Great Plans For The Great Lake Swim

Great Plans For The Great Lake Swim

Jamie Patrick is quietly, patiently and diligently training for his unprecedented solo swim across Lake Michigan where he plans to swim 50% further than the legendary 60-mile professional marathon race between Abdul Latif Abou Heif and Ted Erikson in 1963.

His goal: a 90-mile (144.8 km) solo crossing of Lake Michigan called the Great Lake Swim in August.

As he continues his detailed planning, he is considering a number of parameters that will dictate his course:

Water temperature, air temperature, wind speed, wind direction, current direction and speed, and wave height and direction.

We called and asked him where he was in his training and where he is currently headed:

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: How do you plan your course?
Jamie Patrick: The goal is to look at the past 8 years to determine the optimal 5-day window in August and to model the route to optimize Mother Nature. I also hope this also helps develop a start time for the swim based on the information we find. An ideal situation is a slight north wind with currents coming out of the north as well.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Will you stick to your feeding plans used in your previous marathon swims? Anything new on the nutritional front?
Jamie Patrick: My feeding plan will remain largely the same. I am a firm believer in keeping process foods out of my swim diet. I rely on a modified – old school – ultra running diet. Unlike most long distance swimmers I follow a diet that consists of mostly solid foods. I have three goals with my nutrition plan. The first is to maintain a predesigned carb, protein, and electrolyte plan. The second is to avoid insulin spikes which will cause the body to chill. And third is maintain 400 calories an hour. The one thing I am changing is most of my food and drink will be heated, including my solids.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What is your kayaker or paddler rotation plan?
Jamie Patrick: I am a firm believer in kayakers and support swimmers. For my swim I will allow kayakers and support swimmers at all times. Of course, both must not provide any draft. For me, having a kayaker next to me not only provides the safety aspect, but more importantly the mental support. Having a crew member there to help me through the tough times is truly a life line for me. Kayakers will rotate on a 2-hour basis.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Will you use pace swimmers?
Jamie Patrick: Yes I will have support swimmers. I refer to them as support swimmers as I will not pace off them. In reality, they are there for moral support and must swim at my pace. Lexie Kelly will be one of my support swimmers.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Are there any marine life that you have to worry about?
Jamie Patrick: There is no marine life that I am worried about. Part of the reason I am primarily a lake swimmer is to remove that element from the equation.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What kind of skin ointments will you use? Will you re-grease yourself doing the swim?
Jamie Patrick: I use a mix of Vaseline, K-Y jelly, and sunblock. I will re-grease myself. We have a process of using a sandwich bag full of the grease. A crew member will hand it to me. Once I have it I turn it inside out and apply it that way. This helps avoid getting it on my hands.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Are you training any differently for this swim than your previous swims?
Jamie Patrick: I am training differently. For the Great Lake Swim, I am not going big every day. From Tuesday to Friday, I will be going lighter. Saturdays, I will be going big, building week after week. For example, last weekend I swam 9.5 miles on Saturday. Next Saturday, I will go 10.5. Each Saturday increasing the long swim. Sundays, I will do have the distance I did on Saturday. Mondays are off. I do have a few weeks that will be different. For example, I have a three-day training where I will be doing 7 hours each day.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: How did you find your escort pilots?
Jamie Patrick: I currently have one escort pilot confirmed. This is my dad. He is the most experienced captain I know. He has sailed around the world and is the most knowledge sailor and navigator I have every met. Last year he sailed his boat up the East Coast into the Great Lakes, then down the Mississippi River, back through Panama Canal to San Francisco. We are in the process of interviewing another pilot.

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