fearlessness and sense of endurance not only in the super briny lake, but under those conditions.  Inspired again by another new GSL Swimmer.

Total: 3.25 miles in 1:39

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Review of "The Great Swim" the story of Gertrude Ederle by Gavin Mortimer

I got this book for my birthday in 2009 from Cathi, but I hadn't taken the time to read it until this year.  The book was a delightful read for me.  I highlighted certain statements in the book that made me either laugh, find absurd, inspired by, or made me sad.

Some things that made me laugh:
  • One of Gertrude's uncles was so excited about watching her finish her crossing that "he jumped a little too far forward and fell right through a skylight into the tug's lower deck where he lay groaning and cheering in the same breath." p 224
  • Otto Kemmerich made his English Crossing "making no attempt, as he went, to hide his webbed gloves.  The British reporters protested that they gave the German an unfair advantage in the water, but Kemmerich just shrugged and pointed out that there was nothing in the rules of Channel Swimming to prohibit them."  During his swim "Kemmerich swam smack into a large dogfish and was hauled semiconscious from the water.  The British reported grinned from ear to ear and suggested that perhaps the dogfish had mistaken the German's webbed gloves for a duck." p. 217-218
  • An editorial in the Morning Post suggested that another star be added to the American flag in recognition of what [Ederle] had accomplished. p. 183
Some things I found absurd:
  • Ederle made the statement: "I have made up my mind to swim the Channel this time or sink.  It wouldn't be nice to drown, but I'll feel like it if I see I'm going to fail and they will have to take me out of the water unconscious." p 126
  • "England or drown is my motto" p. 130
  • Mercedes Gleitze attempted to swim from Duhnen, Germany to England (a distance of 300 miles), near the end of WWI without a support boat, and without any notification to anyone of what she was doing.  She quickly got swept by the tide up the North Channel.  "Gleitze was a strong swimer, but her belief that she could swim in stages from Germany to England was suicidally stupid." p 79
  • The New York Evening Post published an article that stated that "greasing ran counter to the spirit of Channel swimming". p 207
  • Once Mille Corson swam the channel shortly after Ederle, the British Press portrayed Ederle in a less than proper light, "Having lionized her at first, now they were claiming she had cheated." p 195 
  • Her trainer Bill Burgess, at some point when the swim was going exceptionally bad, was attempting to convince her to quit.  When she refused, she approached her Dad and sister, both of them refused as well to pull her.  Fortunately the conditions changed for the better and she made great progress.  But what really threw me is this:  "[Burgess] sidled up to Ederle and asked for the outstanding balance of his fee, the same fee that he had doubled two months earlier as a condition for coaching her exclusively.   Ederle settled the account to the last cent, but Burgess' hand remained outstretched.  A bonus, perhaps, he suggested with a smile, for helper her achieve her goal.  He stammered something about being entitled to a cash honorarium.  Ederle gave him a look that fried him to a crackling, and walked out without even a polite farewell." p 177-178
  • Ederle, among others often had bands on board to play music so they could be heard by the swimmer to lift their spirits.  At one point "Ederle began to set her strokes to the rhythm of "Let Me Call You Sweetheart", but Burgess ordered her to stop fooling around." p.140  (Swimming to music is currently illegal in Channel Swimming)

Inspiring things:
  • In March 1926 Clarabelle Barrett "swam her first mile when the temperature was thirty-seven degrees, a feat of endurance so impressive it made the sports pages of her local paper, New Rochelle's Standard-Star." p 57
  • Twenty of Barrett's friends had each loaned her a hundred dollars to cover her round-trip fare to England. p 57
  • In 1928 Ishak Helmy finally got across the Channel. p. 280
Sad things:  
  • Jabez Wolffe had tried and failed to swim the Channel twenty two times! p. 62
  • After Ederle swam the channel, later in the year she was joking about her deafness with her boyfriend as they discussed the possibility of marriage.  "With my poor hearing it might be hard on a man". She'd expected a reassuring hug in return, "but instead he said 'I guess you're right, it would be hard on a man'" and left." p 276
I loved this book!  This is now in top three of favorite open water books!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Getting chased

Shared a lane with Sarah, since it was busy this morning.  Every lane had at least one person already swimming.  I wasn't able to lap her during the warmup.  She kept on going at a strong pace.  I'm excited to see her get a great time on that LV10K coming up in a couple weeks.  Here's what I swam pre-masters:

1000 free
100 back
500 free
100 back
250 free
50 back

Then swam Kirsten's workout:

300 free warmup
500 - 2 x (100 free, 75 back, 50 breast, 25 fly)
1000 - 20 x 50's desc 1-5 first 10 on :45 (free), second 10 on :50 (one arm fly drill)
1000 - 4 x (100 back, 50 breast, 100 free) on 4:30
400 - 8 x 50's kick with fins on :55
200 easy

5,400 yards total in 1:30

I ended up getting lapped by Matt on the 4th set that involved lots of back/breast.  I went 4th in the lane, and he lapped me half way on each set.  Kind of like getting chased by a hunting dog. Built like a tank that dude.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Seriously Crazy workout

Pat coached masters this morning and gave us Kris' favorite workout:  Crazy 8's!  I went through it three times to get my 10K + yards

    200 choice, 100 pull, 100 kick

Warmup set: 2 x 100's focus on EVF @ 1:30, 2 x 75's stroke @ 1:10, 2 x 50's build on :50, 2 x 25's kick

