The Morning Swim Show, Oct. 1, 2012: A Conversation With Open Water Swimming Man Of the Year Jamie Patrick

PHOENIX, Arizona, October 1. JAMIE Patrick was recently named the Open Water Swimming Man of the Year, and he talks about the honor on today's edition of The Morning Swim Show.

Patrick, known in swimming circles for his extreme swims, including a 111-mile trek down the Sacramento River, talks about his latest effort, an attempt to circumvent Lake Tahoe this summer. Though the swim was not successful in that he did not finish, Patrick said he learned a lot from the experience, and looks forward to another attempt in the future. Patrick has not done a solo swim in the English Channel, one of the more popular open water swimming sites, but he says an appearance on the shores of England could be in the cards in the near future. Be sure to visit SwimmingWorld.TV for more video interviews.

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Morning Swim Show Transcripts
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Jeff Commings: This is the Morning Swim Show for Monday, October, 1st, 2012. I am your host Jeff Commings. In the FINIS Monitor today we have Jamie Patrick who was just awarded the World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year Award. Jamie joins us right now from Lafayette, California. Hi Jamie, good to see you again, how are you?

Jamie Patrick: Good, thanks for having me.

Jeff: Always a pleasure to have you on. Congratulations on what is probably the biggest award in Open Water swimming.

Jamie: Yeah, you know it was quite an honor. You know, it is nice to have a lot of Facebook friends, as it is a popular vote, but yeah it was quite an honor, you know this last weekend to be down at the Global Open Water Swim Conference and to meet such amazing people that I have you know read about throughout the years and to receive the award was truly an honor.

Jeff: Yeah, 2012 has been an amazing year for open water swimming not just you know not just Ous Mellouli winning the Olympics for his first open water gold medal, but you know Diana Nyad is trying once again to swim from Cuba to Florida and then you know getting your hat in the ring with your Lake Tahoe 360 which we will talk about in a second. I mean what a great company in this most if you like to be a part of.

Jamie: Well you know I mean I don't consider myself with Diana and all those in their class, but you know I truly believe that you know open water swimming world is growing so fast and people are going further and farther and it is you know you look at you know Trent who just broke the English Channel record crossing to you know Evan Morrison breaking Santa Barbara Island record. It is just it is truly amazing what people are doing these days and you know I got to spend a good amount of time with Diana one-on-one which was quite amazing listening to her. She is not only she is truly an amazing swimmer but she is really a cool pool person as well.

Jeff: Well you have to be able to have the tenacity to want to make that swim you know 30 years apart.

Jamie: Yeah.

Jeff: Just to kind of get your thoughts. Obviously you have been in this Marathon Open water swimming thing for awhile and so has Diana and all that, but why do you think it has been so popular these past few years. Is it because it is becoming an Olympic sport that it is getting this exposure worldwide?

Jamie: Yeah, I think a little bit. I think that you know I think as a society people are you know looking for other avenues to test themselves. I think Olympics did play a big part in it. You know the coverage for the Olympics especially on the swimming side is you know truly remarkable, but I also feel like you know I remember when I started doing Ironman's Triathlons you know 20 years ago it wasn't very popular and now it has become you know there is so many thousands of people doing Ironman's. The people are looking for other things. You know and especially in California and areas where people grew up swimming. They are kind of going back to their roots and testing themselves. It is really exciting. I mean literally, you know every week during the summer months. There could be, you know 30 to 40 major Marathon swims going on at a time and it is really cool to see.

Jeff: Well speaking of testing oneself, you attempted to swim around the circumference of Lake Tahoe which I understand was about 68 miles. You didn't get to complete it this year. How far did you make it?

Jamie: I got about 30 miles in. We had to pull the plug about 14 hours after the start of the swim. You know we had forecast to be some rough conditions for about 3 or 4 hours, but unfortunately the wind picked up on Lake Tahoe probably 2 hours after my start of my swim and you know I thought people don't think of Lake Tahoe as being rough but we have, you know we had you know between 5 and 7 foot swells that were consistent. We had 20 to 25 knot winds. I had kayak. My kayak supporters flipping over and boats getting flooded and crew getting sick and it was time to pull the plug. You know I have been training and planning for it for a year so it is quite a — it was a bummer to have to stop, but you know you got to be smart in these things and it was the right decision. You know I was just getting going at 14 hours. You know I had a lot left in me but I probably put in 20 hours of work and 14 hours fighting the head wind and the swells and shock.

Jeff: So since this was a Mother Nature thing that kept you from finishing and not a physical thing, is it safe to say that you are going to try this again sometime in the future?

