Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Open Water Swimming = Adventure

I recently had the opportunity to be interviewed for a project at the American West Center at the University of Utah. The Great Salt Lake Oral History Project is seeking to document current experiences with the Great Salt Lake. In my interview with Becky Lloyd, the word that I found kept coming up when I was talking about swimming was “adventure”.

For me, that’s what open water swimming is all about. Sure, it’s fun to see how fast and how far you can go, but the big draw for me has been swimming in new places and in new conditions.

It was Gordon and I seeking adventure that got us out to swim at the Great Salt Lake for the first time. That experience is what solidified our desire to bring back the historic race from Antelope Island to Black Rock.

My most memorable swims are not the ones where I swam fastest, but where I experienced new things. I think often about the year the big storm came through during the Deer Creek race. I had so much fun riding the swells and getting rained and hailed on.

Open water swimming is about a lot of things: endurance, being out in nature, pushing yourself to your limit, adapting to new conditions, etc. But at the heart of it all, at least for me, is adventure.

In an effort to help the club seek out new open water adventures, we have created the SLOW Check-Off Challenge. Basically, it is a series of 16 open water related challenges to be completed throughout the year, with an emphasis on trying new things and getting involved with the club. We encourage you to participate and hope that you will have many new adventures along the way.

Details about the SLOW Check-Off Challenge can be found on our website:

Monday, March 16, 2015

Mini Triathlon Clinic with On Hill Events

Event organizer, Joe Coles, of On Hill Events gives some final instructions before the start of the mini-triathlon.

First swimmer ready to go.
Last Saturday SLOW swimmers Sarah Jones and Josh Green assisted with the swim portion of a mini-triathlon clinic organized by On Hill Events.  SLOW swimmer Jill Wilson was also in attendance and participated in the clinic.

The clinic was held at the RUSH Funplex in Syracuse and consisted of four presentations (swim, bike run, triathlon) and a mini-triathlon at the end.

It was a great experience to help many first time triathletes with the swim portion of the clinic.

In case you weren't able to attend, here is an outline of some of the things we covered.

Monday, February 23, 2015

SLOW Check-Off Challenge

We are announcing a new club event for 2015: the SLOW Check-Off Challenge.

It's a fun way to get involved with the club and try new things.

The idea is that you download the check-off sheet (similar to a BINGO board) that has 16 different open water related challenges. Once you complete a challenge, mark it off on your sheet and record it here.

You don't have to be a SLOW member to participate, but awards will only be given to registered members at the annual awards dinner.

The challenges were designed to be attainable by newbies as well as seasoned swimmers.  Only one challenge can be checked off at a time!

We look forward to hearing about your adventures and seeing you check all of the challenges off.

Have fun!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Endurance Sports Show

SLOW will be participating in the Endurance Sports Show on Friday February 20th and Saturday February 21st at the South Town Expo Center.

The show should be a lot of fun with vendors, clubs, clinics, seminars, a free 5K, and even several endurance sports movies. SLOW will be offering special discounts on registration for our three open water events.

We have acquired some free tickets if you are interested in checking out the show. Use the code GOSLOWTOESS during checkout.

We are pretty well covered, but if anyone is interested in helping staff our table, please add you name and availability to this document.

Thanks! See you there!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Utah Masters Clinic

This past Saturday, Utah Masters hosted a free clinic for current USMS members at the Olympus Aquatics Center.

The clinic had four "stations" including: open water/triathlon, starts, flip turns, and video stroke analysis.

SLOW was in charge of the open water / triathlon portion of the clinic.  We walked each group through some fundamental skills including: sighting and swimming straight, mass starts, buoy turns and drafting.

Below is a summary of some of the information presented:

Swimming Straight / Sighting

Eyes Closed Drill
Swim across the pool with your eyes closed. This can help to point out some imbalances in your stroke. If you find that you tend to drift to one side of the other, pay attention to where your hands are entering the water. If your hands cross over the mid-line of your body, you will tend to drift to one side.

