Open Water Swimmer
Taking on the Challenges
Mark Woodbury comes to swimming later in lifeand has continued to take on challenges into his early 60’s. During his student years at Dixie High School and into early adulthood, asthma provided a physical challenge that precluded many physical activities including swimming. As asthma treatment improved, Markwas able to add new activities to his life. He started swimming at the local pool in St. George, swimming almost daily as he juggled working and family obligations. Local masters coach Lynne Lund encouraged Mark to participate in her USMS technique group. Soon he was swimming well enough to take up the 1-Hour-Postal fitness swim, which is to swim as many laps as possible in 1 hour. Mark completed the hour using his favorite stroke at the time, backstroke. The next year he completed the 1-Hour swim in freestyle and finished thinking that he could do more. As his next challenge, Mark learnedhow to do breaststroke and butterfly. By now Mark was over 50 and decided to enter the Huntsman Senior Games as his first swim competition in 2009.
In 2010 he took on a different kind of challenge, enrolling at Dixie State University to complete his college degree. In late 2016, as he approached graduation, he sent out an email to St. George Swimmers to recruit a group to do the legendary Swim from Alcatraz. This is a challenging 2.2 mile course in strong currents and frigid waters of the San Francisco Bay. To prepare for the swim Mark completed several swims in the local Sand Hollow reservoir in 60 degree water temperatures. He did successfully complete the Swim from Alcatraz in summer 2017 even though he failed to convince any of his fellow local swimmers to join him. Previous to his success in California he completed the Great Salt Lake Swim 1 mile distance in June of 2017. This was his first step in completing the Utah Mini Triple Crown which consists of three, 1-mile events, (Great Salt Lake, Bear Lake, & Deer Creek) completed in a single year.
In 2018, Mark decided to take the challenge to complete the Utah Triple Crown which requires swimming the 10K at the Great Salt Lake, 10K at Bear Lake, and 10 mile swim at Deer Creek within the same year. First up the 10K at Great Salt Lake did not go as planned…his support paddler got seasick and so Mark stopped before finishing. He did swim the Bear Lake and Deer Creek successfully. On his second try at the 10K Great Salt Lake he
(and his paddler) were able to finish qualifying him for the Triple Crown. Now Mark is in search of the next challenge for 2019 and beyond.