Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Updates on Dave VM's Siljian Swim

As most of you probably know, Dave VM traveled all the way to Sweden to take on a new marathon swim that no one else has done before. He swam ~32km across lake Siljian. While over there he has gotten some local media coverage. Dave emailed me some of the articles and since I happen to speak Swedish for some reason I went ahead and did a quick translation so that you guys can read what they're saying in the magical land of Sweden about our friend Dave :) - Rob D.

American shall clear 33 km today.


From the USA through Germany and Vansbro to Siljian, today Dave Van Mouwerik shall swim roughly three "miles" (a Swedish mile is 10km).

Dave says that "I usually swim one marathon swim a year."

When Dave VM from San Luis Obispo in California was 20 years old he studied in Germany. There he became friends with some Germans who asked if he wanted to follow them to Sweden and celebrate Christmas with them. That was in 1977, and he answered yes.

While in Sweden they came to the Hellgren family in Vansbro and ever since the Hellgrens and Dave have been friends.

"We met the Germans first but now we have more contact with Dave than with them" explained Birger Hellgren.

Now Dave is on vacation in Sweden and today, Friday, he shall swim across Siljian.

"I have always swam a lot and when I was 23 I felt that I wanted to start competitive swimming. Since then I have been involved with many teams and competed many times" said Dave.

The competitions he has taken part in are long distance swims, or marathon swims as they are also called.

"A marathon swim is different in that there's no determined distance, it's different from competition to competition. It can for example be to swim across the English Channel, or from Ireland to Great Brittan. It can be ultimately be whatever you want and one typically does it alone" explained Dave.

Last year Dave thought that he'd like to combine a visit to Sweden with a long distance swim.

A route starting in Hjortnas and finishing in Tingnasbadet in Mora makes for a 33km route.

"We have looked at Google Maps and made up a course in advance with points through which I shall swim."

Coming along with Dave will be two canoeists (assuming kayakers) to ensure that everything goes well for him.

The swim will take approximately 12 hours and Dave plans to start 3:30am Friday morning. While under way a motorboat shall follow along with food for Dave, but a rule in marathon swimming say that the swimmer may not rest themselves on the boat while eating.

"I may not have equipment that protects against cold, no wetsuit or cap that is made out of neoprene" said Dave.

The Distance Dave shall swim, he has done before but it was in the ocean.

"One is more stressed when in the ocean because of all the animals that are found there. But one can be as scared of sharks and man eaters they want, it's the waves that are the worst" said Dave VM.

"Great that it's over"

Soon after 3pm on Friday Dave VM took the last swim strokes into the beach at Tingnasbaden in Mora. He had swum over 3 Swedish miles (30km+) in around 12 hours.

Dave held smooth swim stroke pace, around 60 per minute, during the 32.7km from Hjortnas to Mora.

Despite the tough challenge he was in a good mood when he swam to land in Tingnasbadet.

"I feel good and am glad that it's over and I finished it. There's a lot that can go wrong when you swim. We had luck with the weather, it was warm and the wind calm." said Dave.

The first steps out of the water were a little rigid. However after a transition Dave could both stand and walk after the marathon swim.

"I'm a little stiff now and will come to have pain in my body for a couple days, but it will pass" said Dave.

His marathon in Siljian wasn't over until he came up out of the water. Since winter he has looked at a picture of a lifebuoy that hangs at the beach. The picture has helped him focus on the goal for the big challenge. A short walk up to the buoy and a steady grip on it was the conclusion to Dave's half day in Siljian.

Dave talks humbly of the performance.

He means that the whole thing is a group event and that one needs luck with nature to succeed. 

"I would have never finished this on Tuesday, it was blowing too hard and was too cold. I had  a fantastic group of people around me who hae supported me the whole way" explained Dave.

This 55 year old swimmer has trained as a long distance swimmer since his 20's.

To hold himself in this form he swims about 100 swedish miles (1000km) per year.

And Dave still has some marathons to swim.

"I have maybe 5 or 6 challenges left in me. The next time I'm thinking about swimming between Santa Cruz Island and California."

