Arizona S.C.A.R. Swim Challenge

KNicholasKNicholas ArizonaCharter Member
edited September 2012 in Event Announcements
In the planning stages for the Arizona S.C.A.R. Swim Challenge for April 2013. Four lakes in four days and more than 40 miles of open water swimming in the desert canyons of the Lower Salt River.



  • IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member
    edited September 2012

    So, will it be 4 days in a row or on separate weekends?
  • KNicholasKNicholas ArizonaCharter Member
    The responses I get suggest 4 days in a row would be preferred. People could try it in one bite or selectively pick their swims. I prefer April dates due to low boat traffic, great air temperatures (80's), slightly cold water temps (estimate 63-68) and it would be a good start an open water season for training purposes. I'm really open to ideas - it's a grassroots swim.
  • IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member
    I may be able to swing 4 days in a row. That would be fun and April would be perfect, at least for me.
  • bobswimsbobswims OregonCharter Member
    Four days in a row would definitely be a challenge. The earlier date with the colder water works well with my 2013 season but in a more typical year 68° is much more attractive than 63°. (I'm moving away from cold water swims longer than 10K)
  • KNicholasKNicholas ArizonaCharter Member
    edited September 2012
    No question it's a challenging swim - but a beautiful and unique swim. Based on experience, the third swim at Apache Lake is long and can get windy/choppy. Last year, a small group of swimmers broke the swims down - the first two lakes (+/- 19 miles) occurred over two consecutive days. The last two swims occurred about 3 and and then 6 weeks later allowing for plenty of recovery. The benefit of having the swims consecutive is that it gives traveling swimmers a big bite at the apple so to speak. For swimmers in the region it would give them the ability to pick and choose if they want to take on one or several swims. My personal bias is a bit colder water this year which comparatively is not really cold at all but consistent with "channel-like" crossings.
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    The lakes are really beautiful. I had the pleasure to swim the first two S.C.A.R lakes and then joined another group for a swim at Roosevelt the next day.
    Four in a row would be a great way to start the season... the cooler water temps would balance the blazing desert sun.

    I'm thrilled to see Kent's vision for this swim grow!
    (but then again... I have a soft spot for staged swims)

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • KNicholasKNicholas ArizonaCharter Member

    Four in a row would be a great way to start the season... the cooler water temps would balance the blazing desert.

    @Barra - I'm going with your instincts Dave, four consecutive days: May 1-4 which is a Wednesday through Saturday at one of the prime times to swim in Arizona. People can tackle all of them or pick and choose their swims with the last swim being under the stars at Roosevelt lake.

  • ssthomasssthomas DenverCharter Member
    This actually seems like a lot of fun- I love the four days in a row. Where can we get more info?
  • KNicholasKNicholas ArizonaCharter Member
    @ssthomas - I wanted to get the May 2013 dates out because I know marathon swimmers are use to planning their swims far in advance. I'm in the process of a web design for entry into one or more of the swims. I know Shauna would like you and Ken to come out for it. Being early in the open water season and very unique with the canyon walls, I think you'd enjoy it.
  • ssthomasssthomas DenverCharter Member
    @KNicholas- Thanks! I am totally a planner: I think May 2013 is enough advance notice. :-) What is the estimated distance over 4 days? I'm sure I could talk @lakespray into it, and maybe a few other Coloradans. I saw a few pictures of swims this year and it does look totally beautiful. Let us know when there's a website for the swims!
  • KNicholasKNicholas ArizonaCharter Member
    I now have the entry for the Arizona S.C.A.R. Swim Challenge in pdf format. It's May 1-4, 2013. You can pick and choose your poison (4 days, 4 lakes, +40 miles - including a night time 10K). Email me if you are intersted in an entry:
  • firebahfirebah Charter Member
    Sounds fun!
  • CliffCliff Member
    edited October 2012
    I'd like to to swim all four lakes over four days so if it works with my schedule, I'm in!

