Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Goody's swim across Lake Tahoe

The 21 mile swim route across the length of Lake Tahoe has been standardized over the years to be:

From Richardson beach on the south end
To Hyatt Beach on the north end

Or Vice Versa.



Update August 6th:


He made it!  17:45:21. 

Posts on his swim:
Nice job Goody!  First Utahn to swim the length of Lake Tahoe (Jamie Patrick to confirm...)


Monday, July 27, 2015

Salt Lake Open Water Summer Swim Camp was a success!

This year's summer swim camp (held every year over the 24th of July weekend), was held in Cache County, Utah.

We stayed at Gridley's cabin up Logan Canyon on Thursday night.  The kids enjoyed a noodle war folloed by a polar bear plunge in a shallow stream that empties into Logan River.  The water temp was 55°F!  One minute in the water for three mini candy bars and a dip in the hot tub afterwards.



Lauren has this under control.

Evie and Lexi earning their candy bars while Clair considers it.

Oliver would rather "plank", but slowly bends those elbows for a full immersion.

Isaac Gridley shows the girls how it's done.

Lucy Gridley does her dip in the river.

The future of Salt Lake Open Water.


On Friday morning we all went to Tony Grove Lake, located 15 miles from the cabin towards Bear Lake.  This is a small lake about 70% the size of Bountiful Lake, but much cleaner and with beautiful mountain cliffs and surrounded by pine trees.

The group of SLOW members: Lisa Gentile, Sarah Jones, Chad Starks and Gordon Gridley all preparing for a big swim on Saturday decided for a short 3/4 mile swim around the perimeter of the lake.  There was a lot of underwater plants.  The kids enjoyed paddling all over the lake with the three kayaks that we brought along.













On Friday evening we enjoyed visiting and had a barbecue of hamburgers, hot dogs, chips and the kids played night games.
Caleb with Sarah

Chad and CJ

Most of the Jones' are having fun.

Sarah and Lisa discuss their swim plans for Bear Lake tomorrow.

CJ enjoys the rope swing.

New buddies, CJ and Oliver.

Chad's kids: Emma, CJ and Max.
Caleb with Mom and Dad

Chandra and Chad enjoying a quite moment on the patio.

Watching the kids run around 

Chad and Emma and Max

Everyone ready for S'mores?

Evie and Dad, Steve enjoying the campfire with Clair's blanket.

Sam declares the night games have begun!
Saturday at 0020, swimmers Gordon, Chad, Sarah and Lisa along with supporters, Chandra, Sophie and Max left the cabin for Cisco Beach.  We unloaded the boat and got prepared.  Swim started at 0220.

Gords piloted the boat during the night crossing since Chandra had never piloted the boat before.  The night swim was a little wavy and the crew endured seasickness and lack of sleep, but was able to keep all three swimmers safe and relatively close together.

Once we got about 4 miles into the swim Chandra took over and learned the ropes of navigation and piloting.  Gordon was able to get about 45 minutes or so of sleep and overcome a headache and nausea.  The sun came out and by the time the first width was completed Gordon was greased up and ready to go for the return leg.

The return leg was calm and not much of a breeze.  The sun was out in full force and it was good that we were all layered with sunscreen.

About a mile before the finish Chandra was able to contact the land crew of all the kids and they were all waiting for us at the finish.

What a view of the sunrise!

Max chills while the swimmers swim.
Gords and Chad finish up at Cisco Beach.

Lisa and Sarah swim in to the beach with the kids glad to see Mom, but apparently more interested in rocks.

Sarah and Lisa share a victory together.

Lisa, Sarah, Gords and Chad all glad its over.

Lauren and Claire enjoying the beach!

That's what I call a good sized support at the finish!

Sarah and Lisa zonked out while the kids had lunch.

Cute Clair
So a double width swam by Sarah and Lisa in approximately 8:31

While Chad came in about 10 minutes later at 8:41:58.  Gords swam the one width in 4:07:50.

What a fantastic time we all had!  Hope to have a bigger party next year.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Results of the Free SLOW Swim Race at Bountiful Lake



This afternoon we had 15 swimmers come to participate in a free open water race at Bountiful Lake!  The course we swam was the Josh Green Loop, which is 0.7 miles, starting in the water near the boat ramp, going around the two islands, and finishing back at the boat ramp.

A new men's record was set by Joe Linford with a time of 16:28.33!  Joe now holds the traveling trophy until someone beats his time.  Sarah Jones' women's record still stands from last year at 17:55.83.

We also held a contest to see who could guess closest to their finish time.  Our own Gordon Gridley came within about 1 second of his estimated time!

Full results are listed below:



Thanks to everyone who came out to swim with us!  Thank you also to Kelley Green at Elevated Racing for timing the swim for us.

We had so much fun, we are planning to do it again when the water cools back down, possibly in October.

Details about this race found on Openwaterpedia.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Spring Clean-up at the GSL Marina


Last Saturday was our annual club service project at the Great Salt Lake Marina.  We had a pretty good turnout with 14 people and just under 26 hours of combined service.  We picked up trash along Silver Sands beach and weeded all around the restrooms and the Great Salt Lake Yacht Club and fire pit.

Thank you to everyone who came to help!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Movie Review: On a Clear Day - by Rachel Wagner



In the world of sports movies the majority feature either baseball, football or basketball.  Occasionally you will have a hockey movie or a random track and field theme but rare is the film that features swimming, and even more rare is open water swimming.

There is however a real hidden gem that you should all check out. On a Clear Day (not the closely titled Barbara Streisand musical) is a 2005 Scotish film starring Peter Mullan, Brenda Blethyn and Sean McGinley. 

