Bald Eagle Lake Open Water Swim Series
This series is a great opportunity for swimmers age 11 and over to practice their open water swimming. Whether getting ready for a triathlon or swimming for fitness, these swims promise to be fun and challenging. Enter four out of five races (same distance) to be eligible for series prizes. Each swimmerís four fastest times are totaled. Male and female swimmers with the lowest cumulative times in each distance will be crowned the winner at the end of the series.
Mondays on July 1, July 8, July 15, July 22, July 29
||Half-mile and One-mile
||On-site registration from 5:30-5:45 p.m.
Warm-up 5:30-5:50 p.m.
Event begins with a Mass Start at 6 p.m.
||Wetsuits are recommended, not required.
||Single race $30 pre-register / $40 Race Day registration
Four Races $100
Five Races $110
*Release Form Liability
*Fax, mail or drop off Registration and Release from Liability form.
Race Director reserves the right to delay start up to one hour due to inclement weather. Race will only be cancelled due to lightning.
Volunteers Needed! Volunteer for one race and get the next race FREE!
2012 Bald Eagle Lake Swim Series Winners
Congratulations to the combined winners of the 2012 Bald Eagle Lake Swim Series.
Ruth Abate -- Women's Half Mile
Tyler Terranova -- Men's Half Mile
Samantha Terranova -- Women's Mile
Scott Weir -- Men's Mile
Steamboat Pilot Reporter Luke Graham is taking on the challenge of the Bald Eagle Lake Swim Series. He is blogging about the experience.
How I Ended Up Shopping for a Speedo
by Luke Graham
I suppose uttering those words means Iím actually going to do this.
Three weeks ago began my pilgrimage into swimming, but this story dates back to the turn of the calendar.
My coach, friend and co-worker Matt Stensland sent me a text message in the early hours of Jan. 1. It said we were going to do the Bald Eagle Lake Open Water Swim Series this July.
All I needed to do was train with him once a week and follow the Total Immersion Swimming DVD he would inevitably give me.
He found me at my weakest. Of course when the New Year comes everyone probably proclaims something. Toss in a few drinks, me thinking swimming was easy and Stensland had me on the hook.
The morning of Jan. 2, however, I had disregarded my pledge. Heck for the month of January I simply pretended it didnít happen.
I avoided Stensland and days before he scheduled our first session, I told him I was busy.
Of course I wasnít, but I told him I was planning his birthday party set for later in March.
How could someone want me to attend when he thought I was planning a birthday?
This had varying results.
A. I was in the pool in cold temperatures.
B. I may actually have to plan a birthday party.
Our first session was cake. Slowly swimming on your side and back is easy. Even relaxing.
I thought with just 11 more sessions to go I was set. Swimming is easy.
I even called my mother, a swimmer all her life, to boast. She used to take me to swim lessons at Mount Princeton in Buena Vista. She usually worked with the older swimmers, while I tried to get out of deadmanís float and backstroke to play on the water slide.
I remember getting report cards after you finished a level. In the same conversation my mom couldnít find my report cards, but I asked her if she remembered how awesome I was at swimming.
ďUh,Ē she paused, nothing a son looking for reaffirmation wants. ďYou were OK.Ē
Just OK? Jesus lady. I was much better than OK, I thought.
Then we had our second session. It was way more advanced than I thought. It wasnít just floating on your back or your side.
I was worse than OK. Marginal? Below average?
My kicking is out of control.
My body has this uncanny ability to roll up like a snap bracelet.
Iím good at swallowing water.
This wasnít going to be as easy as I thought.
But the other thing I learned from my first couple sessions is how much I like swimming. It makes the body feel loose. It makes the mind relax. I feel great after each session. I even found myself in the midst of missing it over the weekend.
And Wednesday it led me to the Speedo web site trying to figure out sizes and finding words like ďattractive design,Ē ďflattering,Ē ďgood fitĒ and ďdries quickly.Ē
The only thing left to do was decide if I want tiger stripes or Buffalo Bills colors running down the side.
As a sports reporter Iíll get this right. Tiger stripes it is.
I wonít be making the London Olympics
by Luke Graham
Weíve had a huge breakthrough in my swimming. Mainly, Iím actually swimming.
No more drills. No more trying to become comfortable in the water.
This week I actually swam laps. Even did consecutive laps, previously besting my one length, stop, catch breath and doggy paddle to the other side.
Through the month Iíve been swimming, Iíve nonchalantly joked that Iím training for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
Of course that isnít a reality, but it hit home this week when talking to 2005 Steamboat Springs High School graduate Blake Worsley.
Worsley was an All-American swimmer at the University of Denver and is currently training with the Canadian National Team (he has dual citizenship).
On March 27, Worsley competed in the Canadian Olympic Trials. He won the event with a time of 1 minute, 49.06 seconds to make the Olympics. It got me thinking.
I was doing 200s last week. Of course the pool at the Old Town Hot Springs is in yards, not meters but 200 yards is equivalent to about 183 meters.
Regardless it was taking me about 4:30 to swim 200 yards. Looking at Worsleyís times, it was mind blowing how fast he swims.
Of course his training regimen is much different.
Heís in the pool five days a week. Each day consists of two swimming sessions followed by a weight lifting session.