    By the way, any early November OW swimming in the Phoenix area?
  • ssthomasssthomas DenverCharter Member
    @cliff- me, too! Also, Ken is thinking of coming for some of the races, too! Yay!
  • I am in. All four days. So excited.... Thanks Kent for putting on an event like this,
  • KNicholasKNicholas ArizonaCharter Member
    Jamie, that's fantastic. The group is shaping up to be some of the most adventurous, elite and respected open water swimmers: David Barra, Grace Van Der Bly, Sarah Thomas, Swann Oberson (10K Olympic Swiss swimmer and 5k World Champion), other triple crown swimmers and yourself. Looking forward to swimming with you.
  • ssthomasssthomas DenverCharter Member
    @knicholas- some people in the Denver area are interested in this swim, too. They were wondering where everyone stays at night- hotels in Phoenix, camping? Any suggestions?
  • KNicholasKNicholas ArizonaCharter Member
    There are many options. This is a very rough draft but logistically makes sense:
    Tues Night: stay in Scottsdale or Mesa.
    Wednesday Morning: Carpool/bus to Saguaro lake. Don't check out of hotel.
    Wednesday Night: Same lodging in Scottsdale or Mesa.
    Thursday morning: Carpool or bus to Canyon lake. Check out of hotel.
    After Canyon swim, drive to Apache Lake, check into lodging right on the lake.
    Thursday Night: stay at Apache Lake because otherwise a very long day. BBQ.
    Friday Morning: Wake up at lake and swim it in the direction WITH the wind.
    Friday Night: another night at Apache Lake. We will be exhausted.
    Satuday morning: rest up, drive to Roosevelt late afternoon for night swim.
    Saturday night: stay in Globe or drive back to Phoenix area.

    More details to follow but that is a rough draft.
  • WaterGirlWaterGirl Scottsdale, AZCharter Member
    If you like to camp, there are some nice spots at Apache, Canyon and Roosevelt Lakes. The lodge at Apache is more convenient than camping, but the campground locations at Canyon and Roosevelt are ideal.

    The road to Apache Lake is a good road, but it's unpaved. Narrow and lots of switchbacks. I don't know about driving a camper up there...

    Apache: corral.htm
    Roosevelt (one option of many):
  • KNicholasKNicholas ArizonaCharter Member
    Just ordered the paddlers custom ANSI 2 Safety Vests with reflective tape on the back for the night swim 10K on the last day. Big thank you to the Catalina Channel group as the idea came while attending their banquet.
  • I am so fired up for your swim. Going to be a blast.........
  • KNicholasKNicholas ArizonaCharter Member
    Roger Finch from South Africa coming in for the Arizona S.C.A.R. Swim. Very excited to have him on board.
  • KNicholas,
    Are swimmers responsible for providing their own paddlers, kayaks, PFDs, food during the swims? If so, are there paddlers/kayaks/equipment for hire/rental somewhere in the area?
  • KNicholasKNicholas ArizonaCharter Member
    Swimmers will provide their feeding in a mesh bag to Kayakers for each swim they select. I have the kayaks/pdf lined up and I'm working on getting Kayakers. There is also a group of Stand Up Paddle board enthusiasts that are getting involved. No need to rent equipment. It would make it easier if you have a kayaker you have swam with in the past but not necessary to participate.
  • firebahfirebah Charter Member
    This is going to be a fun event! Really looking forward to it.
  • KNicholasKNicholas ArizonaCharter Member
    Glad to have Ned Denison from Ireland commit to the SCAR Swim. He was recently inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame and has a camp in Sandyhook to prepare English Channel / cold water swimmers.
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    Hey Kent,

    Are there any non-famous swimmers participating in SCAR?

    If so, who are they?
  • KNicholasKNicholas ArizonaCharter Member
    edited January 2013
    You absolutely must be extraordinarily beautiful and very famous to swim SCAR. Obviously kidding.

    There is Shannon from Arizona- a former college swimmer but never swam in an Arizona lake, dam to dam. Emily has never swam the canyons of an Arizona lake from dam to dam. Katie Kenny, (watergirl) a favorite swimmer of mine who I cheer for, completed the Swim the Suck last year. She has big plans in the future and is using SCAR as training for future events. There is a military reservist named Brad that swims (grinds) in my lane every day and has the desire and drive to surpass his preconceived open water boundaries. Sandy, who recently moved to Arizona from St. Louis, was an avid Ironman participant, gave it up due to injuries, and wants to swim further than she ever thought imaginable. I could go on but would bore you. Everyone of them - extraordinarily beautiful and very famous. More importantly - they see the SCAR Swim as a challenge and they want to nail it.

    I've been leaking high profile participants out on Facebook because I'm shocked at the high level of interest by Triple Crown swimmers. Strangely enough, about 90% of the swimmers are from out-of-state or out-of-the-country. Currently, I estimate 70% have completed a "major channel" swim which is not a requirement. I'm letting more and more Arizona swimmers know about the event but open water marathon swims are very new to Arizona -- the longest organized swim in recent memory is 4k which is under an hour swim for the top swimmers. This limited exposure can present a hurdle for getting sponsors.

    SCAR a pretty small group (25 swimmers) because it's one of those "off the hook" swims and I can only round up so many volunteer kayakers. Even lifetime swimmers don't typically think of swimming this far on consecutive days. But the environment for swimming in Arizona in May is pretty nice.

