Tuesday, April 14, 2009

New total!

As of April 14, 2009, Tony's marathon swim raised $10,006.53!

A big thank you to everyone that donated to the Orphans' Fund because of Tony's swim.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Shutting down & packing up

It's been a long day (well, longer for Tony), but it's time to pack up and say good night!

The finish

Tony finishing his marathon swim!

He's done!

After an awful four hours he actually made up all that time and finished five minutes ahead of his plan at 17:00:54.

I do have some pix I'll post later.

150 to go!!!

No pictures, no time. He's not swimming alone - Andrea is still pacing him.

400 to go

The plan is that Tony will swim the last 200 m alone. I'll try to take a pic.

550 m to go

I can barely contain myself!

700 m to go!

Dave Lyons in the foreground, Tony in the back left, being paced by Andrea on the right.

900 m to go

Ron Adams says he can smell the barn. He's smoking.

1200 m to go!

He hit 41 km in 16:33 - he did the km in 19 minutes! He's barely paused before launching on his last full kilometre. I'm now extrapolating .... 10:04 p.m.!!!

40 km!!!

(Tony, behind, being paced by Andrea in yellow cap in front.)

In 15 hours 22 minutes. I'm continuing to extrapolate a time around 10:15 p.m. - less than an hour from now!

9 p.m. PDT

Tony's still taking his 39.5-km break. He's only 500 m down from his original plan.

UPDATE: Tony's eating, and Dave is going to join him for the last 2.7 km.

The crowds gather (II)

A very bad picture of the crowd at the other end of the pool. Tony has a lot of friends.

The crowds gather (I)

This is the crowd around the lap counters at the north end of the 25-m lane pool.

39 km

Hit it in 15:44. He's been bringing in a lot of time. I'm now extrapolating a finish at 10:15 p.m.

Quick update

A very short break and he's off on km 39.

38 km

After a long break, he swam the 1 km in one go, finishing at 15:22. He's done 90% of the distance, and has 4.2 km left. I'm extrapolating a finish at 10:34 p.m. His stroke looks good (see video in previous post), he only had half a cookie between km 37 and 38. Rhonda says he's swimming on guts because he has nothing else in him.

The first length of km 38

You can see that his stroke is much better than 4 km ago.

UPDATE: In response to a question, yes, Tony is in lane 2, and he's drafting. He's been drafting most of the day.

8 p.m. PDT

Tony's taking a longish break, so he's still at 37 km. He's 1 km down on his original plan.

37 km!

In 14:48. He's moving along. There's some thought (well, Dave thinks) that Tony may swim better doing 8:xx 500s. He's also taking 15 seconds' rest between 250s.

Anyway, he's now 88% in, and has only 5.2 km to go. I'm continuing to extrapolate a finish at 10:30 p.m.

36 km

For whatever cause, Tony is now a rocket. He finished km 36 in 21 min total. His stroke count has dropped to 17. He took barely 90 seconds' break, and he's into km 37. 6.2 km to go!

Tony in km 34

Tony being "dragged" by Daryl.

34 & 35 km

Sorry for the delay - been an eventful hour.

Tony hit 35 km at 13:22, and I extrapolated a 10:20 p.m. finish. But he started drinking defizzed Coke, and seemed to be doing better. He went to the washroom twice, and had a hit of oxygen, and began negotiating - not a bad thing here. If he swims 1 km/h he can finish ...

Anyway, at 7 p.m. PDT he was at 35.9 km, only 1oo m down. He hit 36 km at 14:01, so I'm now extrapolating 17:51. Right or wrong, I detect a change in his attitude. I didn't capture it with the camera, but we saw the old Tony grin, and he even had a "groupie" come up to him. :-)

We all applauded as he struck out again. And after a very brief break, he's swimming again.

Tony's back in the water

Tony threw up - probably a good thing - declined a hit of oxygen from the staff, and is back in the water after nearly 20 minutes between 500s. He's asked for Pringles and chicken broth, though, which is probably on the right path to getting some food into him.

The probably means no more day-old Wendy's chicken fingers, which is surely a good thing.