Crazy 8's (all free)
8 x 25's - 2 @ :30, 2 @ :25, 2 @ :20, 2 @ :15
rest :30
8 x 50's - 2 @ :50, 2 @ :45, 2 @ :40, 2@ :35
rest :45
8 x 75's - 2 @ 1:10, 2 @ 1:05, 2@ 1:00, 2@ :55
rest 1:00

Crazy 6's (all free)
6 x 25's - 2 @ :25, 2 @ :20, 2 @ :15
rest :30
6 x 50's - 2 @ :45, 2 @ :40, 2@ :35
rest :45
6 x 75's - 2 @ 1:05, 2@ 1:00, 2@ :55
rest 1:00

Crazy 4's (all free)
4 x 25's - 2 @ :20, 2 @ :15
rest :30
4 x 50's - 2 @ :40, 2@ :35
rest :45
4 x 75's - 2@ 1:00, 2@ :55
rest 1:00

Crazy 2's (all free)
2 x 25's @ :15
rest :30
2 x 50's @ :35
rest :45
2 x 75's - @ :55
rest 1:00

200 IM

Repeat warmup set: 200 choice, 100 pull, 100 kick,: 2 x 100's focus on EVF @ 1:30, 2 x 75's stroke @ 1:10, 2 x 50's build on :50, 2 x 25's kick

Then repeat Crazy 8s (Free), Crazy 6s (Back), Crazy 4s (Breast), Crazy 2s (One arm fly)

Then repeat Crazy 8's, 6's, 4's, and 2's all free

Total: 11,200 yards in 3:30

Then drove. over to Bountiful Lake where I met up with Sarah and Joelle for a one lap in the rain.  The air temp was pretty chilly and Sarah was a little nervous.  I assured her that she'd warmup in that water.  That the air temp was cooler.  It was raining and I was worried about nasty water, but it wasn't bad at all!  I took the temp with my watch several times throughout the swim and it ranged between 55.6 - 56.0 degrees.  We swam a full mile around and it was awesome!  I didn't feel cold until I got out and then the shivers came but that was mostly cause of the air temp and the rain.  

What an awesome day of swimming:

Total: 7.36 miles total and my last 10K is complete!

Friday, April 25, 2014

300 Miles

Hit the 300 miles mark for 2014 this morning.  I had a 10,000 yard workout all written up on my nightstand, but my alarm wasn't set properly and I missed it.  Cathi woke me up at 6am and I was quite bugged.  So I ended up saving this workout for Saturday morning, and did a shortened pyramid set at Northwest which was the only consolation of getting in a late swim.  Started at 0711:

100 free easy
200 IM
300 - 4 x 75's drill/back/free no rest
400 kick with fins
500 pull Large paddles, go STRONG!
600 - 3 x 200's odd IM, even free
500 pull (agility paddles with ankle strap)
400 kick with fins
300 free straight focus on good exhale and EVF
200 IM
100 cooldown

3,600 yards total in 1:01

I got up at 0400 yesterday planning to swim, but my body was quite sore and I'm ahead of the game on the 10 x 10K's so I went to work super early.  Cathi and I went car shopping at lunch and bought a 2012 Honda Odyssey.  Cathi's parents went on a mission and gave us their 2012 Infiniti FX35.  That thing was way too nice and impractical for our family so we traded it in for a new van and still got a good sized check in change.    I have the most generous in-laws I could ever imagine!  Feeling blessed.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Train like a beast

I recently read a post from someone on facebook stating how bad they felt after running a marathon that they didn't train for.  Good for them, but I don't respect that kind of "athlete".  If you actually finish a race that you didn't train for, how tough can it really be?  You may be tough mentally to get through it, but if you're struggling through it and give a half-assed effort, then why even do it?

If you registered for a big event, that shows commitment to a goal.  If you fail in following through on that commitment, don't just show up cause you fear it would be a waste of money, or that you'll give it your best anyway and just hope to finish.

I noticed a post in from Darren Miller where he confirmed my way of thinking.  He said,
"...and train like a beast. If you aren't training enough for the swim you want, then don't do it, as you don't deserve it. Give it the respect it requires - everything you got."
Can I get an "Amen!"

And only YOU can be the judge of whether you trained hard enough.  There are tons of opinions out there (including mine) that include what the proper amount of training is for a certain race, but one thing is certain, no training is not enough training.  If you happen to finish something badly that didn't require training, keep it to yourself.  It belittles those who do take their training seriously.

As for today's swim:  Swam at GSL with Goody, Chad, Mike, Sam, and Sarah.  Most of us swam a Gridley Straight with an extended return out to the far east buoy and back to Silver sands beach.  A total on my GPS of: 2.90 miles.  Water temp on my watch read 63 degrees.  I forgot to lube up the back of my neck and my upper cheek bones under my goggles.  Man, quite a burn.  Swimming a 10K in the GSL is simply legit!  I may have to do that last 10K for April in Bountiful Lake, cause I've gotten too soft (literally) to swim that far in the GSL at this point in the season.

On the way home, I was notified that my Grandmother in Pocatello passed away.  She was a sweetheart to me and one of the most admired ladies in my life.  She passed very quickly and will join my awesome Grandpa who died a year ago.  I have many fond memories of my Grandma and Grandpa Richins.   Several months ago I had Lynne Cox sign my copy of "Swimming to Antarctica", and dedicate it to my Grandma Richins, because she was so supportive.  She told me that she was taking cold showers cause of me!  What an adventurous spirit she was!  I told that story to Lynne and she left a very nice comment in the book for my Grandma.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

9th 10K - Staggered Struggle

This morning on the way to the pool I had my typical morning breakfast which normally serves me very well:  2 Clif Bars, 1 Buzz bite, 800 MG Ibuprofen (to offset the impending doom I put on my body), 20 oz Gatorade.

