Friday, June 6, 2014

What you don't see when you swim

I recently had a respected swimmer complain to me about the cost of entering the GSLOW Antelope Island race.  I felt defensive about the $100 entrance fee and tried to explain that it was a relatively low cost compared to other swims, (One day of Eight Bridges, or one day of S.C.A.R), but he referenced the cost of swimming La Jolla rough water, which ranges from $50 - $100 depending on how early you register.  

Instead of saying why $100 is a good price compared to another race, let's break down what is involved in organizing an event, and what expenses there are.  Here is a pie chart of what those costs are:


Another big thing that is not seen or included in this chart is the amount of help from sponsors and volunteers.  Our food is generously provided by Associated Foods.  Our raffle items are provided by Pool N Patio and they also help us keep the cost of the caps low.

Every event is different; for example the one mile GSLOW race includes paddlers that are required for safety.  However, for the 8 mile swimmers, they are required to provide their own.  We work very hard to gather volunteers for paddling the one mile course for safety, and also are provided several kayaks to use by Gonzo Boat rentals.  For the 8 mile event, it is close to 150 miles round trip from the marina to Unicorn point.  That also involves volunteers to spend their own gas, and wear and tear on their vehicles on that unmaintained dirt road along the east side of Antelope Island.  

There is a permit required to hold an event at Black Rock which is owned by the state.  That permit fee is waived due to a cleanup event that our club holds.  That is another fee that is not included in the cost of the race.  

Race expenses such as insurance, permits, advertising and awards are fixed costs.  They don’t fluctuate as we get more swimmers.  The more swimmers that participate, we can lower the shared costs that the swimmers must pay to cover those expenses.  Salt Lake Open Water is still in its infancy, being three full years in holding events.  We are learning, we are finding more cost effective insurance providers, we are continuing to appreciate loyal sponsors, volunteers, and dedicated athletes.  Other races that have been going on for many years have an advantage in keeping their costs low.  They have more swimmers, and those fixed costs have less of an impact on each swimmer.

If there is anyone who is on the fence about registering based on an overpriced entry fee, please contact the race directors.  If you ask nicely, we can work something out and can get you a discount.  If you participate in our club service activities, you receive a discount.  We held a contest for a free entry this year, and only received a handful of entries.   

Please consider early registration.  It’s cheaper to enter and it helps provide the funds needed to pay for quality medals and shirts.  If you wait until the last minute, you risk not getting a shirt.  If everyone registered last minute, there wouldn’t be any awards or medals.  When you pay ahead of time, you give yourself a goal.  You are financially committed to train for the event and that helps when you have to get out of bed, and refuse to give in to that lazy voice in your head.

Please support our sponsors, because they’re supporting you!

Pool N’ Patio
Bear Lake Lodging
Associated Foods
Gonzo Boat Rentals
Utah State Parks
Cisco’s Landing
Elevated Racing
Deer Creek Open Water
Salt Lake Open Water
Wasatch Front Polar Bear Club