Tag Archives: open water swim

Dry Bags are Not Always Dry, and iPhones are Not Waterproof

Last Friday I headed over to Dutch Springs Aqua Park quarry on Friday for some open water swimming. I contacted Dutch Springs earlier in the week and they said they were open and water temperature was around 50-55 degrees F. Perfect temperature for some Lake Coeur d’Alene training. The folks at Dutch Springs are also introducing some new reduced pricing this year for triathletes which I mentioned in my previous post.

Dutch Springs Aqua Park May 2015
Dutch Springs Aqua Park May 2015

Dutch Springs was pretty empty that afternoon. There were a handful of divers and myself in the whole place. I suited up and filled up my SaferSwimmer “Dry” bag up with a few items.

CleverTraining DC Rainmaker SaferSwimmer Float inflated
CleverTraining DC Rainmaker SaferSwimmer Float inflated

I put my GoPro camera in there in case I wanted to take some pictures along with my iPhone so I could try the Garmin LiveTracking with my 920xt and my old Garmin 910xt just to compare the tracking from above the water. I put my iPhone in a ziploc bad as some added protection just in case some water got in and that was the only thing that was not waterproof.  I also through in my car keys. I have used the SaferSwimmer bag a few times and have never had any water get inside the bag part, so I was pretty confident everything would be ok.

Bass under the Buoy Dutch Springs 2015
Bass under the Buoy Dutch Springs 2015

I had a really nice swim. The water was cool, but not bad at all. Especially with my full sleeve wetsuit and my neoprene swim cap on. I noticed a lot more fish during my first loop around, so I stopped at the dock where I got in and pulled out my camera so I could take some pictures during my swim. When I pulled the camera out, everything seemed to be nice and dry inside. I stuffed my camera in my wetsuit and headed back out again. I got some cool shots of the trout and bass that were swimming around that day. I also managed to get a couple miles swim in too.

I swam around underwater with my GoPro a bit getting some video and pictures of some of the trout that were near the “reef” where I start my swim. There were some nice size rainbows and palominos. I also managed to get a little underwater selfie action too.

Underwater Selfie - Dutch Springs 2015
Underwater Selfie – Dutch Springs 2015

When I finished my swim, I unclipped my dry bag from around my waist and threw it on the dock. When I opened up the bag, my stomach dropped a bit as I noticed a large amount of water inside. I remembered that I had my phone in ziploc, so I hoped that that had protected it. I reached for the phone immediately. I held up the ziploc bag and saw that it too was filled with water. Ughh!


Now what???!! I was LiveTracking on iPhone with my Garmin 920xt and had it send my wife a email telling her this. Now, if she looks at the tracking it would have probably stopped in the middle of this quarry. I had no way to text or call her to tell her this either.

I got changed and packed up my stuff and headed out. There was no one around or I would have asked to borrow someones’ phone so I could let my wife know I was ok. I was trying to think of where the nearest AT&T store was so I could upgrade my phone. I am almost paid off on my phone so it isn’t a big deal to upgrade. Thing is I really didn’t want to move to a bigger phone which is why I haven’t upgraded my iPhone 5s to begin with. I guess I have no choice now.

It is amazing to realize how much I use my phone when you don’t have one.  I would have searched Google Maps for the closest AT&T store, but could not do that. It was also Friday afternoon, so I would have checked traffic on the highways too. I decided to try going to the Apple Store and see if I could upgrade there. I thought I could use one of the devices in the store to let my wife know I was ok too.

I was not able to upgrade my phone at the Apple Store since I still owed a few dollars on my AT&T Next payments, so I had to go into the mall AT&T store and upgrade. I was finally online again with a new iPhone 6 after a couple hours. I immediately iMessaged my wife.

My wife called me after I sent her a message. She had gotten down work about a half hour before and texted me several times. There was no response. She then opened the Garmin LiveTrack email and viewed my GPS track which had stopped dead in the middle of Dutch Springs Quarry. She tried calling and it went right to voicemail. She had started to worry now. Fortunately it was for only 20 minutes before I finally talked to her.

Crazy day! Lesson Learned: Don’t put anything that cannot get wet into your SaferSwimmer DryBag!

