Feeding Pole Anyone?

bobswimsbobswims OregonCharter Member
edited May 2012 in General Discussion
I would love to try out a feeding pole and possibly use it at MIMS & EC. Anyone ever built one? I need it to breakdown small enough to get on a plane &through security, although realistically they will probably make me check it at the gate. I was thinking of creating a feeding pole that collapses and can be transformed into a stroller. I won't have a baby with me so I thought I'd buy a doll.


  • LOSTswimmerLOSTswimmer Oakville, Ontario, CanadaMember
    I used a golf ball retriever with a small basket duct taped to the end for the EC... it worked well in training, but it was too rough to get close enough to the boat to use it the day I swam the EC, so I ended up getting all my nutrition in liquid form (Maxxim)... from a water bottle (with a large opening so you can chug it, not one you need to suck on) on a rope.


    Cheers, Rob

  • nvr2latenvr2late Central VirginiaCharter Member
    I read on a blog somewhere that someone had finally, after trial and error, decided that a retractable dog leash, with a large mouth cup attached, was the best way to raise an lower the cup to a swimmer. That would be easy to transport on a plane. I wish that I could remember the reference - anyone?
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    For MIMS, you will be feeding from a kayak... if a pole is employed, it will most likely be used for the transfer of feeds from boat to kayaker.

    There will be times during MIMS when, due to congestion, the boats will have to keep a fair distance from the swimmers.

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • WaterGirlWaterGirl Scottsdale, AZCharter Member
    edited April 2012

    I read on a blog somewhere that someone had finally, after trial and error, decided that a retractable dog leash, with a large mouth cup attached, was the best way to raise an lower the cup to a swimmer. That would be easy to transport on a plane. I wish that I could remember the reference - anyone?

    That was from @loneswimmer http://loneswimmer.com/2012/03/05/howto-important-factors-in-marathon-swim-feeding/
  • nvr2latenvr2late Central VirginiaCharter Member
    Thanks WaterGirl!
  • jcmalickjcmalick Wilmington, DECharter Member
    On a continuation of Barra's MIMS comment, watch out for poles of a different kind...kayak paddles (plastic, carbon fiber, greenland...they all feel the same!)
  • loneswimmerloneswimmer Admin
    edited May 2012
    When I had the dog leash idea I kicked myself that I didn't think of it for the EC, or that I've never heard anyone else use mention it. An Aspirant friend of mine made a feeding pole for lake training in Canada, mop handle with a shortened paint roller handle on the end, and a rope to secure bottle, he liked it, very flat water I think is the key. image
  • EileenBEileenB New York, NYGuest
    I've used mop or broom handles with a small mesh strainer duct-taped to the end for most of my swims, my trusty crewperson just hands off my bottle or wide-mouth cup from there, the bottle or cup is attached to a line so I throw it down when finished and they reel it in (though in rougher water just throwing the bottle on a line is best). More recently I've discovered that a retractable Swiffer mop handle makes a good pole, it is very light and easy to transport, it bends into segments actually, and, again with the strainer and duct tape, does the trick nicely. Maybe I could get Swiffer as a sponsor?
  • nvr2latenvr2late Central VirginiaCharter Member
    edited May 2012
    I just read the March April 2012 issue of Swimmer Magazine, (the official magazine of US Masters Swimming) and there is a great article on Open Water Feeding. There is a company called Race Craft, who created a feeding pole that extends to 12 feet, is retractable, and easy to carry on airplanes, hold two feeding bottles and a camera to film for training.
  • swimmer25kswimmer25k Charter Member
    edited May 2012
    If you are feeding from a kayak, I believe that a hand-to-hand transfer is the way to go. If you like a cup (like I do) I like to tie punch a hole in the upper lip and tie a string to it so I can drop it after I drink. If you need a pole, there's an easy way to make one. Very low tech. Get yourself some 3/4" PVC pipe from Home Depot at the length you want it to be. Get a small scrap about 4" long. Saw the large part in half. While still at Home Depot get two end caps, a male connector, a female connector, a 45 degree elbow, and some PVC glue. One of the long halves gets an end cap and a connector. The other gets and end cap, elbow, 4" straight section, and an end cap. When you open your suitcase you can screw them together for the full length. I attach a plastic cupholder (like you would have in a car) to the PVC with some zip-ties. Your trainer can hand the cup or bottle over the side in the stick. Have a string on the container and drop it after you swim. The trainer can pull the cup/bottle out. Having the end caps in place will allow your wonderful device to float if it gets dropped. Attached is a link to my Channel swim (the second part got blocked by Youtube) and you can see my feeding stick at work.

  • heartheart San Francisco, CACharter Member
    Diana Nyad uses one of those Camelbak blubbers. I think it's a brilliant idea and will give it a try in Portland.
  • nvr2latenvr2late Central VirginiaCharter Member
    @Heart - What type of Camelback does Diana Nyad use? The sports type bottle, or the back pack type with the hose type tubing for drinking?
  • heartheart San Francisco, CACharter Member
    I think it's the latter. Here's the story from her blog:

  • nvr2latenvr2late Central VirginiaCharter Member
    @Heart - That is the backpack in the video, thanks for the link - Brilliant! I think that the Camelback back pack was designed for hikers or cyclists. I have never purchased one for my cycling - many people have told me that they objected to the weight and the rub of it on their backs. But it looks to be a fantastice method of feeding! Anyone else have luck or tried this method?
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited May 2012
    I own one of those IV drip-style Camelbaks and use it for hiking. It's interesting info that Diana uses one but... it strikes me as inefficient for swimming. With due respect to Diana, she is notorious for taking an eternity to feed. That might not matter in a non-competitive swim in warm water, but in the Channel you'll freeze sitting there trying to suck on that little tube. I can also imagine that once you're cold, your jaw muscles may have trouble exerting enough pressure on the tube.

    Frankly @swimmer25k is the gold standard of feed efficiency with his PVC pole and plastic cup. Less than 4 seconds of downtime... from a boat? Awesome.
  • nvr2latenvr2late Central VirginiaCharter Member
    Maybe you could remove the flow rate thingy and just gulp from it? In nursing we have a thing that can pinch off an IV tubing, or open it for a fast flow - wonder if there can be some adaptation, because I think the principle of gravity ought to work well - although EVMO, I understand all of your points. Swimmer25K's feeds are amazing to observe and attempt to duplicate.
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    @nvr2late - very cool idea. If you try it, please post pics and/or video!
  • nvr2latenvr2late Central VirginiaCharter Member
    I will! I am going to REI this weekend and pick one up!
  • Bob,I forgot to say, if you are staying at Varne, David and Ev have feed poles there. Some of the pilots from each fleet actually have their own also so it might be worthwhile checking with yours.
  • JenAJenA Charter Member
    My feeding pole is a painter's extension pole. It's got a thread on the end for twisting on a paint roller, but it seems to be a standardized thread: I was able to find a carabiner-like thingy on a thread at the local hardware store which fit it perfectly.
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