I came up with this workout last night and it went well until I hit the halfway point then I hit a wall.  I was just drained.  But I wasn't about to swim just half of this workout and not get the full 10K and have it not count for one of 10 that I need to do.

Here's the workout:

2 times through this staggered ladder:

500 free
100 back
600 - 3 x 200's free
200 IM
700 - 2 x (250 free + 100 back)
300 - 4 x 75's drill, back, free
800 - 8 x 100's first 4 on 1:30, second 4 on 1:25
400 kick with fins
900 - 3 x 300's pull :5 ri
500 finger paddles no buoy

So glad I just stuck with it. I was completely spent at the end.  When I got to work I had myself two of the best sandwiches I've ever had. Banana/Almond Butter (with chocolate flavor) on whole wheat.  Fantastic!

10,000 yards in 3:00

Monday, April 21, 2014


This morning was split into thirds with the first third happening BEFORE masters:
1st Set
1100 Free, 100 Back
1000 - 3 x 300's pull on 4:30, 100 back
900 - 4 x 200's free strong on 3:00, 100 back

Then did Kirsten's workout with Jason and John, and eventually Jill:
2nd Set
400 free warmup
800 - 8 x 50's kick with fins on :55, 8 x 50's drill/swim on :50
100 easy
400 - 16 x 25's one arm fly by 25 on :30

1600 - 8 x 200's 1st and 5th pull on 2:30, all others no equipment on 2:45.  Stay STRONG!
200 easy

3rd Set
Then moved to the north side and did my own thing:
500 kick with fins
1600 - 4 x 200's odd IM, even free, 4 x 200's pull on 2:45
400 kick with fins
1000 - 2 x 500's Tempo Trainer 1st on :85, 2nd on :80.  6:45, 6:40

10,000 yards total in 2:55

This is my 8th 10K swim for April.  Well ahead of schedule.  Going for 11.

At 4:45pm This afternoon I swam around the perimeter of Bountiful Lake, and towed my board with the GPS.  Then I did a Josh Green Loop.  The water was much warmer than last time.  The temp was 65 degrees.  Sarah swam the same route and I think she was pleased to swim without foggy goggles.  I showed her how one drop of baby shampoo in each goggle piece rinsed out takes care of the fog problem.

It was a beautiful evening and I had a blast.  The water quality was actually nice and I didn't have any issue with it at all.

Afternoon total: 1.79 miles in 55 minutes @ 65 degrees
Daily total: 13,150 yards (7.47 miles)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

First swim in Bountiful Lake for 2014

This morning I coached South Davis Masters, followed immediately by a coaches meeting, so I didn't get a chance to swim in the pool, but I planned on a swim at 10am with Joelle in Bountiful Lake.  I invited Sarah to come too, but wasn't sure she would cause of the hype about the lack of cleanliness of Bountiful Lake.  She also swam 10,000 yards at SDRC too so I wasn't sure she'd have enough left to do an open water swim.

I got there at 9:40 and waited for Joelle, but she didn't show up.  I called and found out she had a CPR class that she was in the middle of that she wasn't aware of earlier.  So I took a temp at the boat ramp and it read 54.7 degrees.  I was expecting close to 60 since it was 57 a couple weeks ago.  All the runoff from the snowy mountains must be regulating the temperature lower than I thought.

Planned on doing a Josh Green Loop (.7 miles), but Sarah was a little nervous about going that far in the colder than anticipated temperature.  Once we got to the first island I stopped and asked how she was doing and whether she was up for continuing on or not.  She smiled big and said she was loving it, so we continued on around the second island.  The water quality wasn't terrible, I kept an eye out for floating logs of wood which is common out there.  Wouldn't want to run into anything real big or sharp out there.

We swam around the second island and the sun came out and it was really nice.  I was wondering about asking Sarah if she wanted to just go around the perimeter and get in a mile instead, but I didn't want to push my luck.  I was lucky to have a partner today and I didn't want the first experience to be a negative one, so I stuck to the plan.  I took a temp with my watch and it read 57 degrees.  So I'll average the two readings and call it 56 degrees.  

When I got near the boat ramp as I was getting out, one of the fishermen right there caught a very large trout.  Probably the biggest I've ever seen.  It had to have been over 20 inches.

The thing I don't like is the taste in my mouth after a swim in Bountiful Lake.  Today's flavor was like the smell of cut grass after it's been placed in a bin and sitting in the sun for a day.  Rotten grass smell, but as a taste.  In my mouth.  Could be alot worse.  I'll take that over many other smells/tastes.  Always though I have this urge to brush my teeth afterwards.

I had a great time and plan to go again at least once or twice next week.

I stumbled across this video of a Bountiful Lake swim I did a few years ago, when it was much colder.  Kinda funny.  My mom did the video.  Today's swim was definitely not a winter swim.  But 56 isn't a walk in the park either.  It was "refreshing"!