Dutch Springs Open Water Swimming Update

Hey swimmers…

Dutch Springs is making some accomodations for open water swimmers ! I recently received the following email from them which contains the details. If you want to get on the mailing list, give them a shout by going to their contact page  

Open Water Swim Training at Dutch Springs – You spoke and we listened!

Over the past few months, we have spoken to many of you to get ideas and feedback about swim training here at Dutch Springs.

We are excited to announce a special Swim Training Only ticket package!

 Three ticket package for $45 – that’s only $15 per visit!

Valid seven days a week, Memorial Day through Labor Day

With this offer, we do have some concerns so we have established a few guidelines to monitor use of this package.

  1. This is a special offer for those entering Dutch Springs only to do open water swimming.  It is not valid for entry into Dutch Springs to scuba dive or visit the Aqua Park/Sky Challenge, or any other non-swim training activity.
  2. Upon purchasing this package, you will receive a pass with three $15 entries loaded onto the card.  We will scan the card at entry, keep the card at our Gate House, and scan the card again and return it to you upon your exit.
  3. Maximum time in the park is two hours per entry.  If you should need more time, you must notify us upon purchasing the package.

Dutch Springs will contact violators of these guidelines and privileges may be revoked.  We hope you understand these guidelines and take advantage of this offer.  We feel it’s a win-win for both Dutch Springs and Open Water Swimmers!

As a reminder, during shoulder seasons when the Aqua Park is closed (April-May and September through November), the normal general admission price is $15 with no time restrictions!  Therefore, during these time periods you do not have to purchase the three-ticket package.

Remember!  A variety of season passes are also available to meet your needs!

  • $175 Summer Pass; Valid seven days a week, Memorial Day through Labor Day.  Visiting Dutch Springs only 12 times will make up for the price of the pass!
  • $120 Weekday Pass; Valid MondayFriday from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend.  Visiting Dutch Springs only eight times will make up for the price of the pass!
  • $290 Unlimited Pass; Valid seven days week from the time of purchase until March 2016!

PLUS, with these passes, you have unlimited time inside the park during park hours*! 

If you have already purchased a season pass and determine that one of these options is better suited for you, contact us by May 15 to transfer your pass to the option you’d prefer. 

*Dutch Springs has extended park hours in July and August! Starting July 1, the park will be open from 10am-7:45pm Wednesday throughSaturday! More time to swim!  Sunday through Tuesday, park hours will remain 10am-5pm.

 Wednesday Night Clinics Run by Endurance Multisport Experts

On select Wednesday nights, Endurance Multi Sport will be hosting special swim clinics, created to teach skills and tactics of open water swimming, as well as fitting you for the perfect wet suit!  More details on these clinics including dates and times will be coming soon!

Open Water Swim Challenge at Dutch Springs

As we are getting more involved in the swimming community, we are committed to providing more opportunities and exciting events for swimmers.  We’d like to know your thoughts on Dutch Springs hosting an Open Water Swim Challenge on September 13, 2015.  We understand it is after most competitions, but because of our busy summer schedule, September is the best time for us to host it.  Please send us a short response, letting us know your interest.  If we receive good feedback and have interest, we will host the swim – our first one ever!


Dutch Springs Survey

Tell us more about you!  Please click the link below to fill out a short survey to help us create an even better environment for your open water swimming at Dutch Springs!


Treading Water

After finding out last Sunday that the pool I usually swim at was closing down for two weeks, I made my rounds to two of the other facilities in the area that have pools. I was able to obtain a free pass at each one, so I figure hit one the first week and the other one the second. I could also hit Dutch Springs on Fridays for my long swim and take advantage of the season pass I had already paid for. I was a bit frantic at first but so far it seems to be working out ok.

I went to the first place, 24-7 Fitness Center, on Wednesday morning. The place is a bit old and fairly “aged”. The pool is actually outside and is 25 meters(my usual pool is 25 yards) which was a bit different than I was used to. It is funny how that 2.7 yards difference kind of throws me off. Also I usually do my kick sets on my side or back and I watch the ceiling, so not having that I was crashing into the lane markers constantly. There were 6 lanes in the pool and there weren’t more than 2 other people swimming at once and most came and left during my hour there. They cover the pool with a bubble in the Winter time. The cost of the place was $62 a month which seemed a bit steep for such a run-down place. The front desk people also didn’t even offer to give me a tour which I thought was odd. The other detracting factor was that it was 10 miles from my house and over 5 miles from work, which puts it out of my acceptable range.

