2014 Swim Reports! Please share yours. :)

JenAJenA Charter Member
edited July 2014 in Swim Reports
Just a gentle reminder that the forum has an entire thread for swim reports:


We have no marathon swim reports posted yet this year. Here's hoping some make their way over there soon. :) They are a wonderful source of inspiration!


  • Hi,

    Our son Cameron Keith (15 years old) successfully completed the beautiful Green Island to Yorkey's Knob swim (suburb of Cairns, Queensland, Australia) today in a time of 7 hours 6 seconds. A distance of 29 kilometres was recorded. Green Island is on the Great Barrier Reef here in Northern Queensland.

    Lucky enough to see a couple of dolphins while he swam & thankfully only a couple of jellyfish stings (no box jellyfish till November).

    I reckon this could be promoted as another swim in Australia to eventually put on the calendar. (The Rottnest Channel is a well know one over in Western Australia). What do you think?

    He is looking forward to attempting the Molokai end of this September where the sea temperature will be very similar but the conditions (wind speed in particular) no doubt a bit different.
  • mpfmarkmpfmark Teesside England Charter Member
    edited August 2014
    started transcribing the Amanda Bell interview re EC swim. see it at www.markswims.com
  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
    edited August 2014
    @mpfmark Your FIFTH! Windermere also!


  • mpfmarkmpfmark Teesside England Charter Member
    Yes D thought I had better get my finger out both in terms of swimming and writing
  • KatieBunKatieBun CornwallSenior Member
    edited August 2014
    I have two swim reports on this blog thing, one from last year, the second one in two parts, from last week, but it's a bit long. Wrote it for me so I don't forget how it felt. Not compulsory reading. Feel free to go "Pshaw, this is dull," and close the link.


  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
    Congrats again on your EC solo last week @KatieBun. I think everyone should write up their own story just as you did, because impossible as it sounds, you will forget otherwise.


  • KatieBunKatieBun CornwallSenior Member
    Sounds naff, but it's a bit like childbirth. Once you get there, you forget the tough bits. Somebody lock me up if I suggest doing it again.
  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
    @KatieBun, I doubt we are the first to think so. Here's part of a draft blog post I wrote recently that is due to see light of day next week:

    Marathon swimming is exactly like childbirth. You don't know exactly when it'll start, how long it's going to go on for, or just how much pain will be involved. You may also beg for drugs and try to punch someone .And it's all forgotten mere minutes after the event is over. I make this comparison with absolute male certainty.


  • KatieBunKatieBun CornwallSenior Member
    Bang on!
  • mpfmarkmpfmark Teesside England Charter Member
  • My Lake Tahoe write-up:

    I'll start with a short little back-story to set the picture for how I found myself standing at the shore of Camp Richardson, 11:44 PM, on Sunday, September 14th:

    I started really training as an OWS, and as a "distance swimmer" in January of this year. My goals were all "down the road" goals. I want to swim Catalina in 2015. I want to swim the EC in 2016. If possible, I'd like to do MIMS somewhere in between, aiming for all three within a 12 month span. But that's still a long way off, and if they don't happen in that time frame, then oh well. I won't be too fussed.

    My immediate goal for this year was to train up and reach a half-distance swim. That was something I could focus on, and that was something I felt I could achieve. My longest single swim prior to this year was 2-miles (although I had done a 2 & 1 miler on the same day). So I started training, and planning my events. A 10k lake swim (Del Valle Lake, Livermore), a 5k Rough Water Swim (Seal Beach, LA), and a 10k Ocean swim (Bridge-to-Bridge, San Francisco, current assisted). Come September, I wanted to either do the La Jolla Cove 10-Mile Relay (as a solo-swimmer), or a width crossing of Lake Tahoe (about 12 miles).

    Everything was going according to plan, right up to my last "tune-up" event before I aimed for my end-of-year swim. August 9th found me on a boat jumping into San Francisco Bay underneath the Golden Gate Bridge and swimming around the city. There were about 60 swimmers that day, and we were divided into two boats. As chance would have it, I met Tom Hecker upon my boat, who is the Co-Chairman of the La Jolla Cove Swim Club, and he informed me that the Relay swim would not be running this year. I was really leaning towards doing that swim, since the organization on a Tahoe swim seemed like a lot of work, and certainly a lot more money! But it wasn't to be, and after expressing my disappointment at the news, I commented that it meant a width crossing of Tahoe was in my future. Tom responded with "Why would you do the width? Do the length!", and so a thought was born...