Total: .7 miles in 20 minutes

Thursday, April 17, 2014

7th 10K for April Challenge

Last night I penned this workout together on a piece of paper and swam it this morning starting at 0520:

300 warmup
3400 - 4 x (250 free, 100 kick with fins, 4 x 100's desc 1-4 on 1:30, 100 back)
6,250 - 5 x (300 free on 4:30, 150 back/breast/fly, 4 x 200's pull desc paddle size on 2:45, 1:15 of treading in deep end no hands with Gatorade bottle)
50 skull easy

10,000 yards in 2:42

I especially enjoyed the egg beater tread drills, and the skulling at the end.  I don't do those often enough.  Triceps are still sore from Monday's killer lifting session with Alex, but not a painful sore, a good sore.  Feeling buff.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Miss Swinger

Today I downloaded this ipod app.  It came with a cool new swimmer: Miss Swinger instead of just Mr. Smooth.

Here's more on the Swinger types.  I've tried to adopt a Smooth style, but I can't seem to get that synchronous and pretty bent elbow and 6 beat kick.  I have that straighter arm recovery and definitely a 2 beat kick.

The water was pretty smooth, and the salt wasn't a big deal.  Felt awesome
out there!
Up till now I was under the impression that the philosophy is to that the smooth style is the only TRUE "church", but apparently it's OK to be a swinger provided that it doesn't introduce drag and you can maintain that stroke for a long time without injuries.  So I'm going to bask in my swinger style, and not be ashamed of it.  Especially that 2 beat kick.

This afternoon I met Sam, Karl, and Sarah at the Marina for a swim.  Sam was referred to the lake from Mike from last week.  I asked him to stay with Karl given this was his first time and not sure he would really want to do a 2 mile Gridley Straight his first time.  Sarah and I swam out to Blackrock, and then swam back.  I took a slightly more arched return trip cause when I got to Blackrock the GPS read .99 miles.  Needed to lengthen that return trip in order to ensure a 2 mile swim.

The water was between 63 and 65 degrees according to my watch.  It felt a little colder than that, but that's just because I'm still acclimatizing and am a bit wimpy.  I never did shiver during the swim, but I did just a little after getting out.  Just a little.  Probably a 1 out of 10 on the shiver scale.

I'm proud of Sarah doubling her distance from last time.  She's a machine.  Can't get over how fast she's progressing.  She's going from an open water newbie to well on her way to a Utah Triple Crowner.  Pretty dang amazing.

Total Distance: 2.05 miles in 1:04

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

6th 10K - Tax Day workout

This morning I had to really get down to business as I had exactly three hours to swim before I was due at the Dentists office.  So I did the following with a "Tax" theme.

Imagine how much easier if our government required a flat tax instead of all these write offs and loopholes.  The Lord has his own "tax" for His church.
Malachi 3:10 - "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."
So this workout consisted of sets followed by a 10% tax for the Lord:

1000 free warmup + 100 backstroke tithe
2 x 500's free at 7:00 + 100 backstroke tithe
4 x 250's free :5 ri + 100 backstroke tithe
5 x 200's pull no rest + 100 backstroke tithe
10 x 100's kicking with fins + 100 backstroke tithe
5 x 200's odd free, even IM no rest + 100 backstroke tithe
4 x 250's free :10 ri, + 100 backstroke tithe
2 x 500's free on 7:00  negative split + 100 backstroke tithe
1000 pull work the lats! + 100 backstroke tithe
100 free (fast offering)

10,000 yards total in 2:45  Then off to the dentist!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Fulfilling my duty to help teach others how to swim

This morning I swam at Layton Surf N' Swim.  I got in at 0520 and started my ladder set before meeting with Ken and Denise Ashby from my ward.  They wanted a quick lesson on how to swim better.  Started with some kicking to help them establish a good body position in the water.  Worked on that for a while, then had them try front crawl, but that was too big of a step and gave them more pointers on how to stay relaxed in the water and stay in a streamlined position.  I encouraged them to continue practicing the drills I gave them and to make an effort to swim at least once a week in order to continue getting used to the water.

Then I continued with my ladder set:

100 free easy
200 IM
300 - 4 x 75's free no rest
400 kick with fins
500 pull
600 - 200 free, 2 x 200 IMs :5 rest
700 - 2 x (250 free + 100 stroke) no rest
800 - 4 x 200's odd IM, even free :5 rest
900 - 9 x 100's free on 1:20
1000 pull
900 - 3 x 300's on 4:30
800 - 4 x 200's odd IM, even free no rest
700 - 2 x (250 free + 100 stroke) no rest
600 - 3 x 200's free on 2:50
500 pull
400 kick with fins
300 - 4 x 75's free on 1:00
200 IM
100 free easy

10,000 yards total in 3:00 (Not counting the time spent with the Ashby's)
5th 10K for the month - felt great.  Didn't have any soreness or weakness.  Just kept it going.  Next time, I'll get creative.  Went with the traditional ladder cause it takes no special brain power to get through it.  

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Results of the Utah State Championship meet

This morning I got a ride with Jacob's swim coach, Jayme Jorgensen.  She said this was her first swim meet in a very long time.  She swam all the tough events (1650 fee, 400 IM, 200 fly, etc)  Pretty brave.

