6 Colin’s Hope Swimmer Necessities

The Colin’s Hope Got2Swim Lake Austin 10K is this Thursday, September 3rd. Many swimmers have been putting in hours of open water swim training to prepare for the swim and shed light on drowning prevention.

Barrett will be swimming the 10K solo and I will be his swim guardian. We have a new addition to our swim team this year–NeeMoo! We picked him up in Boulder, CO while at Sweet Cow Ice Cream. It can get a little lonely on the water, so NeeMoo will keep me company on this year’s swim.IMG_3581

The swim is also a fundraiser for Colin’s Hope. Donations to Colin’s Hope will help raise water safety awareness and fund programs to aid in preventing children from drowning. Our fundraising goal is $1500 and we are almost there!  Donate Now!

6 Colin’s Hope Swimmer Necessities:

  1. Swim Guardian. I’ll be Barrett’s Swim Guardian this year–keeping him safe in the open water and providing food/hydration along the way.
  2. Team Mascot. Meet NeeMoo! He’s the cute little blue cow on the right. In addition to added company on the kayak, he’s also an additional flotation device!
  3. SaferSwimmer. Every swimmer must wear a SaferSwimmer which is also referred to as the “orange float-y thing-y.” They help the swimmers to be more visible on the water and provide flotation for the swimmer if needed.
    SaferSwimmer Floatation Device for open water swimming
  4. Fearless Leader. Meet Alissa Magrum, the Executive Director of Colin’s Hope. She’s is Colin’s Hope all the time and has enough energy to power everyone during their swim!
  5. Swimming Friends. Training for a 10K (6.2mile) swim can become tedious and sometimes even boring without the help of others to keep you company and swim alongside. Thanks to Colin’s Hope for organizing open water swims and providing swim support!

  6. Most Importantly–A Swimmer!! Barrett (aka: My little fishy) One stroke at a time, and lots of banter between strokes– Barrett will keep me and NeeMoo (and anyone within earshot) company while he swims.


Meet Nee-Moo

We took a trip to Colorado this summer and while we were visiting our friends in Breckenridge, we stopped into Sweet Cow ice cream shop because the sign said, “Simply Moolicious”– and it was. In addition to tasty ice cream, the decor includes these cute little “bouncy cows” on shelves in neat little rows. After our second visit to the store, we decided to purchase one and bring him home with us.


Meet Nee-Moo (you know, like “Nemo” from the Disney movie, Finding Nemo). He will accompany us on this year’s Colin’s Hope Got2Swim 10K and will need to be sure to train so that he is ready to help me keep Barrett (and the other swimmers) safe during this year’s swim. Nee-Moo will be on the kayak during our practice swims practicing his “spotting” techniques and learning how to hold the paddle when I need a break to feed Barrett.

I sense there will be many adventures in addition to his kayaking trips so we created an Instagram under SeeNeeMoo. You’ll be able to keep an eye on what he’s up to when he’s hanging out with us.

First Swim Training Session

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Second Swim Training Session

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Post Swim Coffee


Gotta’ Eat and Swim

B colin's hope van 360 bridge

Richelle: What’s the plan for tomorrow? How far are we going?
Barrett: 2 maybe 3 . . .
Richelle: And then this weekend? How far are we going?
Barrett: Shooting for 5.

When talking about Colin’s Hope swim training, the above conversation is the norm. I know that 2, 3, or 5 translates to 2 miles, 3 miles, or 5 miles of swimming. The distance dictates what is loaded onto the kayak for the swim. Water and electrolyte mix have sufficed since training swims have been 4 miles or shorter, but this weekend, the training swim is going to be 5 miles. Out of curiosity, I searched for a “calories burned while swimming” calculator. I entered Barrett’s info, clicked the “calculate” button, and voila! Barrett will burn approximately 2560 calories during the 11K Colin’s Hope Got2Swim event.

That is the equivalent of 49 doughnut holes and Barrett loves doughnut holes!! I don’t know how feasible it would be to stockpile doughnut holes on the kayak and I am pretty sure those tasty little doughnut holes would disintegrate in Lake Austin. Instead, we’ll be testing a combination of water, electrolytes, and some form of calories. There are many options thanks to the booming energy bar and gel industry. We can also keep it simple and just pack some snickers bars or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Figuring out nutrition is an important part of training and if done right it can also be fun!

Colin’s Hope is hosting a practice swim, Sunday morning at 9 AM at Pure Austin Quarry Lake. Barrett is going to swim 5 miles for practice. He’ll be in the water for about 2.5 hours. The kayak will be packed with a myriad of calories so we know what works and what doesn’t work. The swim guardian will be burning calories too, just not at the same speed as the swimmer. Stay tuned for a follow-up on the swim!!!