Tony now needs to dig deep into his suitcase of courage. He has four hours of suffering, mental & physical, ahead of him.

6 p.m., 13 hours in

Tony's on his 33.5-km break. He's definitely feeling low. At 33.25 km he stopped and I wondered if he was going to quit. When I passed on Lee C.'s message he was a bit snarly (well, for Tony).

Anna said Rhonda should tell him he's at the Bear - an in-joke re IM Canada.

In terms of adherence to plan, he's right on schedule now.

33 km

In 12 h 45 min. He's done 78% of the distance, and has 9.2 km to go.

Extrapolating the last 5 km predicts a finish at 9:54 p.m.

More on Tony's diet

Tony hasn't been eating the PowerBar Blasts he loves for a few hours. Rhonda's concerned, quite rightly, that he's not eating enough, and that's behind his low spirits.

A poll! Should Tony do the vacuuming?

I'll admit that I don't know how to set up blog polls, so I'll have to ask you post a comment or send me an e-mail.

The background is that Tony does the vacuuming on Saturdays.

The question is: Does swimming a marathon today excuse Tony from vacuuming tomorrow?

Tony's diet

Someone asked what he's eating. Mostly, he's drinking Gatorade and eating, gulp, Wendy's chicken fingers from the night before (as shown in the picture).

I forgot to note that at 32 km he was still 12 minutes ahead of schedule. He'd done 76% of the total distance.

32 km! 20 miles! 3/4 of the way!

(Tony with "his" towel.)

Tony hit 32 km at 12:12 (5:13 p.m. PDT). Pretty amazing to be swimming for over 12 hours. I had the BlackBerry video camera going, but when Rhonda asked if he wanted to know how far he'd gone, he said No. He doesn't want to know how far he's gone until he's done.

He now has "only" 12.2 km to go. Rhonda is thinking he can do 2 km/h, so that'll have him finish about 10:30 p.m., about 26 minutes later than his plan.

I'll admit he's looking a bit dispirited to me, or perhaps a bit angry. But he's pushing on. An interesting point his brother Dave made was that he'll soon be in Ironman territory. At 17:30 total time he'll have spent far longer swimming than he's ever done anything endurance-wise.

He's still being escorted by the Hyack teenagers.

5 p.m. PDT

(Tony's friend Barb & SO Rhonda)

Tony was at 31.4 km at 5 p.m. That puts him 400 m ahead of plan; I now predict that he'll open up a gap now. He's swimming slightly more than 2500 m/h, and if he can get his digestive issues under control he'll be, er, swimming. :-s

Who doesn't love a good bit of spreadsheet work?

Rob Beuthling did this up:




31 km

(Tony's aunt Hilda and uncle Darryl.)

In 11:50 - 10 minutes ahead of his schedule. As I expected, he's converging on his plan. He's done 73% now, and has only 11.2 km left!

What's going on

Tony took a 13- or 14-minute break after 30 km, trying to get things going in washroom, but he's still hitting slightly over 9 minutes for every 500, so that puts him pretty much on track or slightly ahead of sched.

I was asked about his rash - it does look bad, but hasn't looked worse in a few hours. He's covering both it and his left cheek with BodyGlide frequently.

Finally, I was asked about why I was here. Well, it's because Tony has been awfully helpful and gracious to me in my Ironman quest, and two or three months ago he was in a bit of a low spot about this marathon swim & I decided my best "donation" (as well as a money donation I had made) would be to come out from Toronto and help. So I flew out yesterday, I'm staying in a local hotel, and I'll fly back late tomorrow morning. (I'm already close to my Toronto bed time; I won't be as tired as Tony, but I'll be beat tomorrow!) Thanks for asking!

Tony's coming up to 30.5 km. I can't express how exciting this is.

30 km!

Big milestone - 11 hours and 21 minutes. He's now "only" 19 minutes ahead of schedule.

71% done, 12.2 km to go.

Media alert

You should be able to catch another brief item on CKNW, AM 980, cknw.com, "about" 4:30 p.m. PDT.

