Hello swimmers and volunteers,
We are upon the backside of our fifth annual and most successful SwamThat Race ever. First off, a really big thank you goes out to all of our supporters, family and friends are instrumental in making this happen year after year. My wife Sarah is my life saver.
The dinner was a great success, and I believe that I’ll be making the pizza cookies in future years because you all polished off about 12 pounds worth of cookies in an hour. They were highly acclaimed, but all thanks should go to two parties, first the ICOWS for their sponsorship of the dinner. The cookies were a way to thank them for the continued and unwavering support of the race. Secondly, thank my lovely grandmother to having the patience to endure my squirrely childhood self in teaching me how to make a delicious cookie. Thank you! Hy-Vee catering provided the food, and it’s wonderful. Additionally Hy-Vee donated all of the race day recovery for the athletes.
Another point to the dinner was thanking the kayak volunteers, they are an incredible group of individuals and we could not do it without them. They are all humble and gracious individuals with rich and fulfilling stories. If you happen to get a chance in future years, have a conversation with one or all of them, you’ll not regret it. In the name of safety they give their time for a piece of lasagna and a smile, this should give you an idea of the quality of individuals we are talking about. Additionally the positive and supportive feedback from the swimmers has been overwhelming. If you were a volunteer kayaker this year, thank you and be proud. It’s easily apparent that you made great impressions on the swimmers.
Camp Foster for the last two years has allowed us to borrow 4 kayaks. If the last two years are an indicator, as long as there are boats sitting around a person will be willing to pilot them. Thank you to Camp Foster YMCA, and the impromptu volunteers for adding an additional layer of safety to the event.
Feedback has indicated that you also like the course report that I put out. I’m happy to swim and write anytime, so I’ll try to keep this up. With the water volume increase this year the current was really running, and this made for an interesting race. It was shared that having this information, and the temperature information ahead of time was greatly appreciated.
The morning of the race went extremely well, and although I’ve still not figured out how to drop buoys from a small boat, in the dark while maintaining a straight line I know my corners are right. Ryan and I make a great team, and despite an issue with the blower not wanting to turn over for about ten minutes we prevailed. A new addition this year was headlamps with a red light setting. This was great because it did not flair our eyes, and we could sight a bit better. Ryan is an all-star, and we have a system that is still maturing. Ryan is also our lead safety kayak, and a best friend amongst best friends. Thank you Ryan! Ryan’s wife Jill is all hands on beach and our professional photographer. Once we receive them we’ll put all of the photos out. Most of the photos from 2017 were also Jill, her skills are impressive and appreciated!
The course swam pretty true, just a bit long. Dive and Rescue requires thanks anyway, but they corrected the course a little by moving a couple of buoys which helped everyone sight a little better. With the course set, and ahead of schedule we rolled up on beach. Sarah (tolerant and loving wife) was already on beach, and have everything unloaded from her car (one of four necessary vehicles to run this thing). Tony and Ellie (best friends amongst best friends were also there) helping with check in, carrying bricks with line, and assisting in setting up all things including generators, clocks, and signage. They would stay on beach all morning assisting with questions, sales, and other details. Tony positions himself as a personal assistant, and literally takes care of every detail. I don’t want him to go unnoticed, a best friend since high school, he’s had my back for 25 years now, and never fails to be there.
Still ahead of schedule we had time for a mass group picture will all of the adult swimmers and volunteers, then the safety briefing. I was thrilled to have extra radios on beach this year, enough to provide one to all of the 10K, and 5K dedicated spotters as well as all of the volunteers and Dive and Rescue. The radios are the most important part of the event, and after the loss of a couple last year, we purchased another 10 pack providing additional communication. Real time correspondence is necessary in the name of safety.
