Sarah Thomas - 81.8 mile swim in Lake Powell, Utah/Arizona

evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
edited April 21 in Cheering Section

Reposted with permission from Sarah:


Ok, friends, family and Facebook stalkers, here's the scoop. Tomorrow, at around 8 am Mountain time, I plan to embark on an 81.8 mile swim from Bullfrog Marina to Wahweap Marina on Lake Powell (Utah/Arizona). I'm planning that this will take 50-60 hours. Nonstop.

When you look up "How far is it from Bullfrog to Wahweap?", you'll see that most places will say it's about 100 miles. We've spent months creating a route that is effectively the shortest distance between those two points- cutting corners across the canyons from direct point to direct point. This has been very tricky to do, since this lake was once a river and winds it's way through canyons. Additionally, the water level fluctuates a great deal, so we've used historical data and have been tracking water levels for the last 6ish months. At certain water levels, there are spires and rocks that are either above or below the water level. Currently, the water level is low, which means most rocks and spires are above water and we will need to navigate around them. I've learned more about waypoints, water pools, and navigation than I ever wanted to know. I'll spare you the details, but know many, many hours were put into creating the route. It's been shared with others outside my crew and checked and rechecked dozens of times. We have an "official route" and my observers will document any deviations from the plan. There are some unknowns on this and we've tried to be as perfect as possible, so that no matter what I won't be under 81.8 miles. When you follow this on the GPS, please remember that most maps won't show the accurate water level. We may appear on land or that we're taking an odd route around nothing, but there may be a rock in our way that doesn't show up on the Internet.

That brings me to my second point - GPS. Yes, you can follow me:

https://track.rs/ssthomas

Our planned route has been programmed in, so you can see it now. Please keep in mind that we are swimming through a bunch of rocks, so the GPS signal might not always work. It's attached to a SPOT, so we're hoping it'll send a signal the entire time, but I can't guarantee it.

We will update Facebook as we can- but, again, those rocks may cause issues for us. We'll do our best. (Some updates may come from my sister, Rachel Murphy, who is on standby at home to relay any messages via text if we're out of internet, but have cell.)

I will be following the MSF Rules of Marathon swimming. Andrew Malinak and Suzie Dods are on hand as my independent and official observers. They will make sure that I start and end on water, wear only my standard swim suit, ear plugs and goggles, that I do not touch the boat and that no one touches me. They will ensure that I don't get out of the water and take a nap on the boat, and then start swimming again. They also get the job of documenting our route and explaining any issues or deviations from the plan. They surely won't be bored.

I'm also being supported by the best crew ever assembled. I have Jamie Patrick and Karl Kingery as my pilots and navigators. They'll be assisted by Scott Olson and John Baxter. Ryan Willis is my crew chief (duh), with Becky Powell, Melody Maxson, Jack Nuanes, Alice Barton, and Ken Classen rounding out my general crew. My cousin, Alex Thomas, is joining as my paramedic/medical support. That's a lot of people just to watch me swim, but between them they have hundreds of hours crewing for me, kayaking for me, and training with me. My life is quite literally in their hands. It goes without saying, but I'm gonna say it anyways - I'm forever grateful for their support on this adventure.

Water temp is around 70-72, I think. Of course, since I've been anticipating a hot swim all summer, there is a cold front moving through. Daytime temps are forecasted for mid 60s. Night time temps in the low 40s. The biggest threat is wind, which could cause all kinds of issues. So, if anyone has any say with mother nature, please pray for calm winds (or at least a tailwind). Swimming in chop is tough, but 20MPH+ headwinds really suck...

Also, worth noting, this is a current-neutral swim. There will be no advantage from tides or current on this one. (So, if I'm going 10mph, you know I'm on a boat...)