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The water today was 58 degrees, but was going to feel more like 56 because of the thick layer of gray clouds.  There was a little bit of wind but the water was pretty flat with small surf and an occasional 2 to 3' wave.  On the beach today were Niel, Brad, Duke, Rob, Sylvia and Yvonne. We began thinking that we were going to swim the triangle but things got rearranged when we started entering the water.  Duke and I headed out to the buoy line.  Sylvia decided to sit out. Yvonne got in late and swam part of the buoy line.  Rob decided to play in the surf with his newest handplane and Brad, who had not brought a wetsuit and was punched from some long workouts, decided to just wade in the water and ice his legs.  When Duke and I got to the end of the buoy line we decided to just continue straight towards Fossil Point and do an mile +/- parallel to the beach.  Things got a bit bouncy and swelly as we neared the point and when we stopped we found that the sun was coming out, the wind had come up and that we would be swimming into a wind chop out of the SW on the way back.  The chop was not hard to swim into and we picked up Rob as we got back into the surf line.  Once the sun was out it was a perfect day at the beach; sunny, warm but not hot and only a light breeze.  


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wednesday Evening, July 24, 2013

Just John Segal and myself this evening. That is, just us and a whole crowded beach of other people.  Lots of people on the beach and in the water at 5 when I arrived. People in the water late in the day is usually a good indicator of a high water temperature and today was no exception.  The water was 62 degrees.  There was a strong wind blowing parallel to the beach from left to right, pushing a 6" to 8" chop at a good pace.  We did the triangle clockwise.  The first leg was the most work, being directly into the chop.  The subsequent legs were each easier, a combination of the wind dropping and us moving into the wind shadow of the pier. The water was comfortable, with some really warm spots.  We swam for 38 minutes.  There are numerous fishermen on the pier and I saw some pelicans but no bait fish and no whales!


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Today's group consisted of Niel, Rob, Sam, Katy, Heather, Amy, Rich, John, Rick, Sylvia and Yvonne. We were joined by two guests today; Rich was visiting the area from Santa Cruz and joined us to try out our Central Coast water and Heather is training for her first triathlon with an ocean swim. The water was 58 degrees with a bit of wind chop that was being pushed up by an odd wind out of the SW.  We are also seeing more pelicans and some dolphins so the bait fish must be arriving.  There was a regatta in the process of being organized near the end of the Avila Pier so we all elected to stick to the buoy line and avoid the maneuvering sailboats.  Sylvia and Yvonne started early as is their usual plan.  The rest of the group planned to start out to the left and to come back under the pier, continue to the creek and return to our starting place.  Rob and I spent some time with Heather helping her get comfortable with the cold water and the chop.  She, Rob and Amy came in when they returned to the pier while the six of us continued. We covered a short mile and had a good swim.

We had a number of swimmers out racing today;  Tom and Leslie were successful yesterday in their 3 mile swim in Lake Washington,  Duke was doing the Goleta tri today, I believe that Casey and Brad were racing somewhere and Dave Van Mouwerik traveled to Sweden earlier this week to prepare for his 20 mile +/- lake swim.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Wednesday Evening, July 17, 2013

John Segal and I swam the triangle counter-clockwise this evening.  There was a slight breeze but no real chop and the water was 59 degrees.  The air was warm and there were still a lot of people in the water.  There were a number of fishermen on the pier and over the water, both the plain and feathered types, but no bait fish activity.  We covered just over a mile in 38 min. 44 sec. The conditions were beautiful and we had a great swim.


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sunday, July 14, 2013

We had 58 degree water today (felt colder to me) and 10 swimmers.  The fog burned off just after we started swimming.  Sylvia swam the triangle route on her own and Gerry worked up and down the buoy line.  Niel, Tom, Leslie, Casey, Rick, Sam, Katy and Duke headed out with not much of a plan.  When we grouped up at the end of the Avila Pier Sam and Casey came in and the rest of us headed over to the Poly Pier.  The wind had come up so we had some chop to work into coming back towards Avila.   There was a lot of variation in the water temperature today.   We covered 2232M in 49 minutes.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Wednesday Evening, July 10, 2013

Niel, Mark and John Segal swam and Marie accompanied us in her kayak.   Nobody was feeling particularly frisky so we decided to do the left half of the triangle.  The water was clean and unusually warm at 62.5 degrees.  There also was an unusual wind blowing parallel to the beach from left to right.  No whitecaps but a nice chop.   We got started but had to wait at the buoy line for Mark while he went back to get his goggles.   The chop was not bad but got my attention. The leg from the end of the pier to the last buoy was the most changeling as we were swimming across the chop.  The water temperature was pretty uniform and definitely warm.   The numbers from the port are still in the high 50's so we should have a pleasant swim on Sunday. 