    If I were to guess, given my limited experience, the east coast has far more interested marathon open water swimmers than the western U.S. - which given the weather differences, I have a hard time understanding. The good news is that I expect at least 5-7 Arizona swimmers to swim further than they ever have before and catch the open water bug. Last year I counted 9 swimmers who swam in the open water further than they ever had in their life -- and that was cool. The swims are not designed to earn money or raise money - just a series of long swims for swimmers that love to swim.

    Barra said it best when he sent me an email, "They travel in clumps" referring to the marathon open water swimmers that travel globally doing what they love. He left me asking myself -- When do marathon swimmers work?

    I've rattled on too long and veered off your inquiry evmo. I just have a lot of excitement for the swims and those involved. Did I mention that you have to be absolutely beautiful and gorgeous to swim the SCAR?
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited January 2013
    Glad to hear it, I was beginning to feel a bit intimidated :) Congrats on the turnout!

    Thanks for the additional info, which really fills out the story of what you are doing there in AZ.
  • KNicholasKNicholas ArizonaCharter Member
    The SCAR Swim is full but still accepting crew to help kayak / SUP board to assist swimmers. Kayaks provided for free. One of the best ways to venture into long open water swims is to crew - here is an opportunity to get a front row seat with a number of Triple Crown swimmers from South Africa, New York, Connecticut, Ireland, Colorado and California. Here is the link to register for kayaking opportunities:
  • ssthomasssthomas DenverCharter Member
    Finally booked my plane tickets tonight! Can't wait to get outside and do some swimming!
  • FilFil Derby, VTCharter Member
    Kent: just about 3 weeks out! Looks like a rough and tumble bunch to me. Have a blast!!
  • KNicholasKNicholas ArizonaCharter Member
    edited April 2013
    Rounding out the SCAR Swim field of open water swimmers is Darren Miller who I had the pleasure of meeting at MIMS last year. Our parents had a chance to visit while we swam. Looking forward to seeing him nail down Oceans Seven later in the year.
  • Good luck to everyone doing the SCAR Swim Challenge. Have great swims and lots of fun out of the water.
  • lakespraylakespray Senior Member
    Kent Nicholas interviewed on the Swimming World's Morning Swim Show
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited May 2013
    I have to give Kent credit. This may be the most enthusiastically promoted masters marathon swim event in history :) Hope everyone has a great time.
  • ssthomasssthomas DenverCharter Member
    Day 1 was fantastic....three more to go!
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    Logistically, a very challenging event to put on. Kent assembled a great bunch of boaters, kayakers, and ground support...
    Ditto Sarah, day 1was fantastic!

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • Daily News Blog: Day One, Stage One At S.C.A.R. Swim Challenge: Grace van der Byl won the first stage on Day ...


  • Fast Times, Camaraderie On S.C.A.R. Swim Challenge Day 2 #OWswim #gracevanderbyl #saguarolake


  • I hope we get some pictures of Kent 's suit!

    Daily News Blog: Grace Van Der Byl Goes 3 For 3 After 17: Grace van der Byl did it again at the S.C.A.R. Swim ...


  • WaterGirlWaterGirl Scottsdale, AZCharter Member
    Such a great event!!! Kent's enthusiasm + Beautiful Arizona + Great Group of Swimmers was an amazing combination.
  • heartheart San Francisco, CACharter Member
    Nicely done, guys - sounds like it was an amazing event!
  • gregocgregoc Charter Member
    Kent Nicholas is the man (and his wife is too). Kent put together 4 days of awesome destination swims. Some of the most beautiful I have ever swum. He got a great group of world class people to show (they were pretty good swimmers too). Everyone on this forum needs to do this series at least once.

    Kent took at least a week off from his EC training to host this event. That is hard core.

    Give him a couple of days to recover before knocking on the door to sign up for 2014.
  • It's been fun following the swims on twitter. Kudos to Kent for his efforts and the swimmers and support staff on a great event!


  • ForeverSwimForeverSwim Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaCharter Member
    Nothing but admiration and respect for Kent, and his amazing assembly of kayakers and volunteer crew - just spectacular. I was lucky enough to attend the final two swims, and I am so glad to have made the trip out to Arizona! Hanging out with some of the most respected marathon swimmers in the world is an incredible gift! Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania U.S.A.

  • ssthomasssthomas DenverCharter Member
    Other than a few itchy, red bumps and probably scarring one of my fellow swimmers by leaving a few warm patches for him to swim through, this was one of the most enjoyable, laid back and flat out fun swims I've done. It was more swim camp for adults than race, which is really how I think marathon swims should be. I believe Kent said that the only awards for this event are internal...those are the best time. Thanks to Kent and a great group of swimmers for a fun time!
  • firebahfirebah Charter Member
    Fantastic event with so many moving parts to coordinate! Job well done to Kent and all of his assistants and volunteers. Has to be the at the top of the list of the most scenic swimming venues in the world.
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