    After doing as much research as I could about swimming in the lake, I quickly realized that my window for swimming Tahoe this year was quickly running short. By the end of September it would really be too late. So I searched and searched for a crew, slowly building up the support I would need and choosing a date that would work for everybody. September 15th was set, but I still didn't know what distance I was swimming.

    There are 36 days between August 9th and September 15th. My longest swim on August 9th had been 6.2 miles, but I hadn't come close yet to reaching my wall. I knew I would need taper time before my swim, which I wanted to be about 3 weeks. So I set myself a goal of 15 days, between August 10th and August 25th, to train and push and train. On Monday, August 25th I went up to Aquatic Park in San Francisco with a goal of swimming 12 miles (0.8 miles per lap, 15 laps, 25 minutes each, setting my feeding schedule). If I only just survived, I would go for a width swim. If I felt I had more in the tank, I would swim again Tuesday the 26th, finishing out 9 miles in the pool to bring my two day total to 21 miles.

    Well, 11:44 PM rolled around on the night of September 14th, and I found myself looking out into the pitch black darkness of Lake Tahoe. Somewhere, 21.24 miles away, was a shore, and somehow, I was about to swim there. Greased up, goggles on, lightsticks hanging off my swim cap, my countdown ran to "0", and I waded out into the black, glassy water.

    The temperature was cool, but not as cool as I expected. From the boat, they read 64F, which should've felt just like the ocean this time of year, but for some reason it felt warmer. I wasn't going to complain.

    Off I went. The first hour was pretty uneventful. The moon began to rise above the mountains, illuminating my pulls under the surface and casting shadows of my body and the kayak next to me into the abyss. The air temperature dropped from the low 60's to about 50F, but I was fresh, and there was no wind to speak of at all, so I couldn't have told you that from the water.

    By 2:00 AM, I knew something wasn't quite right. I've never lost my stomach while swimming before, but I've always been able to burp to expel excess gas build-up, and yet I was unable to do so here. Nerves? I didn't really have any. Lower oxygen levels in the air? Perhaps. I did feel just slightly short of breath. I had altered my feeds just slightly to incorporate electrolytes into my system - something I had tried twice on previous short pool swims, but nothing long. Maybe the fizz from my Nuun tablets were causing problems? I didn't know. But at 2:15 AM, I lost it. For about 30 seconds straight I lost it.

    I kept my head about me though, and recognized that my normal feed of Maltodextrin breaks down quickly and that it likely didn't mean I had lost "hours of energy". I requested an immediate Gu to replace my 2:15 feed, and to make sure I had something, albeit small, in my stomach before setting out again. Gu down, I began to swim once more.

    Over the course of the next few hours, the only measure of the passing of time I had was the rise and crest of the moon in the night sky above. Beautiful, and I wish I could've spent more time enjoying, but alas I only got the 30-40 seconds that each feed took to appreciate the splendor.

    Sometime near about 4:30-5:00 I had my weakest moment. I was 5 hours into my swim, nearing my longest single distance time to date (6 hours, 15 minutes when I trained in Aquatic Park). My body was beginning to feel tired physically, and my mechanics hadn't yet taken the reigns. The air temperature had dropped to about 45F, and while I never -really- felt any serious "cold", I was at my most miserable during this time. The night was long, I was tired, and for all I could tell I was swimming in circles. I was only 5 hours in, and I knew I had 8+ left to go. I kept up my banter with my crew during feeds though, and they assured me I was halfway to Oregon already (to hell with Nevada!). Breath Deep. I reminded myself over and over, with every stroke, that it's always darkest before the dawn, and that things would get better. I just had to make daybreak.