As you can see, between a navigational error, physical pain, and crazy winds, a lot could go wrong. I know I've trained, but this will take a combo of sheer will/stubbornness and a lot of luck to pull off. I'm happy to begin taking all of your prayers, postive vibes, happy thoughts, etc starting now. :-)

One more thing: Even getting to the starting point has been a major journey. I've had so much support from so many people in so many areas all summer that I couldn't even begin to list everyone. A solo swim is never just a solo swim. It takes a tribe, and I love each of you in mine immeasurably.

pavlicovdc_in_sfphodgeszohoIronMikeloneswimmerAnthonyMcCarleyrosemaryminttimsroottortugathelittlemerwookiegrappledunkwendyv34JanetcurlybruckSoloViveBenegregocKellieWalterMvGChefKenflystormsspecsmanHelbeFlowSwimmerssuziedodsTMcQueenKatieBun
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Comments

  • pavlicovpavlicov NYCSenior Member

    There goes my work week!

    Go, go, Sarah!!!

    emkhowleygregoc
  • phodgeszohophodgeszoho UKSenior Member

    Awesome. Best of luck. Hope you have a great swim and the wind plays nice. :-)

  • IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member
    edited October 2016

    I know what I'm doing for the next few days. Good luck Sarah!

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited October 2016

    Sarah started at 8:21am Mountain time / 14:21 UTC.

    Wind forecast, via Windfinder:

    Selection_026

    JustSwimtortugaIronMikeemkhowleyViveBene
  • tortugatortuga Senior Member

    I can't get the tracker on this computer. Any updates?

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited October 2016

    26.2km down over 9 hours 7 minutes ==> 45.8 hours at same pace

    sorry you are having issues with tracker! Seems to be working fine from my end. if you have a chance please send details via PM.

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin

    Courtesy of @malinaka

    FB_IMG_1475630723354

    david_barraJSwimAnthonyMcCarleydpm50phodgeszoholoneswimmerchloemccardeldotcomgrappledunkJenAtimsrootwendyv34emkhowleyViveBenegregocJustSwimKelliecurlyMvGrlmCamilleHelbeMoCobluemermaid9suziedodsKatieBun
  • IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member

    Looks like a candidate for 2017 calendar!

    chloemccardeldotcomJenAwendyv34emkhowleygregocSoloViveBenecurlyMvGrlmflystormsbluemermaid9
  • As someone who has swum 77.3 miles non-stop I have a unique insight into the huge athletic and mental challenge and difficulty of Sarah Thomas’ swim and also all the back-end work which goes into organising and executing. I wish her and her team all the best for this mammoth effort which is helping push the boundaries of our great sport!

    There are comparisons being posed by members of the community as to my own WR swim (see link below) and as to whether Sarah’s swim surpasses that in distance. Yes, if successful, Sarah’s swim passes the distance I swam but these are two different swim categories. For clarity – The historical Claim regarding my 2014 Bahamas swim which was ratified by the 2014 MSF Review Panel was: “World Record, Longest Nonstop Solo Unassisted Ocean Swim.” I can only logically foresee an Ocean swim (longer in distance and ratified as unassisted by MSF), breaking my own World Record.

    I expect the MSF review committee (who review the swim documentation) will have the final say for the definition of Sarah’s swim. Like others I am enjoying tracking Sarah’s progress :) Go Sarah!

    This is the MSF RATIFICATION FOR MY BAHAMAS SWIM http://marathonswimmers.org/forum/discussion/1035/msf-review-panel-ratifies-five-swims-new-world-distance-record/p1

    THIS IS THE OBSERVER REPORT/ DOCUMENTATION FOR MY BAHAMAS SWIM http://marathonswimmers.org/swims/2014/chloe-mccardel-eleuthera-bahamas/

    IronMikeJenAViveBenetortugapavlicovdpm50flystormsTMcQueenKatieBun
  • emkhowleyemkhowley Boston, MACharter Member

    IronMike said: Looks like a candidate for 2017 calendar!

    I think she should be next year's October swimmer!

