Its not news that I love the idea of consecutive stages, so I was very excited to learn from the forum’s very own PWB that an Arizona swimmer, Kent Nicholas, was putting together a 4 lake multi day event just a short distance from Phoenix. Kent successfully crossed the Catalina Channel last year and will be coming east a couple of times this season to tackle MIMS and Kingdom.

The series is S.C.A.R. and the four lakes are Saguaro, Canyon, Apache, and Roosevelt.
Today we swam Saguaro dam to dam… perhaps 9 miles. Tomorrow we swim Canyon.

A small group of swimmers (8), we met up with each other, our in-water support (boats and kayakers) and ground support (vehicle jugglers) at 5:00 AM. The warm up would be a challenging hike down a rugged trail with kayaks, and our gear in flip-flops (yes, we were warned that more substantial footwear would be a good idea).

The juxtaposition of extreme desert flora surrounding abrasive rocks with the cool water (65 degrees at the start) creates a dramatic landscape, though not entirely natural. This series of lakes are actually dammed sections of the Salt River.

We had to swim east for about 500 yards to touch the buoy line to start. Once there, we formed our little tri-pods (heh heh…) of 2 swimmers and 1 kayaker.

Young Greyhound Pod
Gordon Smith
Shauna Nelson
James Sieffert

Wise Greyhound Pod
Kurt Dickson
Patrick Brundage
Wayne Rich

Skyscraper Pod
David Barra
Janet Harris
Jason Walters

Westwood Warrior Pod
Meg Rich- Z
Kent Nicholas
Candy Nicholas

Rover Kayaker:
Scott Mara

Some adjustments were made with kayaker assignments and we were off… start time about 7:30.

I liked the sound of “skyscraper pod”, even though the tallest building in the nearest town to my High Falls residence is only 6 stories.

The banks of the river/lake are lined with sage and saguaro cacti that alternate between open areas and tall canyon walls rising straight out of the water. The rugged beauty of this lake is breathtaking, and I was at times distracted… wanting to focus my attention on one feature or another. Still, Janet and I podded well together, stopping briefly every 30 minutes for a feed.

The Greyhounds (both young and wise) didn’t disappoint, and were out of our sight after about an hour. I don’t know about the young’uns, but for the Wise Pod; this was their longest OW swim ever, by a fair amount. I feel honored to have been able to share the lake with these USMS Stars for this occasion!

…..Canyon tomorrow!