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Sunday, July 7, 2013

We had nine swimmers today; Niel, Dave, Sylvia, Amy and her friend Lilly who joined us for the first time , Rick, John H., Brad and Katie, who swims with the Lover's Point Kelp Crawlers in Monterrey and dropped in while visiting the central coast.  It was overcast but looked like it would clear soon.  There was a slight wind out of the SSW which would later figure into the swim.  The water was 58 degrees.  There was a yacht race under way which meant that there were sailing boats maneuvering around the Avila Pier so we planned to stay along the buoy line and put together a 1 to 1.5 mile route based on how far down the beach you went before turning back.  We swam out and down the buoy line and regrouped after covering aobut 400M at the last buoy.  Lilly and Katie turned around while the rest of us continued towards Fossil Point.  The water became colder and rougher the farther we went and when we turned back we found that the wind had freshened and we were swimming into a well developed wind chop and current.  I could feel the current pushing me back and the chop was large enough to to make breathing changeling on either side but it was not large enough to be breaking over my head.  I guess that makes it a Medium on the wind chop scale.  When we arrived back at the pier everyone had decided that they had had enough fun for the day so we called it good and headed in.  I had 1639M in 40.5 minutes total time in the water.

I'll be at Avila Wednesday evening for our 5:30 swim.


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Fabulous 4th of July Swim

We has perfect conditions and a great turnout for today's Pirate Cove swim.  We were going to start early, at 7:30 AM, for easy parking and so some of the lifeguards could join us and still make it to their holiday shifts on time.  At 6:45 it was calm, the water was flat and there was a thick overcast but no fog.  Visibility was 4 to 5 miles.  The water temperature was 60 degrees, which was great because it had taken a dip earlier in the week towards the mid 50's.  We had planned this as a swim over to Pirate's Cove and back which would be a round trip distance of 3+ miles.  We have done this swim several times before and it is becoming a 4th of July tradition.  Swimming to the cove were Niel, Byron, Brad, John, Casey, Dave and Kate with lifeguards Phil, Lucas and Ian joining us.  We had five kayakers for support; Mark, Rob, Allison, Sharley and Jenny.  Sam was going to do a short swim along the buoy line and Sylvia and Yvonne were going to hang on the beach.  We got going on time, grouped up at the buoy line and headed for the inside of the rock off of Fossil Point.   We sorted out by speed into three groups so having 5 kayaks allowed all of us to have a navigator/lookout.  When swimming this far offshore and away from the beach there is always the possibility of a boat or jet ski crossing a swimmers path so having a kayak or paddleboard close by is a good idea.  There is a lot of kelp along this route so we did some kelp crawling near the rock and again near the turn into Pirate's Cove.  When we hauled up on the beach Leslie Lorish was there to greet us with coffee, water and snacks.  It was awesome to have goodies at the halfway point so Leslie deserves a huge thank you. 
Here we are on the beach at Pirate's Cove.
Dave, Phil, Ian, Lucas, Niel, Byron, Casey, John, Brad, Kate

Phil, Lucas and Ian left us here so they could run back to Avila Beach.  I didn't see them bring shoes so this sounded like a pretty gnarly training move.
The route on the return trip was not much different but we did only a fraction of the crawling through the kelp.  As we were coming out of the cove and making the turn towards Avila Beach the overcast turned into fog and the visibility became marginal, but this lasted for only a short time before the sun burned through.  I was the last one back to Avila having covered 5.34K (3.3 miles) in 1 hr. 55 min. I think the front group was 10 minutes ahead of me.  It was still flat and  glassy when I got out.  I didn't notice any variation in the water temperature during the entire swim, which was an unexpected bonus.

We will be back for our usual Sunday swim on the 7th.