    Go, Sarah, go, and wow, @malinaka another fantastic shot! Hope the crew is having fun and behaving themselves. What an adventure, and that's some seriously impressive swimming happening. So proud of you, @ssthomas! You got this!

    evmokejoyceViveBeneJustSwimtortugaTheodpm50david_barraIronMikeloneswimmersuziedods

    Stop me if you've heard this one... A grasshopper walks into a bar... https://elainekhowley.com/

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited October 2016

    Some back-of-the-envelope calculations:

    • Over the first 24 hours, Sarah completed 41.2 miles (66.4 km) of the pre-defined route (50.3% of the total distance) --> average speed of 1.7 mph (2.8 kph).
    • Over the subsequent 8 hours, she completed an additional 10.1 miles (18.2 km) --> average speed of 1.26 mph (2.28 mph).
    • She has 30.5 miles (49 km) of route remaining.
    • At the speed of her previous 8 hours of swimming, that is estimated to take 24.2 hours --> estimated final time of 56 hours & change.

    Crew are reporting a relentless "bitter headwind" since sunrise, so the apparent speed may understate her true capacity.

    Here's another one from @malinaka:

    14572864_10103165468597464_2359075013317903648_n

    pavlicovViveBenedavid_barradpm50JaimieCamilleKarl_Kingerysuziedods
  • emkhowleyemkhowley Boston, MACharter Member

    I am so excited about this swim and her progress. I've done little else but watch her blips appear on the screen all day. Not sure I'll be able to sleep tonight, knowing she's still out there cranking away. What a champion.

    evmoJenAmjstaplesSoloViveBenedpm50loneswimmerJaimie

    Stop me if you've heard this one... A grasshopper walks into a bar... https://elainekhowley.com/

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin

    emkhowley said: I've done little else but watch her blips appear on the screen all day.

    I hear ya. The blips I'm watching are on the second screen - with the speed plot. Y'all know about that option, right?

    The speed plot is less colorful, but it's as close as we blip-watchers can get to the beating heart of a long swim. How much progress in the last 10 minutes? Above or below the smoothed-average line?

    ViveBenegregocSarah4140IronMikedpm50loneswimmerJaimiethelittlemerwookierlmsuziedods
  • JenAJenA Charter Member

    Looks like the wind is has peaked and is forecast to die down...

    Screen Shot 2016-10-05 at 4.43.35 PM

    evmodpm50ViveBene
  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member

    This is just an incredible swim. I am in awe of the mental capacity to swim for that long, especially with a headwind.

    IronMikewendyv34Camille
  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member

    evmo said: The speed plot is less colorful, but it's as close as we blip-watchers can get to the beating heart of a long swim. How much progress in the last 10 minutes? Above or below the smoothed-average line?

    Is there a way to download the data to Excel to play around with the numbers?

  • emkhowleyemkhowley Boston, MACharter Member

    So she's now logged two full days in the water and is still swimming. My mind just can't get itself around the concept of swimming into two sunsets. But I LOVE that her pace is rising now that the sun is coming up on her third day. WHAT A ROCK STAR! Just over 10 miles to go. GO SARAH GOOOOOOOOOO! The scope of this is just incredible.

    kejoycewendyv34gregocthelittlemerwookiedpm50grappledunktimsrootrosemarymintdavid_barrapavlicovAnthonyMcCarleyIronMikeloneswimmersuziedodstortuga

    Stop me if you've heard this one... A grasshopper walks into a bar... https://elainekhowley.com/

  • gregocgregoc Charter Member

    Sarah has entered the 48 Hour Club. It's a very small club with just a handful of members.

    thelittlemerwookieJSwimtortugaemkhowley
  • dpm50dpm50 PA, U.S.Senior Member
    edited October 2016

    Just takes the breath away! I wish her success as she closes in on the finish! Would love to find out what mental strategies she used to keep going during any rough patches. We can learn so much about human endurance from swims like this!

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin

    timsroot said: Is there a way to download the data to Excel to play around with the numbers?

    https://track.rs/Sarah_Thomas_Lake_Powell.csv

    gregoctimsrootrlmsuziedods
  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member

    @evmo - awesome, thanks

  • gregoc said: Sarah has entered the 48 Hour Club. It's a very small club with just a handful of members.