The other place I checked out was the Human Performance Center (HPC). This place I like to refer to as the “Taj Mahal” since it is part of the very large OAA complex. Inside it also fulfills this label as it is quite nice. They have a 4 lane 25 meter lap pool and two other activity pools. They also have an indoor track and huge strength training area. The locker rooms are phenomenal and lockers are made of wood which I have never seen before. My only fear about this pool is that is could possibly fill up quickly with only 4 lanes. The also provide a full fitness test with your membership and a training plan which would be good to get my off season strength training on track. This place runs $76/month which floored me at first, but when I added up my current pool membership cost and my works’ fitness center membership I am actually paying more than this a month. Another bonus, is that is only 3 miles from work and 7 miles from home which is the closest of all three facilities. Tomorrow will tell what the congestion of the pool will be like.

It would be quite strange to swim somewhere else after 4 years at my current pool. Change is never easy, but it seems like it may be a good time to consolidate things a bit. But having to wait to swim though would not be worth it. The nice thing is that HPC lets you cancel at any time with 30 days notice and my current pool can be joined anytime, so there isn’t a ton of pressure. It’s nice to have some options.

I did get over to Dutch Springs on Friday and managed to get a good ~2 mile/1:05 open-water swim in. The water was like a sheet of glass and it was one of the nicest swims I have had there all season. I could not have asked for a better day. I was pretty psyched to also get in a good 2 miles in, which is only 0.4 miles short of an Ironman-distance swim. I would have done that extra 0.4 if I didn’t have to get home for a picnic. Anyway, gives me a big pile of confidence for next season going into Lake Placid.

Finger Lakes “Mini Camp” Day 1

The last week has been pretty uneventful fortunately. No more beestings although I have been a bit paranoid riding my bike. The Alburtis 5k was held on Saturday and I was the official race photographer again. The next couple days after it were tied up with getting the race photos uploaded onto my photography site. Training-wise, this was the largest build week so far this season. I am headed up to the Finger Lakes this weekend which makes for a great place to get in some quality training.
Thursday I squeezed in a killer hill-repeat workout before we headed out on our way to the Finger Lakes. The nice thing about leaving that late is that the roads were pretty free of traffic. We arrived at the lake around 11:30PM and quickly unloaded. I read a little bit of Finding Ultra and hit the hay.

I slept as soundly as I usually do at the Lake. It was a bit overcast in the morning and there were some heavy storms threatening. We decided to head over to Ithaca(NY) for some lunch at the Moosewood Restaurant for some vegetarian food in lieu of my morning swim. Lunch was really good. I had a Sweet Potato Corn Chowder soup and a Falafel burger over rice. For dessert, I had a vegan chocolate cake which was outrageous. It was almost 3PM by the time we got done our lunch, so thoughts of doing any other activities went out the door. I still needed to do a 30 min swim and a 40 min run yet today. Our parking meeting ran over our time and we ended up getting a $15 parking ticket too. Great.

We made our way back to the house and I jumped into my wetsuit for my swim. My Father-In-Law paddled out in the kayak and was following me so that boats would not run me over. Apparently he was behind me for some time before I even realized he was there. The wind was whipping from the south and it really created some waves heading in that direction. As I swam that way, the waves would crack me in the head. Every once-in-a-while I would sight and get smacked in the face with water. When I turned around and headed north up the lake it was a sweet cruise, Keuka Lake is such a nice lake to swim in and really enjoy doing OWS(open-water) swims here.
After my swim, I changed into my run clothes and headed down to the Hammondsport High School track to do my run workout. Tonight was a 4x60sec pickups workout which I like to do on a track. The track here is pretty nice and more spongy than the Emmaus track. My legs were a little wobbly from the swim, but I still managed to get my last repeat under a 6:00/mi pace. It was a really nice cool night to run and a consistent breeze kept things cooled off.
I headed back to the house and jumped back in the lake for a little post-run bath. The water was a little bit cooler this time without the wetsuit on, but once I got in it felt really refreshing. We enjoyed a nice dinner and a fine bottle of Heron Hill‘s Game Bird White.