I on the other hand scratched my 1650 free, cause I really was hoping to break my high school PR (5:25) in the 500 free.  Last time I swam the 500 free at the Ski N Swim meet I got 5:32.02 and felt like I could better that.  Well apparently, even with swimming the 500 fresh, I wasn't able to cut that much time off my 500.  In face, I was a fraction of a second slower than the last time I swam it.  I got 5:32.25.  I had Julie take my splits and here they were:

50 - 28.59
100 - 32.05 (1:00.64)
150 - 32.99 (1:33.63)
200 - 32.98 (2:06.61)
250 - 33.26 (2:39.87)
300 - 34.65 (3:15.52)
350 - 34.58 (3:49.10)
400 - 35.06 (4:24.16)
450 - 34.84 (4:59.00)
500 - 33.25 (5:32.25)

Needless to say, I was extremely disappointed with this time.  I felt like I prepared for it and did my best, but apparently my best wasn't good enough. I had Julie Keyes help me with my splits and notifying me of what they were during the swim.  I remember during the 150 mark noticing that my time dropped from my 31 second target straight to 33 instead of maybe leaching into 32 second territory.  I tried to pick it up, but I still wasn't able to hold that 33 second and soon I started seeing nothing but 34s.

Russell Brusch was in the lane next to me and I was trying hard just to stay with him, but he was always, just one arm pull ahead of me.  I thought I'd try staying close to his lane and get any kind of draft off him, but I don't think I was getting much as I had to really push it to stay with him.  I hated the far wall from the blocks.  They were slippery and I had to really stick the feet on the wall to get a good push.  About 4-5 of the push offs the wall were total crap.  Even on the block side, I was too close on a couple of them and ended up with a really deep push.

I got Josh to take some video of the 500 and its no wonder I wasn't able to get the time I wanted.  My stroke looks like crap.  My left arm is totally swinging out, and my push off the walls are extremely wimpy with no dolphin kick at all.

50 fly - Swam a short 100 free to loosen up after the 500.  That didn't seem enough as my arms felt like lead during the 50 fly.  When I took my first breath at about the 15 yard mark I saw the lane counter was being used with the double orange.  I laughed a little, but tried to stay focused on a long powerful stroke.  When I got to the wall I looked forward, and I wasn't able to get a really quality two hand touch because the lane counter was still being held in the pool.  I wanted to extend my reach, grab the edge of the pool with my hands close together, and then turn, but with the lane counter still being held in, I had to reach around it.  With the far end of the pool having less than ideal surface area, my turn on the 50 fly sucked pretty bad.

I tried to make up for it on the swim back to the finish.  Ended up with a 28.70.  Over a second faster than the Ski-n-swim meet, but I had over 15 minutes rest from the 500 free to the 50 fly, whereas with the Ski-N-swim, I had less than a minute.  I had my split time as 28.5 which is what I probably would have got had I been given the opportunity to swim it without being interfered with.  FYI - lane counters are supposed to come out before the swimmer gets to the wall.  And yes, you'll get wet if you don't.

200 free - I had about 20 minutes rest before swimming the 200 free.  I was again disappointed in getting a 2:06.27.  I'm capable of getting a much better time than that!

I tried to be a good coach for the South Davis Masters swimmers: Julie Keyes, Matt Chamberlain, Mindy Hopfenbeck, and John Eyring.  They all swam exceptionally well.  I was super impressed with Matt's 100 free time: 51.03

Check out Julie's 100 free.  She was so stoked to get her goal time.  An improvement I think she said by 7 seconds on her 100 free.  Awesome work Julie!
As well as Josh's 100 free.  Look how smooth his stroke looks!  And I love the finish, how he comes from a half body length on that last 25 for the win.  Literally, a smokin swim!

Thursday, April 10, 2014


This morning I got to sleep in a little.  Yoo hoo!  Got up at 4:45 and took my sweet time getting to the pool at Northwest.  Here's what I planned for and swam as successfully as I had hoped:

300 easy warmup
10 x 100's FAST
1st one a little easier than the others (1:07), 2-9 got 1:04 and on the last one 1:01
300 easy cooldown

1,600 yards total in 30 minutes

Because I pushed those 100's I don't feel guilty one bit for tapering.  If I can maintain a 1:04 average on my 100 splits in the 500 free,  I'll have a new PR (from high school) beat this Saturday.  I think this is doable.  It's gonna be tough, but definitely possible.  Looking forward to it!  No swim tomorrow, mental training tomorrow.

Side note, Craig Lenning (One of only 3 people to have a Frosted Triple Crown) finished a monumental swim from Farallones to the shoreline near SF yesterday.  Tough dude.  Super tough.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Team Pursuit attempt

This morning in the midst of my sleep, Cathi wakes me "Gordon aren't you swimming?"  I look at the clock.  45 minutes beyond my alarm.  Fortunately I set my alarm way earlier than I really need so I can take my time with my morning routine.  But today I had to jump straight out of bed, rush through and get on the road.  I made it to the pool exactly at 5am which is what I wanted.  I was planning to meet Jason and Sarah to swim the 1650 Team Pursuit.

Sarah was gracious enough to offer to time Jason and I in a 2-man team relay.  Jason apparently did the same thing with his alarm and showed up at 0515.  Which was fine cause we had aloted a full hour to warmup and swim the mile before masters started, which I was in charge of coaching.

Warmed up with about 200 yards of freestyle practicing side by side drafting.  Jason was new to it and occasionally we'd get a bump or two, but nothing major.

Thanks to Sarah Jones for taking the time
to record our splits when she could be swimming
her 3rd 10,000 for April!
So off we started agreeing to swim side by side offset a little so the person drafting would be right on the leader's hip.  Switching lead position every 100 yards.  The goal was to get about a 1:15/100 yard pace.  Here is the actual results.  We were doing well and at about 400 yards into it, I was already hurting.  I was a little negative in my head thinking "Only half -way?!!!!"  I knew it wasn't going to be a pretty ending.

