L1’s Best Friends

One of the many benefits of getting out to the lakefront at sunrise is that you get to meet all the people taking their dogs on their morning walks. Here are a few of the “regulars” I’ve had the pleasure of seeing over the years.

Funny thing, I always remember the dogs’ names – but I still can’t remember some of their owners’ names!

Scout

may_24_2008_5

Minnie

june 1 08 minnie

Cooper

oct 10_2

Louis

july 16 2008 2

Bogart

sept 19_4

Kit

november_7_2009_9

Linus

july 22 2008 2

Eddie

20Dec2014_1

Bogart encore with the author

sept_19_2009_2

New Ice Monster!

Dave took his sister, Anne, out to our Montrose swim site yesterday were she officially earned her much coveted Ice Monster designation. Way to keep it in the family, Dave!

In-swim selfie

02Jan2015_1

Anne, Ice Monster 16 (congrats!)

02Jan2015_2

2014 Sunrise Edition

As we close out the year, here is a photo tribute to all of the amazing sunrises we experienced while out at the lake. Happy 2015!

2Feb2014

2Feb2014_5

09March2014_9

5april2014_2

19april2014_2

26april2014_4

3may2014_7

10may2014_4

24may2014_1

31may2014_2

7june0214_4

14June2014_2

5july2014_1

13july2014_2

13july2014_7

16August2014_3

30aug2014_1

7sept2014_2

7sept2014_11

14Sept2014_5

27sept2014_2

11Oct2014_7

25_Oct_2014_5

1_Nov_2014_2

15Nov2014_1

07Dec2014_2

OWC Mindshare 4: Effective Open Water Sighting Techniques

There’s a lot more to sighting than just picking a target and looking for it during the swim.  But unfortunately, that’s usually all the advice you’ll ever get from most coaches whenever the subject comes up.   The reality, though, is that poor and inefficient sighting techniques can deplete your energy during the swim and adversely impact your overall event performance.

In this session, we are going to discuss “reality-based” sighting.  Specifically, we will review how to efficiently and effectively stay on course and keep your bearings within all types of open water conditions – including situations where you literally cannot see the swim finish area.  We will discuss pre-swim sighting strategies as well as how to manage the limitations of your visual field while in the open water.  We will also detail and demonstrate a powerful and practical “sight stroke” technique that OWC developed based on the principal of “economy of movement.”  Below are the details – don’t miss out!

OWC Mindshare 4: Effective Open Water Sighting Techniques

– Date: Sunday July 13, 2014

– Time: 7:00am

– Location: Vicinity of Ladder 1

– What to bring: Just yourself as this is a land-based seminar (i.e. no swimming involved!).

– Cost: Feel free to donate to OWC at any time after the clinic if you feel that it was in any way valuable to you!

[For more details on the OWC Mindshare series – CLICK HERE]

OWC Mindshare 3: Managing Anxiety and Panic While Open Water Swimming

It’s normal to be anxious before and during an open water swim.  But if this isn’t managed effectively, it could lead to panic, exhaustion, paralysis, or even drowning in a worst case scenario.  The key thing that most people do not understand is that anxiety and panic are two separate phenomena, and that there are specific strategies and tactics for managing both.  

In this pivotal session, we will review this topic area in depth.  Areas to be discussed include the science and physiological mechanisms of anxiety and panic, how they are “anchored” to our emotional system, how they can escalate out of control in the open water, and what you can do to successfully manage them.  Here are the details:

OWC Mindshare 3: Managing Anxiety and Panic While Open Water Swimming

– Date: Saturday, June 28, 2014

– Time: 7:00am

– Location: Vicinity of Ladder 1

– What to bring: Just yourself as this is a land-based seminar (i.e. no swimming involved!).  You can also bring something to eat or drink – I will likely be doing so!

– Cost: Feel free to donate to OWC at any time after the clinic if you feel that it was in any way valuable to you!

[For more details on the OWC Mindshare series – CLICK HERE]

OWC Mindshare 2: Cold Water Swimming 101

Training in an indoor pool may help you with techniques and endurance, but all bets are off when it comes to managing colder water temperatures during an open water swim!  However, if you understand the science behind this and you practice certain techniques, you can actually excel in this environment.

In this much requested session, we will review this topic area in depth.  Areas to be discussed include human thermoregulation, cold water physiology, immersion shock,  pre-swim preparation, gear selection, and in-swim techniques.  Here are the details:

OWC Mindshare 2: Cold Water Swimming 101

– Date: Saturday, June 21, 2014

– Time: 7:00am

– Location: Vicinity of Ladder 1

– What to bring: Just yourself as this is a land-based seminar (i.e. no swimming involved!).  You can also bring something to eat or drink – I will likely be doing so!

– Cost: Feel free to donate to OWC at any time after the clinic if you feel that it was in any way valuable to you!

[For more details on the OWC Mindshare series – CLICK HERE]

OWC Mindshare 1: The inner game of outdoor swimming

Believe it or not, you are actually “wired” to thrive in the elements.  But you will only be successful if you understand how you interact with a highly dynamic external environment at a physical, emotional, and logical level.

In this kick-off session to the OWC Mindshare series, we will review this topic area in depth.  By the end, you should have a much better frame of reference to guide you with your open water swimming – as well as elsewhere in your life.  Here are the details:

OWC Mindshare 1: The inner game of outdoor swimming

– Date: Saturday, June 14, 2014

– Time: 7:00am

– Location: Vicinity of Ladder 1

– What to bring: Just yourself as this is a land-based seminar (i.e. no swimming involved!).  You can also bring something to eat or drink – I will likely be doing so!