    At 5:30 AM I lost it again. I had requested that my crew cut the Nuun tablets after my first incident, but it didn't seem to make much difference. I'm still not sure what caused all the fuss in my stomach, but this was the last time (during the swim) that I was unable to hold things down. Again I repeated with letting my system empty itself out (no reason to fight it), then took in a Gu and set out once more.

    And then, the most amazing thing happened. I saw spots on my arms. Not spots of hallucination, but spots of detail. My arms weren't just a dark mass pulling with every stroke through the water, but they actually began to look like extremities again. I took my next breath. Left. There was the boat. Three more strokes and I breathed in once more. Right. My Kayaker. And his clearly defined silhouette against a lightening sky.

    All ill thoughts left my body. The sun was coming, and I was going to make it through the night. My strength felt renewed. I pulled with more drive, I started kicking for speed once more. I swam. I swam away from the night, and I swam into the light of day.

    By 6:50 AM, the sun had crested the mountains, and my crew threw me in my requested morning coffee (sweetened with 1/3 cup Maltodextrin of course!). They also informed me that I had officially passed the halfway point. I felt rejuvenated. Absolutely amazing. Sitting there treading water, looking at the lake around me, the mountains that suddenly had detail and weren't just dark masses towering into the night sky... it was the most stunning scene I had ever been lucky enough to enjoy. Fail or Succeed, it had already been worth it.

    But I knew now that I wasn't going to fail. Every stroke closed the distance I had left to swim. Every breath I felt like the sun was inching further and higher above me than it was before. My internal solar panels turned on, and time melted away. On I swam.

    Around 9:00 AM, I called out to my crew and asked if we were pushing 10 O'Clock yet. I had decided to swim without my watch, which is usually a staple of any swim I do, but I didn't want the mental time checks to bog me down. When they responded that it was only "9:09 AM", I came back with "Great! That means I still get an extra hour of rising air temperatures!". I was in a really good mental state, and I didn't even think about it until after the swim that their response could've been just as demoralizing (You mean I'm an hour behind where I thought I was!?!) as it happened to be uplifting.

    By 11:00 AM, I could clearly see the shore ahead of me. My crew had the experience to tell me honestly that I still had a lot of work to do, and that I just needed to keep swimming. I'm incredibly grateful for that. Even knowing the shore was still some distance away, it was frustrating to come up to feed time and time again, and see nothing change on the horizon. I could see buildings. I could see trucks driving on the road behind the beach. I could see boats on the water. And still, nothing ever changed. Had I truly believed myself to be close, it would've been crushing to see the end so near, at yet not being able to reach it.

    Trusting my crew I put my head down and enjoyed my swim. I stopped to feed, then began again. Stopped to feed, and off I went. Stopped to feed, and continued on. After the fifth feed, I knew something had changed. I knew the shore was approaching, but I still didn't quite trust my eyes. I asked if I would have one more feed ahead, and they told me that it was my choice, but I was clear to swim to shore.

    Another 15 minutes, and I was passing the first boat parked in the marina. 2 more minutes, and I could see sand beneath me. Each stroke I saw the grains pass by. Faster and faster they went, as I drew nearer and nearer to shore. The last 5 minutes I felt like I was gliding along, watching the tapestry of the bottom of the lake pass by. It was almost hypnotic.

    And then, my hand touched the bottom. I could pull no further, so up I stood. My pilot had gone ashore ahead of me to take pictures, video, and record the moment I stepped foot on dry land. At 1:30:05 PM, my swim was complete. 21.24 miles of the most amazing adventure I've ever taken on. I can't wait for what next year holds in store. Catalina? Ontario? Who knows right now. But I look forward to every stroke.

    My Course:

    Me and my Kayaker:

    Me and my Boat:

    I absolutely want to thank Tom Hecker for putting this crazy notion in my head just over one month ago. It's been an amazing journey to get here, and I've had so much support along the way. My entire crew did a bang up job, and I'll go out of my way to schedule my swims in the future to accommodate them (where feasible) if they're up for another go.

    2014 has been a great introduction to Marathon Swimming for me, and look forward to putting in the "proper" training for my future swims ahead of actually attempting then. For now though, I think a few days off with only slow, easy swims to stretch everything out are in order.
  • SpacemanspiffSpacemanspiff Dallas, TexasSenior Member
    @MichaelG Remarkable accomplishment and a great read. If I could give a double "like," I would. Well done, sir.