Thank you to all those who have donated to Colin’s Hope Charity. Barrett is over halfway to reaching his goal of raising $1000 for Colin’s Hope. Please visit Barrett’s fundraising page if you would like to donate.

Just keep swimming . . .


Fat Salmon

fatsalmon_logo_250x133There are 35 days until the Colin’s Hope Got2Swim 11K. Barrett’s training has been consistent with swims weekly in Lake Austin, with T3, and at Pure Austin Quarry Lake. Barrett’s longest practice swim to date was a 4 mile swim in Pure Austin Quarry Lake during a Colin’s Hope training swim at the beginning of July. This past weekend, Barrett participated in the Fat Salmon swim in Seattle’s Lake Washington for the second year. The Fat Salmon Open Water Swim is a 3.2 mile swim that is limited to 350 swimmers.

Fat Salmon Start_kayaksFat Salmon proved to be a great practice swim for Barrett. The overcast and breezy morning provided a swim course with choppy water. The locals were even caught off-guard by the morning’s water conditions. The waters seemed to calm down as the race started. The swimmers enjoyed smooth waters for about a mile and a half. The last mile and half or so the waters felt more like a washing machine than a lake swim.

Despite the bumpy second hal2014FatSamonFinishf of the swim, Barrett finished the swim in 1 hour and 25 minutes, which was 6 minutes faster than last year’s swim. This race was a good benchmark for us to see where he was in his training. Considering Barrett did the swim in a wetsuit last year (which can help swimmers swim more efficient and faster), he opted not to swim in one this year and still finished faster, I would say we are right on track for the August 28th Colin’s Hope Got2Swim 11K.

With just over a month until the swim, Barrett has a couple more long swims on his training schedule. Since he will most likely be in the water for 3+ hours, we’ll be working on details such as nutrition, sun protection, and keeping Barrett entertained. I am fully prepared to use my paddle as a prod to keep him swimming forward. We are definitely enjoying the time together during the training swims! Barrett keeps saying, “11k! 6.8 miles! That’s a long way!” I always respond, “You’ll be find, just keep training.”

Thank you to all those who have donated to Colin’s Hope Charity. Barrett has reached the halfway point of his $1000 fundraising goal. Please visit Barrett’s fundraising page if you would like to participate.


Fat Salmon Pre-Start



Have you ever asked yourself, “What are those orange floaty things in the pictures posted of Barrett swimming?” Do not worry, he and the other swimmers are not being stalked by the mysterious Lake Austin Orange Floaty creature. These orange floaty things are called SaferSwimmers. SaferSwimmers

Participants training for the 2014 Colin’s Hope Got2Swim Lake Austin 11k are spending many hours training in the pool and in open water. One way to safely open water swim is to wear a brightly colored swim cap in order to be seen by on-coming swimmeSaferSwimmer Floatation Devicers and boaters. In addition to wearing a swim cap, swimmers also wear the SaferSwimmer.

The SaferSwimmer is a floaty that attaches to the swimmer and floats behind the swimmer while swimming. Not only does the SaferSwimmer provide better visibility for the swimmer while on the lake, but it can also be used as a floatation device in case the swimmer experiences cramps, dizziness, injury, or even to help another swimmer in distress. The SaferSwimmer also provides a waterproof pocket to hold personal items.

Barrett and many of the other individuals he swims with in the lake have many years of open water swimming and racing under their belts, but each of them have taken to the SaferSwimmer quite nicely. At first they thought having a floaty attached would be annoying, but each of them have said they barely even notice it while swimming. Since most of their swims in Lake Austin are out and back swims, the SaferSwimmer provides a way to stop and comfortably wait for the rest of the group at the turn-around.  IMG_1641

Each swimmer that participates in the 2014 Colin’s Hope Got2Swim Lake Austin 11k will be wearing a SaferSwimmer, swim cap, and have their swim guardian along side them in a kayak or SUP.  While participants were given the option to purchase a SaferSwimmer when registering, SaferSwimmers are also available for purchase but others. If you’d like a Colin’s Hope Logo’d SaferSwimmer, contact the organization directly. You can also find the SaferSwimmer on websites such as Keifer.com or SaferSwimmer.

Next time you drive over the Pennybacker Bridge or happen to be at the Pure Austin Quarry Lake, take a quick peek and see if you see a SaferSwimmer. Mostly likely, the swimmer attached to the SaferSwimmer is getting ready for the Colin’s Hope Got2Swim Lake Austin even on August 28th.

Barrett and I are getting closer to our fundraising goal of $1000. Every dollar counts! Visit Barrett’s fundraising page to donate.  Thank you to those who have already donated!

Barrett SaferSwimmer