Jamie: Absolutely. I am actually you know I am the kind of person that can't, I can't go down to the pool for, you know to keep in shape. I have got to have something that I am you know visualizing and dreaming about on swimming and so yeah, I am going to. I am going to attempt the Tahoe 360 again next summer and I am going to give myself more of a window to start the swim so if we do have some stuff on the horizon that I can postpone it a little bit so yeah I am definitely going to go back. You know the swim is probably a 36 hour to 40 hour swim in the right conditions and I felt I was really ready for it. I have done you know my longest week was about 115,000 yards. I did four 12 hour overnight swims where I started 6 p.m. and swim through the night till 6 a.m. so I was ready for the swim. It is just is unfortunate that you know Mother Nature took over.

Jeff: What is it like for you to train for these kind of things especially knowing that you are doing all these yardage and I would imagine you are doing them pretty much by yourself?

Jamie: Yeah, you know it is interesting. I do do a lot by myself. I do have a couple of training partners, long distance Marathon swimmers and you know people that will you know come down and swim an hour or two with me, you know a 5 hour swim so I do have some, but a lot of it is on my own. It is you know to be honest with you I couldn't do it without my FINIS SwiMP3 at least the beginning of the season. I wean myself off it as I get closer to my swim so I am not relying on that extra stimulation but you know I am a big user of the SwiMP3 because you know it is hard to follow that black line for an hour but to follow it for you know 6 to 8 hours sometimes is quite boring.

Jeff: Yeah, your mind probably turns to mush after about the third hour if you don't have something stimulating. Well something that I was looking at in your history of swimming, and correct me if I am wrong here, you talked early about Trent Grimsey making the swim in the English Channel. Have you ever done the English Channel?

Jamie: I did the English Channel as a relay back in 96. I have not done the English Channel solo. I would like to go back sometime and do the Channel. You know I did do one Channel this summer in and it is kind of a training swim with a couple of other marathon swimmers so we did the Strait of Gibraltar from Spain to Africa which was amazing, but no, I have not done a solo crossing of the English Channel yet

.Jeff: Yeah, you know there is nobody who has done the English Channel crossing 4 times. I think you know if you are looking for some extreme kind of swim I think you know being the first person to cross it 4 times would be probably a good goal to have.

Jamie: Yeah, it is. That would be a tough — you know the thing about that swim is that you know the tides and currents are you know to do a double cross, even a double crossing is quite difficult and just because of the tides and current and water temperature and sea conditions, but yeah I mean there are some great swimming, there are some greats that sort of come out of English Channel and I don't know if you saw the GPS path of Trent's but you know with his speed it is pretty much a straight line across the Channel. It was pretty amazing.

Jeff: Yeah, that is one of those swims you — just like Lake Tahoe you are just, you are at the mercy of the elements and I think you just kind of have one of those perfect days.

Jamie: Yeah it is – you got to have a little luck on your side.

Jeff: One final question before we go, like you said you have been part of this kind of ultra Marathon swimming thing for many years. What is the motivation every year, not only for the swims that you don't complete but for the swims that you do complete?

Jamie: You know there is, you know that is a good question that is asked by almost everybody you know, “Why do you do this?” You know, I think you know, there is a couple of reasons. One, you know I do believe that you know it makes me a better person. You know putting yourself in situations that are not comfortable, planning and doing things that is at the beginning you don't seem. It doesn't seem possible is why I do these things. You know I grow on every swim. You know you will talk to every swimmer that you know if they don't swim during the morning or morning workout they don't function as well at work. You know I feel like doing these things planning and preparing, creating and ultimately accomplishing them you know makes me a better person in my everyday life so you know it scares my wife a little bit because you know it has been you know I have gone from doing regular triathlons to Iron Man's to Triple Ironman's to 10K swims to you know 40 mile swims to 60 mile swims that you know it is. But you know, I haven't – I know what I can do, I just don't know what I can't do yet and I am not on a death wish, but you know I want to continue to push to see how far I can go, and it is not always about reaching the other side, either it is you know just like I learn more in my Tahoe swim of not finishing than I did on all my other swims when I finished.

Jeff: Yeah, I think that is kind of a lot of swimmers say whether they are pool or open water swimmers. They learn more from their failures than they do their successes.

Jamie: That is right.

Jeff: Well Jamie, no matter what the Tahoe 360 swim you are definitely keeping the prospects of future open water swimmers alive and congratulations on your award and obviously a great honor for you.

Jamie: I appreciate it. Thank you very much for having me.

Jeff: All right talk to you down the road.

Jamie: Thanks.

Jeff: All right so that is Jamie Patrick talking to us about his open water swimmer of the year award and his Lake Tahoe swim and that is going to do it for today's Morning Swim Show. Be sure to join us on Facebook and Twitter to join in the conversation. I am Jeff Commings. Thanks for watching.

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