Long Distance Swimming – August 2020


Let’s lead off these notes with a description of a swimming incident on Tue 23 Jun, as told by OMS Past-President Jeanne Teisher: “Last night if it wasn’t for Tim Waud’s quick action, Jim (my husband) would not be here today.  He and Tim were swimming in the Clackamas Cove Lake, Oregon City, at 6:00 PM.  After a while they stopped and just treaded water and visited.  When they started to swim again Tim noticed Jim slipping under the water and knew immediately something terrible was wrong.  He pulled Jim to shore and instructed someone to call 911 while he began CPR.  He estimated he did CPR about 5 minutes until the EMTs arrived who ended up shocking Jim 3 times.  Tim gathered Jim’s items on the shore, got into our Prius and tried to find Jim at one of the local Oregon City hospitals.  In the mean time I received a call from Meridian Park Hospital who informed me that Jim had suffered cardiac arrest and was in the ER.  Tim called soon after to inform me what had happened.  I was able to inform him where Jim was and where I would be.  Tim saved Jim’s life!!!!”

Jim is safe at home, and I wish and hope for his speedy and complete recovery.

It is obvious that Tim is a HERO; he saw what needed to be done and he did it.  But it is instructive and critically important to look at how Tim did this and how well he was prepared:

  • Tim had a safety plan for swimming in the Cove. This included talking about the swim beforehand, wearing a Safety Tow Buoy, swimming in pairs or a group, paying attention to one another, and having a set emergency procedure if something went amiss.
  • Tim was alert. When Jim got into trouble, Tim noticed and reacted quickly.
  • Tim made the rescue based on his lifeguard certified skills and practice.
  • Tim continued the rescue with the right moves on shore. Remembering to have someone else call 9-1-1 right away, Tim proceeded immediately to perform Basic Life Support for at least five minutes (trust me, this amount of time seems interminable when you’re doing it).  His training worked.
  • Tim followed up by gathering Jim’s gear, tracking Jim, and calling Jeanne.

In the past 20 years in Oregon open water swimming, I have required thorough safety plans for all sanctioned open water events, and have helped our event directors prepare and review them as needed.  In the past seven years, with a little help from me in my role on national committees, USMS has formalized this safety planning process in a variety of ways.  This incident underlines how critical it is to have strong safety planning for practice situations as well as for sanctioned events.  Landings must always equal takeoffs!

Tim, you’re my hero!  Well done!

In other news…

  • Oregon LMSC Open Water swims:
  • The swims at Lake of the Woods are still scheduled for Saturday, September 12, but I am a bit skeptical about whether there will enough entries to support this event. Event Director Matt Miller will let us know soon.  Stay tuned.
  • With no permit forthcoming, the swim at Eel Lake has been canceled. Several swimmers plan to keep their camping reservations at Tugman Park and do some informal swims together that weekend.  Please contact Eel Lake Guru Ralph Mohr at mohr1565@charter.net for information.
  • The Beautiful Lake Juniper swim at JSFC in Bend, originally scheduled for Sunday, May 17, and postponed until early fall, has been canceled. I haven’t figured out how to run this event with appropriate social distancing.
  • The other four of the seven Oregon Open Water swims were canceled earlier.

USMS Postal Championship swims:

  • Our own SOMA team is hosting with USMS 5 & 10-km Postal Championships this year. It’s a fundraiser, so please support them if you can!
  • The USMS Long Distance Committee, realizing that access to 50-meter pools might be challenging, will allow these events to be completed in short course pools. Individual results from short course swims will not count for the championship results, but will count towards the annual five-swim national Postal Participation Award.  Details will be available on the USMS website shortly.
  • The season for swimming the 5 & 10-km events has been extended two weeks, to Wednesday, September 30. I hope that this helps!
  • Matt Miller is still negotiating with Amazon Pool in Eugene to offer a special opportunity for 10-km swims (and 5-km swims if room is available) later this summer. I will also try to secure a date in Bend in August or September for these swims.  Stay tuned for updates.
  • OMS will continue to offer our annual three-swim Postal Participation Challenge this year, so be sure to stay in the game by doing one or both of these postal swims this summer if you can.

Other open water opportunities:

  • Swim a lot in your usual favorite local open water spots.
  • Participate in an open water virtual swim or virtual swim series. These are similar to postal swims in that you do the swims on your own, then enter online.  Check the event information about requirements and reporting; most of them require using a dedicated swim watch—like Apple, Garmin, etc.—that some of us already use.
    • I’ve chosen the 2020 Grand Slam event hosted by my friend Mark Johnston; see https://www.clubassistant.com/club/meet_information.cfm?c=2303&smid=13415.
    • USMS has recently developed the 2020 Toyota USMS Virtual Championships, to be done August 12-23, 2020. There are both pool and open water components.  The open water distance are 1-mile, 2-mile, 5-km, 10-km, and 10-mile.  Check out the details—including the charitable information—at https://www.usms.org/events/virtual-championships and try this out.
  • Go adventure swimming by trying some Oregon lakes where you have never gone before. Several years ago, I discovered that Ralph Mohr and several others had been identifying suitable Oregon Lake in the Atlas of Oregon Lakes (https://www.pdx.edu/center-for-lakes-and-reservoirs/atlas-of-oregon-lakes), going to them for a swim, and logging their “conquests”.  Set your own standard for a successful swim; I have chosen a 15-minute minimum in-water swim time and allow wetsuits (mostly to extend the swimming season).  Go to it.  I’d love to hear of your adventures!

Good luck and good swimming!

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