Mullan plays a man named Frank Redmond who loses his job as a shipbuilder along with several of his friends.  This causes him to become very depressed and he begins to dwell on the drowning death years earlier of one of his sons.  His wife and him are close but they both have their secrets.  His remaining son is a stay at home Dad who feels a lot of guilt about his brother.

Frank has a panic attack and decides to use his time at the gym to start training to swim the English Channel. He enlists his friends to help him train and it becomes a group adventure and a chance for Frank to deal with the drowning of his son.

I was looking at the reviews and it is certified fresh on rotten tomatoes at 67% which is ok but I would give it a much higher grade.  Most of the critiques is that it is sentimental.  Well, as someone who has set open water goals there is something inherently a bit sentimental about the journey.  It’s crossing a body of water for goodness sakes.  How can that not be sentimental?   If you read my blog posts after a race I talk about God and prayer and overcoming challenges in every one so it is part of the experience if you ask me.

I think for us in the open water community On a Clear Day is a huge win.  First of all, they get so many of the small details right.  Everything from the rules of the swim, cost of the boat, the way the food is given and getting greased up for a swim.  I appreciated that and it looked like Mullan’s is really swimming and sighting as he swims. 

I also loved the group feel to Frank’s project.  It’s not just his victory but his entire group of friends who all gain confidence from his success. I thought all of the group felt genuine and had enough of a unique personality to feel like they could be real people not just a sports movie trope.  As hopefully any SLOW member can attest the group element to open water swimming is crucial (and one of the best parts) and I thought they got that just right.

I also loved the deeper meaning of the loss of his son and how he finally was able to get some healing through being in the water.  I relate to that.  I had a terrible year in 2012 and there were many days when I would dive in the water and cry while I swam and something about the water brought me peace.

It also is a very realistic depiction of a marriage that has gotten a bit lazy but still has love and the complicated relationship that still often exists between adult children and their parents.  All of that was just right.  Brenda Blethyn is so good as his wife.  She is a woman with small dreams like passing a bus driving test but in her own way it is as great a challenge as swimming the English Channel.

In many ways On a Clear Day is like the recent wonderful sports movie McFarland USA.  They both take sports that are perhaps not the most movie friendly (open water swimming and cross country respectively) and use it as a canvas to talk about people, life and a community.  Both are movies that are great for watching on a Sunday afternoon when you want to be inspired and feel good about the world.  Nothing wrong with that!

Overall On a Clear Day is an immensely satisfying film especially for those of us that have embraced open water swimming.  I guarantee you will see pieces of your own swim story in Frank’s and perhaps it will help your loved one’s understand what is so great about the sport? Even if they hated swimming it is a heartwarming story about friendship, grief, marriage, dealing with depression, forgiveness and personal victories. I highly recommend it.

It unfortunately is not available on blu-ray but currently it is on DVD on Amazon.com for only $5.91!

Overall Grade A   


It is rated PG13 for some mild language and tense family scenes.

SLOW Swimmer Profile - Jill Wilson



Hello! I am Jill Wilson and I have lived in Salt Lake City for about 10 years now. I’m from Texas originally and have lived in Boston, Nashville and Memphis. In my first career I was a professional musician and played in the Memphis Symphony for 15 years. I moved to Salt Lake with my now-husband in 2005 and we got married on a ski run at Alta in the middle of a blizzard on April Fool’s day in 2006.  No foolin’! Currently, I work at the U of U in the Biochemistry department with the administrative staff team there.

My swimming career began when I was 3 years old at the Lee High School swimming pool in Midland, Texas. My dad set me down on the pool deck and told me not to move, so of course as soon as his back was turned I plopped right into the water. Every father’s nightmare! Not long after that, my sisters and I found ourselves enrolled in swimming lessons. That was back in the old days when they taught the S-pull and the frog kick. I’m sure none of you are old enough to remember that!

Having grown up mostly in East Texas where the lakes are murky and filled with snapping turtles and water moccasins, I didn’t know open-water swimming was a “thing” until after I started doing triathlons.  My first tri was the Women of Steel in 2011 (pool swim) and from that moment I was hooked! One little problem though: I am primarily a runner, but like many triathletes I was an abysmal swimmer.  Thus began my quest to improve as a swimmer.

Over the past couple of years I have done several open-water triathlons, including Daybreak, Echo and Jordanelle. In 2013 I graduated to Olympic distance events and did four of them! I’m contemplating a half-iron this summer, the one in Utah Lake. We’ll see if there is enough water there to swim in by August. Back in February I did my first swim meet ever, the QUAC meet. What a blast! I came in dead last in the 200 but beat the time goal I had set for myself, so I was happy. At the moment I am preparing for my third Boston Marathon on April 20, but that won’t really help my swimming much.

There have been several swimmers and coaches who have been instrumental in building my confidence and helping me improve. The folks in the Fairmont Masters team and coach Max Hunter come to mind, also Becky Black, Jamie Hubbard, and of course the wonderful and supportive members of SLOW. You are all my heroes! It’s interesting how sometimes a big breakthrough can come from a casual gesture or a comment from a fellow swimmer. My friend Cheryl from Fairmont Masters gave me her extra pair of fins. She didn’t need them anymore, but I have gotten so much use out of those things! I am finally starting to break the habit of allowing my legs to dangle down like jellyfish tentacles.

Utah is such a beautiful place to live and there are so many great swimming places to explore. I love swimming at Echo reservoir and Jordanelle.  Bountiful Pond is…well, it has some cool pelicans and it’s easy to get to from work or home. I would have to count my most memorable swim as the 2013 Echo Triathlon because it was the first time I was able to let the anxiety melt away and just enjoy the water. This summer I plan on swimming in the Great Salt Lake for the first time, so count on me being at the Spring Cleanup!