Unfortunately at the 650 yard mark, Jason stopped at the wall as I flipped and kept going.  He picked back up after that 50.  OK, not the end of the world I thought.  He'll do an extra 50 yards once I'm done.  He was able to hold on until 1050 and then again he held back for a lap. Game over.  Doing an extra 100 yards after I'm done?  No way was the time going to be sufficient for a decent entry. Oh well, at least I'll keep going and see what I get on my own individual 1650.

Most of the splits show an under 40 second time, but near the end I was freakin' tired and we got a bunch of 40's and a couple 41s.  No way was I gonna get a 20 minute mile.  Jason held up one more time at the 1600 mark and when I touched the wall on the 1650 Sarah stopped the clock at 21:24.46.  Definitely not what I wanted considering I got just under 20 minutes last November at the SDM meet.  Oh well.  This is the third time I attempted to swim this for the Team Pursuit challenge, and the first time of actually swimming it.  Unfortunately it didn't result in an actual team finish, so I can't submit it.  Don't get me wrong I'm grateful he came,  he pushed me and we are a similar pace, just there is some improvement on endurance, and he's not a huge fan of long distance events.  So I don't blame him.  I am grateful and he did gain some experience in drafting, and got a killer workout in for today.

This Team Pursuit Challenge apparently didn't take off like the SLOW leadership had hoped and it has crashed and burned.  Definitely not even comparable to the one hour postal that USMS has grown and developed.

I did a few more laps of warmdown before getting out to coach masters, and ended up with a daily total of 2000 yards.  Looking forward to tonight's open water swim in the Great Salt Lake.  Hoping to do a Gridley Straight, but it may be a cut a little short depending on how the cold water will affect the group.

This evening I met Mike, a member of the QUAC club who is the first to join us from QUAC.  He was very interested in swimming in the lake and was excited to join us.  I hope his experience was as pleasant as it could be given it was his first time in the lake.  It's always a rough experience the first time, but gets progressively easier as well as more enjoyable over time.

These medals aren't the tiny dinky things.
Pretty good sized with tons of detail.
And the ribbon itself is extremely well done.
Today's swimmers were Goody, Josh, Sarah, Mike, Karl and myself.  The water temp was still pretty cool getting in.  We swam out to the red buoy and then east to the next red buoy, then a couple loops between the two red buoys and then back in.  Since we didn't have a kayaker, I towed my Swimmer Buddy Board with the GPS in tow.  The GPS read a total distance of 1.01 miles.

Goody and I talked for a good bit during the swim swimming heads up breast stroke.  Today marked an important anniversary for him.  One year since his clean bill of health from the Drs.  He's been through a lot and is one tough dude!  I'm very blessed to have him as a friend.

Josh showed me one of the medals that I've only seen pics of up to this point.  It looks even better than a picture can portray.  The level of detail is outstanding!  Here is a picture of Karl modeling it.  Seriously, this is gonna make the race participants freak with delight when they get home, rinse off all that salt, and sip on a cool drink and look at this medal and ponder their experience.  I think it'll stand out as a big life moment for many.

I stopped by Bountiful Lake on the way home and took a temp reading.  57.8 degrees.  Looks like perhaps it's time to give that a try on Saturday, after the meet.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

April is Learn to Swim month

This morning I met a couple guys at Layton Surf N' Swim.  They are triathletes who just wanted a couple tips to improve their stroke.

Curtis and Pete (Not including last names so I can reference them and their individual points of needed improvement)

Both of them had their own strengths, and the issues that needed to be fixed are common among many swimmers.


  1. Lifting head out of the water when breathing, instead of rotating the body.  Head position while swimming (Notice Tip #4)
  2. The arm recovery out of the water was correct.  Bent elbow and hand entry into the water was spot on.  However the right hand after entering the water, had a sweeping, or sculling motion at the very start of his catch.  To correct this and to read up on the catch, check out this excellent resource.  In Curtis' particular scenario, his left hand was spot on, but his right hand was completely different.  Working on getting that right hand to mimic his left would be a high priority.
  3. Lack of kick. - While the kick is relatively low in actual propulsion during the front crawl, it is still very important in the rhythm and influence on body roll.  Here is a good article on kicking including demonstrations of good kicking, and other useful tips.  This video attempts to teach correct body rotation, but at the same time introduces incorrect depth on the kick.  Look how far his feet are from the surface.  It's way too low.  Don't teach a drill that introduces an incorrect technique in another area, that can develop into a bad habit.  
  1. Too much pause at the start of his catch, and head too low in the water.  I asked about TI and he admitted that he was a follower.  Total Immersion has a huge following, and it has its merits, such as introducing relaxation for anxious newbies, and encourages efficiency, but many of the methodologies are simply counterproductive.  Here is a good argument that I happen agree with.
  2. Too much body rotation. - Body rotation is good, but too much and you lose the correct rhythm. This video shows what over rotation looks like.  However, the fix it drill they prescribe is counterproductive to the issue of having too much pause at the start of the catch, and I wouldn't recommend that drill in this particular scenario because it only reinforced the lack of catch that he's already experiencing.  Here's an awesome article on body rotation.
  3. Lack of kick.  Kicking should be included in every workout.  I suggested that it consist of 10-20% of your total distance in a workout.  It's great for increasing ankle flexibility and developing the right amount of kick in your swimming.  
After working with them for about 20 minutes or so I did my own swims.  