Bilateral Breathing (breathing on both sides)
Learning to breath on both sides can help balance your stroke and help you swim straighter. In addition, it gives you the flexibility to switch the side you breath on if needed (sun glare, another swimmer splashing, wind, etc). If the course follows the shore line, being able to breath on both sides also give you the flexibility to sight to the side to see if you are on course.

Ideally sighting should be with your eyes just above the surface of the water and should be incorporated into your stroke. If you crane your neck or stop to see where you are, you will wear yourself out. Take a quick peek before or after taking a breath. If you don't see what you were looking for the first time, don't worry. Take a few more strokes and look again.

Here is a good video about open water sighting.

Mass Starts

We practiced a few, in water, mass starts with each group to give them a taste of what it will be like on race day.  If you are not comfortable being around so many people, you can position yourself to the back or side of the pack. The disadvantage of doing this is you have to swim through all the water churned up by everyone ahead of you.

As the countdown starts, prepare yourself by getting your hips up and your legs behind you in a horizontal position. Sculling with you hands will help keep you in position and ready for the start.

Buoy Turns

We opened a lot of eyes with our groups when we showed them a faster way to get around a buoy. You can lose a lot of people during your race on the turns if you practice this turn technique.

The basic idea is that as you get even with, or even a little past the buoy, stretch out the arm closest to the buoy. Take one backstroke with the opposite arm, and then really pick up your kick so you don't lose your momentum.  Here is a link with some pictures.


We didn't have a lot of time to talk about or practice. The long and short of it is that you can save energy and swim faster (assuming you are drafting on a swimmer faster than you) by drafting. The ideal position is to have your shoulder even with the hip of the person you are drafting on. You should be swimming very close to get the maximum benefit.  For beginners, an easier position to be in is directly behind the swimmer you are drafting on.

Be aware that the person you are drafting on many not like it and they may try to lose you by speeding up, slowing down, kicking you, etc.

Here is a good video about drafting:

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Year in review

What a fantastic year we've had!


Utah Triple Crown swimmers this year: Lisa Gentile, Charles Doane, Sarah Jones, Stacey Schluckebier, Chad Starks, Joelle Beard

Bear Lake Crossings:  
      Double Width: Lisa Gentile, Kelly Gneiting
      Single Length: Goody Tyler IV, Chad Starks

Club members voted and the following earned special awards:
    Most Improved: Sarah Jones
    Best Sportsman: Chad Starks
    Best Sportswoman: Lisa Gentile
    Volunteer of the Year: Gordon Gridley
    Goodwill Ambassador: Sue Frehse

Joelle not only finishes up the Triple Crown of Open Water
Swimming, but the Utah Triple Crown in the same year!

Charles earns his Utah Triple Crown certificate.

Our two Bear Lake length swimmers with their
certificate and patch, Chad and Goody!

Future SLOW swimmer Porter Green with his
parents Josh and Sabrina.

Thanks to Steve and Sarah for the delicious dinner
and making the arrangements for the party.

What a great group of swimming friends!

Chad, Sarah and Gords after the dinner.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

SLOW Awards Dinner - Please RSVP and Nominate

The SLOW Awards Dinner will be held this year on December 30, 2014 at 6:00pm at the Great Salt Lake Yacht Club (at the Great Salt Lake Marina).  Please join us for an evening of food, awards and fun!

In preparation for the awards banquet, we need your help with nominations for the following awards:
  • Most Improved
  • Volunteer of the Year
  • Best Sportsman/Sportswoman
  • Goodwill Ambassador
Click on the link below to nominate up to two people for each award.  Please include a brief summary of why you are nominating each person. Nominations close on November 26th.

Awards will also be given to 2014 Utah Triple Crown swimmers, Bear Lake length swimmers and Bear Lake double-width swimmers.

We need to get an idea of how many people plan to attend so that there is plenty of food and seating.  Please RSVP by December 22nd at the link below.

Thank you for a great year! We look forward to seeing you at the awards dinner!