Swimming in the Great Salt Lake

I may be crazy for trying to swim a marathon at age 50.  But at least I’m doing it in a swimming pool.  Check out where these folks are swimming a marathon — the Great Salt Lake in Utah.  Now that is crazy!!

Salt, Flies, Pickled Tongues: A Perfect Great Salt Lake Swim


“Fun” means weekly swims of 400 yards to 6 miles in the Great Salt Lake, in fall, winter and spring. There’s plenty of room — 1,700 square miles — and plenty of salt. The lake is five times saltier than some ocean water, which adds unique challenges.

First, there’s the taste of the lake. Gordon Gridley, a software developer, swam the English Channel last summer, so his taste buds can compare.

“The Great Salt Lake was like swallowing a battery,” Gridley says, “whereas swimming in the ocean was like a glass of lemonade.” He warns newcomers about swallowing lake water. “You could end up throwing your guts up.”

So swimmers learn to keep their mouths closed as much as possible and to breathe out through their nostrils. That helps with another nuisance, especially in summer, when brine flies swarm in clouds on the surface of the water.

“They’ll fly right in your mouth and sometimes right down into your lungs and then you’re coughing up not water but brine flies,” Gridley says. Most simply forsake the lake in the summer when the brine flies are thickest.

Day 7 Swim Report

Number of laps: 40
Time: 65 minutes
Pace: A bit slow

I had a really hard time motivating myself to get to the pool today.  I played on Facebook and Twitter for two hours after work before forcing myself to go because the pool would be closing if I didn’t.  My reward was a nice quiet swim, a stint in the hottub, and a peanut butter banana smoothie.  Not bad for a Friday night.


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