Total yards today:  1500 yards.  The tapering for Saturday's swim meet has begun!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Day 4 of 10x10Ks - Grab bag

Man the pool was crowded this morning.  Had to share with David Balling.  Started a ladder, but only got to 600 before joining masters:

100 easy
200 IM
300 - 3 x 100's free on 1:30
400 - 2 x 200's free :10ri
500 - 400 IM + 100 IM
600 - 3 x 200s free strong

200 - 150 yards of pulling lane lines and returning. + 50 easy

Warmup: 300 IM backwards Drill

300 free
300 kick (no fins)
300 pull strong with Jason practicing drafting)
200 breast stroke

900 - 3 x (6 x 50's) starting at :45 for first 6, :40 for second 6, take an extra minute, then last 6 on :35! (pull)
400 IM

200 - 8 x 25's sprint on :45 (odd fly, even free)
200 backstroke
100 cool down

Then picked up back on the ladder starting at 900 coming down:

900 pull
800 - 4 x 200's odd IM, even free (get under 2:45 on the free)
700 - 2 x (250 free + 100 back)
600 - 3 x 200's odd free, even IM on 3:00
500 - 5 x 100's tempo trainer on 2:00 (1st @ :80(1:12), 2nd @ :78(1:09), 3rd @ :76(1:07), 4th @ :74(1:05), 5th at :70(1:03))
400 kick with fins
300 - 4 x 75's free/drill/free on 1:15
200 IM
100 free with extremely heavy drag suit (My basketball deck shorts that I use for modesty purposes when I get out of the pool)

10,000 yards total in 3:05

Not the best workout ever.  I liked the 3 sets of 6 x 50's with Matt taking the lead.  Had to pull that last set otherwise I would have had to flip turn right into the next 50.  Was able to stop, look at the clock, take a breath and go!  

This will be my last 10K for the week since I need to start tapering for the meet on Saturday.  I'll pick things back up on Tuesday, April 15th.  

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Day 3 of 10 x 10,000 yards in April - Swim like a superhero!

Got to the water at 0620 and was late for Pat's workout, but picked up on the 3rd set:

3 x 100 Free @ 1:30
3 x 100 25 Fly/75 Free @ 1:30
3 x 100 25 Fly, 25 Back/50 Free @ 1:30
3 x 100 IM’s @ 1:30 (1200)
Part 2
3 x 75 Free @ 1:15
3 x 75 25 Fly/50 Free @ 1:15
3 x 75 25 Fly/25 Back/25 Free @ 1:15
3 x 75 Fly/Back/Breast @ 1:15 (900)
Part 3
3 x 50 Free @ .40
3 x 50 25 Fly/25 Free @ .50
3 x 50 25 Fly/25 Back @ .50
3 x 50 IM choice @ .50 (600)
Part 4
3 x 25 Free @ 30
3 x 25 Fly @ 30
3 x 25 Back @30
3 x 25 Breast @30 (300)
8 x 50 Dolphin Kick/Fins Opt. @ .50 (400)

100EZ (100)
3,500 yards so far.  Then did my own workout, which is designed to turn you into a superhero.  Specifically

300 warmup
700 - 14 x 50s kick with fins on :50
1200 - 12 x 100s pull with ankle strap on 1:25 (1200 yards)
1500 - 20 x 75s free on 1:15
1600 - 8 x 200s Odd IM/ Even Free
1800 - 18 x 100’s free sprint on 1:30 (1800 yards)
1600 - 4 x 400 free tempo trainer (1st @ :97(5:45), 2nd @ :94(5:37), 3rd @ :91(5:30), 4th @ :89(5:23))
1000 - 2 x 500 freestyler paddles strong 1:00 ri
300 cooldown

^ ^
50,   50,   50,   50,   50,   50,   50,            50,   50,   50,   50,   50,   50,   50
100, 100, 100, 100, 100, 100,  100, 100, 100, 100, 100, 100 
200,    200,    200,    200,    200,    200,    200,    200   
100, 100, 100, 100, 100, 100, 100, 100, 100, 100
100, 100, 100, 100, 100, 100, 100, 100
400,   400,   400,   400
500,   500

Total: 13,500 yards in 4:20 (7.67 miles)

Friday, April 4, 2014

SLOW Spring Social 2014

This evening I got off work and hurried over to my Mom and Dad's to make the best chicken salad for tonight's social.  My mom showed me the IISA Red Jacket that she had embroidered.   I love it!
When I got to the marina I noticed a bunch of new displays at the lookout point at the north end of the marina.  Very cool and informative!  I then wrapped back around to go back to the pavilion and met Chad.  Eventually Jim, Sue, Todd and Ryan showed up, then Karl Christen and his wife.  Better turnout than I thought we'd have after Goody and Josh said they couldn't come.

We had a great time talking together.  Afterwards we cleaned up and went down to the boat ramp and all swam out to the red buoy and back.  Then Chad asked if I wanted to go out to the marina opening again and back.  Heck yes I do!  So we did that extra bit as well.  The temp on my watch read 54.4 degrees.  Chad's GPS read .62 miles.

We were talking more at the boat ramp and I overheard Chad say while in conversation with one of the other swimmers, "I am swimming it next year".  My ears perked up.  I asked, "You're swimming what?"  The English Channel he said.  I couldn't believe my ears.  He clarified, "I paid Paul Foreman my deposit this afternoon."   He mentioned that he'd like me to be on the crew.  My mind and heart went from 4200' up to 30,000' in the sky!  I was hoping that one of my local swimming friends would make this huge leap, and now it is happening!