    I can't stay awake for that long, let alone swim!

    dpm50Camilleflystormscurly
  • I freak out a little bit every time the tracker freezes or doesn't update for a while. How can watching little orange blips be so nerve wracking??

    timsrootAnthonyMcCarleymjstaplesdpm50

    Grappledunk's Slightly Soggy Blog: http://grappledunk.wordpress.com/

  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member
    edited October 2016

    I told people at work about what I was looking at. They asked if she had taken a break during her 50 hours in the water. When I told them no, I got that look again.

    You all know exactly what look I'm talking about.

    IronMikekejoyceCamilledpm50AnthonyMcCarleyJenAViveBeneDanSimonelliSwimSydneysuziedodsKatieBun
  • SoloSolo B.C. CanadaMember

    This is so amazing. I have been checking her track over and over, and every time she speeds up I start cheering out loud!

  • IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member

    grappledunk said: I freak out a little bit every time the tracker freezes or doesn't update for a while. How can watching little orange blips be so nerve wracking??

    Even worse, the new horror: Too Many Users!

    Ahhhh! What?!?!? NO!!!!!

    JSwimthelittlemerwookieJenAsuziedods
  • ColmBreathnachColmBreathnach Charter Member

    Can a scale be added to the map?

  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member
    edited October 2016

    Sorry, but this application has exceeded its quota of concurrent users. Please try again later....

    Looks like she has lots of support for her last 12k or so

    suziedods
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited October 2016

    ColmBreathnach said: Can a scale be added to the map?

    Like, right now? Sorry dude. She has about 7 miles left though.

    swimdailyJaimiedpm50jbsmalinaka
  • dpm50dpm50 PA, U.S.Senior Member
    edited October 2016

    When I did my longest swim, and I had 7 mIles left, I'd only gone a mile, and I wondered how I'd make it through the other seven. And yet for her, it amounts to a sprint! Beyond awesome!

    evmo said:

    ColmBreathnach said: Can a scale be added to the map?

    Like, right now? Sorry dude. She has about 7 miles left though.

    SoloKellieflystormsIronMike
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin

    I've put up a static version of the tracker (much less server intensive) to satisfy the overwhelming interest in this swim.

    The full app (with stats, etc.) is now on track.rs/ssthomas2. But ssshh!

    KatieBunJenAViveBeneAnthonyMcCarleykejoyceSwimSydneygregocrlmHelbe
  • JenAJenA Charter Member
    edited October 2016

    @evmo said: The full app (with stats, etc.) is now on track.rs/ssthomas2. But ssshh!

    Thank you @evmo. Blip-junkies everywhere are grateful. :)

    PS. If you zoom all the way out so that you can see the Pacific and the Atlantic simultaneously, her track is clearly visible. Wow.

    ViveBenekejoyceevmoSolo
  • I must be close to my quota of "Likes" on this thread. :)

    JenAJaimiesuziedods
  • SuePSueP New Member

    There are two webcams at Wahweep that get updated every 10 minutes, but it looks like they are about an hour behind reality. Does anyone know exactly where in Wahweep she's going to land? https://www.nps.gov/glca/learn/photosmultimedia/webcams.htm

    JenAViveBene
  • She's speeding up, the end must feel so close (if she can feel anything at all at all!!)

    Jaimie
  • JenAJenA Charter Member
    edited October 2016

    @SueP said: Does anyone know exactly where in Wahweep she's going to land?

    If you super-zoom on the static image, the route ends on the south side of what looks to be a ferry terminal or boat launch.

    Looking at the shapes of the docks in the area, I think it's this one. Maybe? :)

    Wahweap Main Launch Ramp

    Edit: Yes, I'm thinking that's it. If you open Google Maps and drop the little orange person thingy on the boat launch, you can see the rock formations pictured in the distance of the webcam image.

    Edit 2: On the non-satellite view of the tracker, there is a bit of road that is Z-shaped, and touches the water. The bottom of the Z is the point I think they're landing at, based on the route of the static map.