– Cost: Feel free to donate to OWC at any time after the clinic if you feel that it was in any way valuable to you!

[For more details on the OWC Mindshare series – CLICK HERE]

 

OWC Mindshare: A new model for open water swim education!

Are you tired of feeling like a shipwreck survivor whenever you finish an open water swim?

Well, that’s exactly what you will get when you train to merely “survive” the swim!

How about OWNING the swim instead?

In other words, what if you could actually THRIVE in the open water environment and have it be an ENJOYABLE CHALLENGE instead of a “necessary evil” that you just need to “get through?”

———-

I’ve been in your situation.

I know what it’s like to be facing an upcoming open water swim and to not feel adequately prepared to deal with the uncertainty of the experience.

And I also know how frustrating it is to be told by inexperienced coaches that the solution to your dilemma is to “just do it” and “get more laps in” out in the lake.

Bottom line – this approach doesn’t solve your problem!

You need SPECIFICS – strategies and tactics that will enable you to excel in the open water and to actually ENJOY the experience.

And most important, you want this from a TRUSTED ADVISOR who can provide valuable guidance based on real experience in Lake Michigan (imagine that!).

Fortunately, there is now a new and exciting alternative to the status quo!

———-

Open Water Chicago is thrilled to announce “OWC Mindshare” – a new series of specialized clinics designed to give you key insights and tools you need to successfully navigate open water swimming.

Starting in June, I will be scheduling and conducting 30-45 minute interactive educational sessions which will take place at 7:00am (after our swim meetups and within the vicinity of L1).

The topics will vary, but below is a current list of several areas we will cover based on the feedback I’ve received from all of you:

– The inner game of outdoor swimming
– How to effectively prepare for cold water immersion
– Anxiety and panic in open water swimming: why they’re completely different and why they require separate strategies
– Reality-based sighting: how to really keep your bearings in a chaotic swim situation
– How to handle swimming and breathing in waves, chops, and currents
– Gear selection for open water swimming: what is the best setup for various situations?
– Drafting: how to conserve energy through other swimmers
– How to conquer an Alcatraz swim – or any other SF Bay swim

So what does this cost?

WHATEVER YOU THINK IT’S WORTH!

All you need to do is show up, listen, ask questions, and seek clarification on anything we go over during that session. You don’t need to bring any swim gear as these will be “land-based” sessions.

AND YOU DON’T NEED TO PAY ANYTHING BEFOREHAND OR EVEN ON SITE!

Here’s the key – if you think you have received any value from any of these clinics, then feel free to go to the OWC website at any time afterwards and donate WHATEVER YOU WANT by clicking on the blue “Support OWC!” button on the middle right side of the page.

If you do NOT think you derived any value from attending these, then please do NOT feel obligated to donate anything. Yes, I am serious!

So why this compensation model?

Because I only want you to pay for this if you honestly feel that I provided you with something of value to you and to your specific situation. And by you voting with your wallet, you help me “up my game” and provide you with better information, guidance, and coaching overall.

So that’s it! I will be announcing the first OWC Mindshare session very soon, so please keep checking the OWC home page as well as the OWC Facebook Page.

And thanks again for all your continued interest and support!

Best,

Steve

Newsflash: OWC Ownership Change and New Direction

After much deliberation and discussion with my family and friends, I have decided to sell off the ownership and marketing/branding rights of Open Water Chicago to a soon-to-be announced outside party.

While I cannot divulge too many details of the transaction due to a non-disclosure agreement, below are some of the new prospective changes that will take place once OWC is transitioned to the new owners.

Thanks to everyone for a wonderful six years!

Best wishes,

Steve
______________________________________________________

OWC Membership Fees

Starting immediately, OWC will now assess membership fees to new and existing swimmers. “Lake Monsters” will have a choice of either paying a $250 annual fee for unlimited swim meetup access, or they can alternatively pay a $10 “drop-in” fee to attend individual meetups.

Swim Proficiency Requirements

Because of the new transition to a high-intensity training (HIT) model, all swimmers attending any OWC meetup will need to demonstrate the ability to swim at least two (2) miles in the open water. Anyone not being able to meet these basic requirements will not be able to participate in any of the OWC meetups.

Organized HIT Workouts

Each OWC meetup will involve a structured swim workout organized as follows:

– WARMUP: One (1) mile distance swim at a moderate pace
– SPRINT & RECOVERY SET: 1/4 mile hard sprint swim followed by 1/4 mile moderate recovery swim on the return leg
– INTERVALS (ramp up set): 4 x 100 meters at moderate pace
– INTERVALS (anaerobic set): 4 x 100 meters at hard pace
– INTERVALS (recovery set): 4 x 100 meters at easy pace
– TABATA SPRINTS: 20 second maximum effort swim followed by 10 second rest (repeated 8 times)
– WARMDOWN: One (1) mile distance swim at a moderate/easy pace

These will be instructor-supervised sessions, and OWC swimmers will have their individual times tracked and monitored throughout the 2014 swimming season.

Swim Gear & Safety Requirements

Due to potential safety issues, all swimmers will be required to wear wetsuits to enhance buoyancy while in the open water. In addition, no swimming will take place in water temperatures above 78F or below 55F.

OWC On-Site Rules

Swim start times will be strictly enforced. Anyone causing delays due to watching sunrises or socializing with other members will be expelled from the group and will permanently lose their Lake Monster number.

Marry me, Ann?

Let’s get hitched!

14Feb2013_1