    "Lights go out and I can't be saved Tides that I tried to swim against Have brought be down upon my knees Oh I beg, I beg and plead..."

  • suziedodssuziedods Charter Member
    I also did the Swim Around Charleston. GREAT swim for a GREAT price. $225 for a 12 (?) mile swim. Water was much too warm for my liking but I survived. They provide you with a kayker and the kayak for only an additional $35. IMHO, a great deal. Briefing was fine, not too long, helpful , with pictures for those of us who are geographically challenged.
    My only quibble was that there was waaay too much time btwn the bus ride ( a nice touch!) and the start.
    Some lovely views, LOTS of public entity support. I swear, every time I looked up there was a police boat. It's always a good sign when the police are HELPFUL, rather than obstructive.
    I also appreciated ( at the time hated, but in the long run it was good) when the lead safety boat comes by and says " gotta pick it up or ...." And pick it up I did, and finished under the cut off time. ( phew) Yes, it would have been nice to have more food and drink at the finish but as a perpetual ALMOST DFL I have come to expect that there will be nothing left and prepare my finish bag appropriately.
    This would be another really fun 2-3 person relay which is also an option.
    Charleston was beautiful and I truly appreciate being called "ma'am' and "sweetie" and it not be a condescending comment. Also, there was absolutely no Beetching or moaning when we asked for separate checks at the restaurants. In SF, it seems to me that if one asks for separate checks we must be asking for the moon, and it's a %10 extra charge.
    Allow extra time to see the town and environs.I'd love to share a picture but I can't seem to do it...

    Looking for the next big thing.. ... @suzieswimcoach www.suziedodsswimcoaching.com

  • SydneDSydneD Senior Member
    Annual Swim for Alligator Light Race Report! Anyone else there?


  • PinkyPinky New Member
    Swam Lake Tahoe the week before you and a lot of your story resonates. Was ready to give up after 4.5 hours. Decided to habg in till daybreak 6.5 hours. Not sure how I finished
    Congrats on your achievement
  • Our son, Cameron Keith, (15 years old) completed Molokai on Tuesday. Took him 13 hours 55 mins.

    Last 1.5 to 2 hours he was about 5 to 6 off Sandy Beach. Current kicked in, so was two steps forward, one back.

    Although lots of jelly stings, he enjoyed the experience, except being frustrated towards the end. Big breakers on Sandys but he got in eventually to live tv coverage.

    Set off from Molokai at 3:45am in calm black sea. Took me a while to breaststroke out to boat but starlite night was great.

    Cameron got used to dark after 30 mins. Glow sticks did the trick but he was glad to see daybreak.
  • ColmBreathnachColmBreathnach Charter Member
    Hey @Pinky, well done.
  • it has been a very busy month for swimming the ka'iwi channel (Molokai to Oahu) yesenia fuegos from guatamala swam on 9/15-9/16 almost all night starting at 4 pm and arrived at 0850 in the morning =16:50. next up was Cameron keith with a time of 13:55 and he became the youngest person to swim the kaiwi channel on 9/30.this past weekend saw 2 people complete the channel in a time of 14:42. jim barber and Victoria rian swam solo but together. left Molokai at 9:15pm on 10/4 and finished at sandy beach just before noon on 10/5. all have been extremely lucky with having very light winds and no extreme currents to deal with.cameron saw 1 shark. jelly fish stings , yes, but nothing really bad. the kaiwi is in sleep mode right now.
    I personally have enjoyed meeting all the swimmers and am very happy they had successful crossings.
  • KNicholasKNicholas ArizonaCharter Member
    Irish open water swimmer, Anna Maria's, account of her SCAR SWIM 2014. I was introduced to Anna Maria through Ned Denison when I was looking for "local" crew in Dover. It developed into wonderful friendship which I treasure more than the swims. Here is a link to her unedited and aspiring account: https://www.dropbox.com/s/m8ir0gv4jpuqhrc/SCAR Blog by Anna Marie - Ireland.docx?dl=0
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