    ViveBene
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin

    Courtesy @malinaka

    14572965_10103167730784024_4307911908537819542_n

    JenAViveBenewendyv34SuePKellieSwimSydneyJSwimKatieBunslknightcurlyrlmloneswimmerSydneDsuziedods
  • JenAJenA Charter Member
    edited October 2016

    By the looks of this webcam, it looks like people are gathering on the launch to watch her come in. :-)

    ViveBeneFranco
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited October 2016

    Finished in ~56:05.

    MSF cap FTW

    Screen Shot 2016-10-06 at 3.27.16 PM

    grappledunkViveBeneKellieFrancoJenASoloKatieBunJSwimSwimSydneykejoyceSuePWalterJanetmjstaplespavlicovAnthonyMcCarleydavid_barragregocflystormscurlydc_in_sfrosemarymintLynnephodgeszoholoneswimmerthelittlemerwookiebluemermaid9SydneDcold_water_zenssthomassuziedodsswimrn62TMcQueen
  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    Just...WOW! ^:)^

    Imagine the prune toes!

    AnthonyMcCarleyflystormsSoloJaimiesuziedods

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • SwimSydneySwimSydney SydneyMember

    This has been unbelievably exciting! Congratulations Sarah, what a sensational achievement. Love it love it love it.

  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member

    Absolutely incredible

  • curlycurly Issaquah, WAMember

    I never want to hear anybody complain about what a long day they had and how hard they worked. Never. Ever. Again.

    What an unbelievable accomplishment. I can't begin to get my mind around this...

    timsrootJaimieSoloflystormssuziedodsemkhowley
  • How about putting up a temporary MSF cover photo of her complete track?

    pavlicovevmoHelbeSolosuziedodsemkhowley
  • msathletemsathlete Victoria, British Colubia, CanadaGuest

    This is absolutely fantastic! Congratulations to Sarah, here crew, and all of those who helped her get there!

    Solo
  • IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member

    Holy sh!t. I am still in awe and probably will be for years to come. This woman is my superhero. I can't wait to meet her someday IRL (<---my kids taught me that).

    timsrootdpm50emkhowley
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited October 2016

    Lynne said: How about putting up a temporary MSF cover photo of her complete track?

    Sure, that's a great idea. The dimensions aren't quite right for the wide-angle at the top of the Forum, but I've put the track image on the main MSF homepage: http://marathonswimmers.org

    Sarah's been an active Forum member from the very beginning. This is such a stunning success, by one of our own... someone who has contributed much value to the community over the years. What a day; what a swimmer.

    Bravo, @ssthomas!

    Lynnedpm50timsrootHelbedavid_barrathelittlemerwookierosemarymintphodgeszohoslknightTheoSoloWalterrlmdc_in_sfemkhowley
  • MvGMvG Brussels (BE) and Lith (NL)Charter Member
  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandAdmin
    edited October 2016

    There are some days (in this case 2+ days!), and some swimmers, who both lift us as a swimming community beyond the tawdry self-promoters, and who also show the outside world the beauty and astonishing grace and power of which we as a species are actually capable.

    Sarah Thomas, who espouses so well the ideals which many of us swimmers most admire, including integrity, courage and vision, not to mention arse-kicking swimming ability, has done all of the above and for that, I for one am profusely grateful.

    Sincerest Congratulations to Sarah, original MSF Charter Member, her crew for the fantastic selfless support support on which our sport relies, and her MSF Observers Suzie and Andrew. Today I am proud again to be a swimmer. Thanks Sarah!

    dpm50timsrootJSwimdavid_barraIronMikekejoycethelittlemerwookieLynnerosemarymintphodgeszohowendyv34evmomalinakabluemermaid9TheoSydneDSoloWaltercurlylotechnotechflystormsssthomassuziedodsemkhowleyKatieBun

    http://www.loneswimmer.com The World's Most Popular Open Water Swimming Blog

  • dpm50dpm50 PA, U.S.Senior Member

    The bar has been raised! As a newbie to marathon swimming, I'm both humbled by an achievement of this magnitude and proud to join a community that supports efforts like this. I can't wait to hear Sarah s report about this swim and how she trained!

    We can learn so much about human endurance from this! This event has implications far beyond swimming.

    timsrootSolosuziedods
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