His tide window is from Sept 19-25, 2015 with Paul Foreman.  I made sure my calendar is clear and now I have a trip to Dover planned!  I'm so excited for him.  If know it's 17 months away which is great because it will allow me plenty of time to save up and help Chad get completely ready.

We had a wonderful time together the group that came out and it was a fantastic time.  Karl got in and it was his first time in the Great Salt Lake.  He was little apprehensive about the cold but did well.  Sue and I both got chilled.  I totally have lost all my cold water acclimatization.  I'm not too worried though.  Manhattan won't be in the 50's.  With the open water temperatures rising up to the low 60's, if I continue to train several times a week at that temp, my body will be fine.  Until then I'm going to continue getting in quality yardage with lots of speed work.

I found it really difficult falling asleep when I got home.  My mind kept racing back to all the different experiences I had in Dover and so excited to share that with a good friend next year.  Felt like Christmas eve for me.

Total: .62 miles in roughly 20 minutes

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Day 2 of 10 x 10Ks "►" (Rightward pyramid)

This morning I started my swim promptly at 0500 and did a pyramid that extends to the right:

300 warmup
50 (50)
50, 100 (150)
50, 100, 150 (300)
50, 100, 150, 200 (500)
50, 100, 150, 200, 300 (800)
50, 100, 150, 200, 300, 400 (1200)
50, 100, 150, 200, 300, 400, 500 (1700)
50, 100, 150, 200, 300, 400, 500 (1700)
50, 100, 150, 200, 300, 400 (1200)
50, 100, 150, 200, 300 (800)
50, 100, 150, 200 (500)
50, 100, 150 (300)
50, 100 (150)
50 (50)
300 cooldown

Level Definition:
50 = 50 backstroke
100 = 100 free (Long efficient strokes.  Not easy, but focus on using lats with EVF)
150 = 2 x 75’s IM Order
200 = 200 pull moderate pace
300 = 3 x 100’s free sprint on 1:20
400 = 400 kick with fins
500 = 500 free no equipment get under 6:30
Actual was 6:31, 6:33.  I tried!

10,000 yards total in 2:50

Sarah was a couple lanes over doing her own thing.  She was holding steady with a strong pace.  She got in 10 minutes before me, and finished 10 minutes before me.  She also did 10,000 yards which is her new PR for longest swim.  Very impressive!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

First Open water swim of the season

Me, Sarah, and Chad at the marina opening enjoying the
beautiful view of the lake from here. 
Ever since New Years Day, I've not done any open water swimming.  Well today was my first day of the year.  Sarah Jones, Julie Keyes also came along.  Chad and Jim also joined.  It was cool, five swimmers this early in the season is pretty good considering Goody and Josh couldn't make it today.

Julie offered to paddle for us while the four of us swam out around the red buoy and back (600 yards), and then we did one internal marina route to add 400 more yards for a total of 1000 yards.  The water temp on my watch came to 53.3°F.  But Jim's read 55 I think.
Julie's first swim was epic!

After we all got out Julie got her turn.  This was her first swim in the GSL so she was a little nervous but she got in and swam from the boat ramp to the F Dock, a distance of .25 miles.  She did great, and was pleased
with the experience.  I think we might get her back out there again, and that's always a good thing.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Day 1 of 10 of 10,000 yards in April

This morning I was really looking forward to this morning's workout.  I came up with this workout last night and printed it out for this morning.  This is the first day of the 1st Annual April Fools Challenge.

A - 1 x 200 easy
P - 16 x 100’s free desc 1-4 on 1:30
R - 18 x 25’s sprint (3 breaths only) on :30
I - 9 x 50’s kick with fins on :55
L - 12 x 200’s pull/free no paddles/IM on 2:40 / 3:00 / 3:20

F - 6 x 100’s desc 1-3 pull on 1:30
O - 15 x 50’s free on :45
O - 15 x 50’s freestyler paddles on :40 (Done in sets of 3 x 5)
L - 12 x 75’s Stroke/drill/Stroke on 1:20
S - 19 x 100’s free/kick/free/fly/free/kick/free/back/free/kick/free/breast/free/free/free/kick/free/free/free

10,000 yards total in 2:50
No fooling around on this workout.  

Gords Swim Workout Generator

I've finally made the finishing touches on this project that I've been working on for the past several months.

Ever get sick of the same workout, or going online and trying to find workouts to follow?  I know I do. That's why I created this online workout generator.

First you plug in a range of how far you want to go.  Then you specify which strokes you'd like to swim.  There are lots of options to make the workout catered to your specific needs and wishes.

The really cool thing is that after it generates the workout, you can reject the whole thing, or select checkboxes next to certain subsets of the workout that you reject and regenerate just the undesireable sub sets of the workout.

When a set is rejected the application uses artificial intelligence to recognize what makes a subset undesirable so that over time, the generator only provides sets that are acceptable to your preferences.  Once the workout is "approved", it can be texted to your mobile phone, or compiled into a pdf for you to print.

Check it out.  For the first couple months I'm making it available online for free so I can workout any minor bugs, and fine tune it.  However starting July, I'm going to start charging like $5 a month for folks to use it. It's gonna be such a hit, I'll be rich!

 Of course, it'll be free to SLOW members.

Check it out and generate yourself a workout.