Mine consists of trying to swim twice a week, and then enjoying the wonderful hot pools.
Itís easy, however, to see how the more you do something the better you get.
On Tuesday, Worsley said he hoped to break the 1:48 mark. For him that would be a huge improvement.
For me the improvement has been different.
Iíve gone from drills to actual strokes. From being able to do one length to swimming 200 yards consecutively.
Iíve gone from 27 strokes to do one length down to 18.
And eventually the 4:30 it takes me to 200 yards will be much less.
But I wonít be making the 2012 Olympics. I wonít ever swim a 1:49.06
But both Blake and I will improve in swimming. Heís chasing the Olympics. Iím just hoping this week I can swim a 400.
The Home Stretch
By Luke Graham
It seemed like several months ago, I had all the time in the world.
Now itís here.
My first jaunt into open water swimming is approaching.
Itís been a whirlwind couple of months. Iíve gone from being able to swim a length, thank god I reached the end, pull myself out and pant for two minutes to being able to swim a full mile.
The journey has been interesting. Swimming really is all technique. Doing it right makes it easy. Iíve learned a lot.
ó Matt Stensland, who worked with me in the pool and taught me to swim, is like a blonde dolphin cyborg in a Norwegian missileís body. (Heís also single, ladies). The man can swim for hours and hours and hours.
ó There are a tremendous amount of great swimmers in this town. And interestingly enough they come in all shapes and sizes.
ó If you want some humble pie, swim next to the swim team. On multiple occasions I had 8-year-olds blowing past me. On other occasions they were six.
ó Swimming shouldnít be feared. This is probably the biggest thing when I talk to people and tell them what Iíve done. Once learned (mine through Stensland and the Total Immersion Swimming series) it became an activity that was a must. Frankly, itís not that hard to learn either. I was surprised at how easy it was. It makes the body feel good. If youíre sore, it loosens the body up. If you donít like running because of the impact, or any other high impact workout, swimming is wonderful. I had a world class bike rider tell me this summer that her secret, after years of competing at the highest level, was swimming. She said no matter where in the world she was, sheíd find a pool after competitions.
ó Itís a heck of a workout. The resistance of the water and the constant effort are wonderful. The benefits Iíve seen are remarkable. My back is looser. My gut isnít a full keg anymore, rather one of the pony variety. My shoulders are looser and stronger. My endurance is much better. Every athletic thing Iíve done has greatly improved because of swimming.
ó The Old Town Hot Springs is a local gem. Enough said.
All that said Iím still terrified of the open water swim. Perusing YouTube has done nothing to help. Iíve been assured my experience wonít be like this.
But Iím excited and nervous at the same time. My goal started out just not wanting to drown. I can assure myself now that I wonít.
After several short months, itís here and Iím ready.
Itís actually fun?
By Luke Graham, Sports Reporter
Steamboat Pilot & Today
The initial walk into Bald Eagle Lake and gaze down the shoreline was intimidating. The last sighting marker seemed much farther away than just a 1/4 mile. Letís be honest, it looked at least two miles away.
My first race in the Open Water Series wasnít off to a dashing start. I looked towards the south and hoped for lightning. My attempts at making thunder noises did nothing. I tried to heed the advice of Patti Worsley, who I had chatted with the previous night. She told me to stay on the outside and if I needed to flip on my back.
At the start, those words had left. I found myself in the middle of the pack. Around the first marker I got kicked in the face, then swam over. Amid that, I swallowed what seemed like a gallon of water. I was absolutely terrified. A brief thought entered my mind that I may actually drown. I emerged from getting swam over and doggy paddled for 15 yards.
I didnít care I was in last place. I just didnít want to have someone explain to my mother that I drown 25 yards from the start.
Eventually I finished. I didnít think Iíd actually be able to say that. My initial goal was to do it in less than 30 minutes. I did it in 24:18.
Of course when you took the times of the half-mile winners ó Tyler Terranova and Seana Harker ó and added them together they were still faster. Even better, when you took their ages and added them together, they were younger.
After I finished, and I was on glorious ground, I immediately regretted my decision.
Open water swimming was terrifying. I told my coach Matt ďthe Norwegian MissileĒ Stensland that I didnít want to do it anymore. He said, ďItís only four more weeks.Ē
Had he not been willing to buy me a beer after the race I may have put icy hot in his Speedo.
All week I waited, slowly counting down the days until I had to get back in the lake. I was going to dread getting back in. People assured me it got easier.
Well, of course it did.
My second swim I didnít even have to stop. I cut a minute off my time and actually felt like, well, a swimmer. I was ready ó and dare I say ó excited for the next one.
So last Monday I patiently waited around looking in the distance for storms. I willed them away.
Iíd gone from praying for lightning and making thunder noises to pleading with the storm.
Things didnít look promising, but we started. About 50 yards from my finish, a kayaker told me to get out because of lightning.
I wasnít happy to be back on solid ground. I was upset I wasnít going to finish and get what I presumed was a much faster time.
While I likely wonít catch Tyler or Samantha Terranova, or any Terranova for that matter, Iím getting better. Iíve finished two and 7/8 races. And I canít wait for the next two.