With that the 10K swimmers were off, and the race was started. Conditions were ideal! We had an extremely talented group in the 10K this year, each one strong and capable. One of them is Arron Cook, the only swimmer who has swam all five years so far. We awarded a couple of new Marathon swimmers this year; Melissa Chamberlin and Nick Klein both from Aimes, Iowa. Nick contacted me about three months back considering upgrading from a 7.5K attempt to a 10K. I offered to coach him in exchange for marketing support (some program details may be found through www.theswimgenius.com, feel free to contact me), it was a deal, and with some phone conversation, workouts, and a whole bunch of hard swimming on his part (all of the actual work), he made it! Lastly but certainly not least Sandra Frimerman-Bergquist with the Women’s overall win set our new course record with a time of 2:27:10. Our Men’s overall win went to Christopher Hansen with a time of 2:48:10. A big congratulations to all our Marathon swimmers!
Ten minutes later the 5K swimmers took off for our half marathon distance. This was a fairly large group made up of very strong swimmers. One of these swimmers was Kathleen Guyer (2014 Honu’s Hero recipient). She holds a special place in SwamThat history as she was the very first registration for the very first SwamThat race. She made it then, and she made it this time too. Women’s overall win goes to Carrie Morton with a time of 1:39:25. Men’s overall win goes to John Blumer with a time of 1:31:12. 5K in open water is a great challenge, and everyone who completed this distance should be extremely proud.
Another ten minutes go by, and we send off the 2.5K group. By this time some of the 10K swimmers are on the backside of the course, and riding the signature current (Spirit of Honu) towards corner two. It deserves mention that 10-year-old Ashley Husmoe competed, and became our youngest 2.5K finisher since the inception of the race. In addition, John Hood II, who just began swimming in May completed the 2.5K distance, and has been named with 2018 Honu’s Hero. The Women’s overall win goes to 14-year-old Amanda Husmoe with a time of 47:00. Men’s overall win William Morton 47:15. William would go on to say that Amanda made this a really good race for him.
The SwamThat Race youth races had good numbers, and fast swimmers this year. Both course records were set, and fun was had by all. Arron Cook was our high five finish line this year, an honor bestowed after his second 10K finish, and 5 years of participation. Josiya O'Kane won our 150M Boy’s division with a new course record of 3:10. Evelyn Lorenz won the girls division at 4:40. Alex Gutierrez won the 300M Boy’s division with a time of 5:20. Madeline Hansen earned the win, and set a new course record in the Girl’s 300M with a time of 4:48.
The 150M, and the 300M are core to the SwamThat Race. It’s important to provide these opportunities to the children to build the future of the sport.
The feedback is in and being taken into consideration. Certain aspects we cannot adjust, such as limitations provided by DNR such as when we are allowed to hold the event, and drop the buoys. Otherwise, we will be making continuous improvements. We are also (temporarily) bound by having a small craft, and daylight hours to draw a straight line with the buoys. We are lighting them, and this does help to get them in line despite constantly changing conditions. Thank you for this feedback, we’ll continue to get better. One suggestion was to have other speakers at the dinner, this has been a plan for some time now, and prior attempts have been made that just didn’t pan out. Overall, people seam to enjoy the dinner, and I believe that it’s important to have the safety briefing at this time, and on the beach. We are always trying to make safety the priority.
As we have gobs of shirts from past years, I have this thought that we could save the money and have a “Left overs” race concerning the T-shirts for 2019. The reason that we have this problem, is the cost on 100 shirts, is literally the same as the cost on 75 shirts due to a price break that our printer gets. I order the shirts in advance, because we get a lot of late signups, and am always hedging my bets on marketing and week of sign up’s. I would really like your feedback on this, I know that it would be a bummer for some of you that have swam the last four or five years. The monitory savings would allow us build the race even more. Please send your thoughts to email@example.com. I’d like to take an informal vote on this. I don’t want to lose participants, and I don’t consider it a trivial matter, but the idea was brought to my attention, and I appreciate that.
Next year’s race date is 09/08/2019.
I big thank you to everyone that has come out to the 2018 SwamThat Race. It was a great year!
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