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Friday, November 1, 2013

Change Is Constant In The Horsetooth Open Water Swim

Joe Bakel and George Thornton run the annual Horsetooth Open Water Swim high up in the Rocky Mountains.

They shared a bit of history of Colorado's multi-race swim that is one of America's Top 100 Open Water Swims:

Oliver Turner, an English Channel swimmer and a 3-time Manhattan Island Marathon Swim finisher, founded the Horsetooth Open Water Swim in 1999.

Bakel explains, "While he was a graduate student at Colorado State University, he came up with the idea of a long distance swim that would challenge the swimmers and also be a fundraiser for the Wingshadow Foundation. His vision had the swimmers swim the length of the reservoir (~10 km) where in alternating years it would be swum either north to south or south to north. The first year, there were 15 brave souls that swam the reservoir north to south."

But then circumstances led to a variety of course changes. "A four-year dam repair and strengthening project began in 2000 that virtually drained the reservoir. This caused the swim to be temporarily moved to nearby Carter Lake in 2000 where a 4.8-mile out-and-back course was implemented. By 2001, an alternate out-and-back 10 km course was identified in the Horsetooth Reservoir starting about midway across the reservoir, swim to the north end and back.

In the drained state, the Horsetooth Reservoir resembled two bodies of water with a channel between them that the swimmers needed to swim through. In 2002, a weird situation occurred where the southern most body of water was at 16°C (60°F) while the northern most body of water was at 21°C (70°F). The swimming from cold water into warm water and then back into cold water proved to be unique and particularly challenging to quite a few swimmers.

In 2003 the 2.- mile swims were added to expand the Horsetooth Swim family of swims. By 2004, the Horsetooth Reservoir's dam rework was complete and the swim was able to return to the original format of swimming the full length of the lake. The number of participants grew and with the addition of the shorter races, the direction changed to swimming from south to north to finish in Satanka Cove.

In 2006, several exciting things happened with the race. First, the Horsetooth Swim 10K was awarded the U.S. Masters Swimming Long Distance Open Water Championship for the 6+ mile distance. It also was the first year of age group (1000 yard, 250 yard) swims. In 2007, with the closing of the Wingshadow Foundation, the beneficiary changed to Team Fort Collins whose mission is promoting healthy lifestyles through the prevention of substance abuse.

In 2011, Larimer County Parks completed a beautiful pavilion at the South Bay beach area. This provided a perfect, beautiful venue for hosting the shorter races and the finish line for the 10 km marathon swim so the 10 km swim changed back to being swum from the north to the south. The side effect of this change is the South Bay beach area is short of the full length of the lake by about 500m. Several approaches have been made to address this. In 2011, the 10 km marathon swimmers swam past the finish line by about 250m and then back in to add the distance. In 2012, the water level was extremely low due to a severe drought such that there was not enough lake past the finish line to make the full 10 km distance. The decision was made to just swim point-to-point the length of what was left of the lake which ended up being 9.4 km (5.85 miles). In 2013 the water level returned to a more normal level and the decision was made to direct the swimmers into a cove near the start to add distance to make a full 10 km marathon swim

Bakel also noted some notable 10 km marathon swims that usually has 60-80 participants:

* Oldest Male: George Thornton, age 73, 2013
* Oldest Female: Karen Zentgraf, age 66, 2008
* Breaststroke: Lucien Harkart, 2001
* Butterfly: Joe Bakel, 2013

2013 10 km Marathon Swim Results:

1. Kurt Dickson (46) 2:20:0
2. Tony Stewart (39) 2:23:4
3. Joy Stover (38) 2:25:4 (first female)
4. Shauna Nelson (25) 2:26:0 (second female)
5. Michael Stus (44) 2:33:0
6. Max Holter (16) 2:33:5
7. Matt Jenkins (35) 2:36:5
8. Valerie Limbert (27) 2:38:3
9. Howard Jay (57) 2:39:4
10. Jon Shaver (46) 2:40:4
11. Steve Roush (50) 2:41:4
12. Lee Ferguson (45) 2:43:2
13. Kelsa Gabehart (33) 2:43:3
14. Tyler Hicks (19) 2:45:0
15. Chio Hatakeyama (38) 2:46:0
16. Heather Hagadorn (48) 2:46:2
17. Jennifer Schneider (34) 2:49:3
18. Jared Wright (13) 2:50:4
19. Katie Benoit (34) 2:52:0
20. Henrik Meerman (52) 2:54:4
21. Tucker Mattern (24) 2:55:0
22. Dan Springob (47) 2:56:0
23. Tess Pasternak (26) 2:56:5
24. Bill Garrels (53) 2:57:1
25. Noah Garrett (36) 2:59:4
26. Tracey Loper (29) 2:59:5
27. Thomas Birner (38) 3:00:5
28. Walter Dauksher (49) 3:00:5
29. Matthew Moseley (46) 3:01:0
30. Kyle Steitz (23) 3:01:2
31. Lindsay Kenney (33) 3:01:3
32. Nicole Vowles (42) 3:03:3
33. Michelle Poole (48) 3:04:1
34. Scott Hoftiezer (43) 3:04:3
35. Kara Wolley (23) 3:05:3
36. Timothy Sowecke (30) 3:06:2
37. Dori Bland (25) 3:07:2
38. Jarrett Tishmack (29) 3:07:5
39. Kathy Guinn (58) 3:08:0
40. Walter Eggers (44) 3:08:1
41. Lauren Rosenfield (33) 3:08:2
42. Lindsay Markin (30) 3:08:2
43. Becca Gallery (23) 3:09:1
44. Ann Apple (49) 3:13:1
45. Jack Nuanes (49) 3:13:1
46. Loni Gray (43) 3:14:1
47. Nate Rothman (28) 3:15:5
48. Kathryn Klane (27) 3:16:4
49. Danika Springob (24) 3:17:2
50. Debbie Seidman (52) 3:20:2
51. Michael Farley (41) 3:21:3
52. TJ Scholand (42) 3:21:4
53. Michelle Zuccaro (41) 3:21:4
54. Kristian Blew (36) 3:25:0
55. Anne Metzger (52) 3:28:3
56. Malou Eijk (53) 3:28:3
57. Jeffrey Lime (46) 3:28:4
58. Greg Goble (27) 3:31:1
59. Rob Goodwin (48) 3:34:5
60. Peter Will (56) 3:35:4
61. Jerry Robinson (52) 3:36:5
62. Jessica Reinhardt-Vitcenda (37) 3:37:0
63. Michael Stanchak (32) 3:38:0
64. Lisa Bohlmann (47) 3:43:0
65. Mitch Taylor (61) 3:43:2
66. Pete Streicher (63) 3:45:1
67. Jesse Smith (44) 3:47:0
68. Sara Jelley (25) 3:52:1
69. Lisa Dale (45) 3:53:1
70. Colin Gerety (60) 3:55:5
71. Sandra Hicks (52) 3:59:0
72. Drew Gaede (31) 3:59:0
73. Joe Bakel (51) 4:05:2
74. Mike Hawes (54) 4:14:1
75. Dennis Hannon (69) 4:22:0
76. Tye Jordan (33) 4:29:0
77. George Thornton (73) 4:30:3
78. Chris Heisterkamp (37) 4:32:1
79. Lance Goodwin (72) 4:41:3
80. Ann Donoghue (52) 4:48:3

Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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