4 p.m. PDT

(Tony's brother Dave, Dave's wife Andrea, & Tony & Dave's mother Anna)

Tony hit 29 km at 10:58, and took his break, so that's where he was at 4 p.m. His swimming is still steady, but he's having some problems emptying in the bathroom, so he's "lost" a bit of time there. Still looking good. He's done 69% of the distance; 13.2 km left.

He's 23 minutes & 1 km ahead of his plan. Because he planned his last "hard" hour (3 km) for 4 p.m. I expect he'll converge back on his original plan. Rhonda & Anna, who know him better than me, are still confident in his doing the whole thing.

More family!

Tony's grandparents, the Akkermans, have just arrived.

Two thirds

(Tony being accompanied by the Hyack girls.)

Tony hit 28 km in 10:30, so a half-hour ahead of schedule. He's done 66% of the distance, and has 14.2 km left.

Friday's 5?

(Taken at the 27.5-km break, about 10:20 elapsed time.)


Tony's stroke & breath counts have not significantly changed since he started 10 hours ago: 19 or 20 strokes per 25, 7 to 9 breaths.

3 p.m. PDT

(Brandon Lyons missing the excitement, but working on his Winston Churchill impression.)

Tony hit 26.9 km at 3 p.m., about 1.4 km ahead of his schedule. Then at 10:00 elapsed time (a minute later), he hit 27 km, 36 minutes ahead of schedule. He's done 64% of the distance, and has 15.2 km to go.

Undiscovered country

Tony's just finished 26 km, 62% of the journey. He did it in 9:39, and has 16.2 km left. He's dropped a bit of time; he's now "only" 33 minutes ahead of schedule.

Rhonda says we're not going to update him until he hits 30 km. :-)

Why are we here?

Tony's swim is in aid of the CKNW Orphans' Fund. And you can donate here.

Tony just cleared 25 km. He's now 36 minutes ahead of schedule. He looks great, to be honest. We signal his last 25 for each 500, and when we did that, he yelled, "Well, it's about time!" He seems to be in great spirits.

He's 59% of the distance, and has 17.2 km to go.

The big test

(Pic of my blogging station. Triple tall caffe americano & Subway sandwich just arrived courtesy of Rhonda, Tony's SO.)

Tony's never swum more than 26 km in one session. (Ok, not sure "just" is appropriate. :-) Rhonda thinks the metres past 26,000 may be tough.

2 p.m.

Tony's covered 24.5 km. I know I go on about his plan, but this puts him 1500 m up on it.

24 km

In 8:50. That puts him 34 minutes up on his plan. Wow.

He's done 57% of the distance, and has 18.2 km left.

I feel privileged to be even a small part of this.

23 km

(Pic of Liz dragging Tony. Elizabeth is a paramedic who must be a good swimmer - she's making good time with a pullbuoy.)

Tony did 23 km in 8:27. By my calculations he's now 33 minutes up on his plan.

Atmosphere (II)

Did I mention the middle-aged table-tennis players that send their balls whizzing through our area? I've been hit a couple of times.

But it's not about me. :-)

1 p.m.

He's about 22.1 km at 1 p.m. That puts him a bit ahead of his official schedule.


We "celebrated" halfway at 21.5 km.

21 km

In 7:33. So about 7 min up on his published schedule, and 27 min ahead of his revised. Pretty good. Especially if Rhonda's right about a missed 150 m. Tony still looks good. We're going to celebrate halfway at his next 500-m rest (i.e., 21.5 km).

20 km

In 7:12. He's about 8 minutes ahead of schedule, but he's probably going to adjust his work in this hour and the next. His plan called for 3 km and then 1 km, but my reading of what he told me at the 20-km rest is that he'll be happy to do 4 km between the hours.

He's done 47% of the distance, and has 22.2 km left.

Noon - 7 hours in

Tony's done 19.5 km, putting him 500 m up on his schedule.

I had a question about his swimwear. He's wearing TYR shorts, as shown.

19 km

In 6:41 or so. He's now about 17 min up on his schedule.

He's done 45% of the distance, and has 23.2 km left.

The 11 a.m. crew

It's at the point where I'm not sure of everyone's name - but they're a happy-looking crew.

18 km

In 6:23. That puts him about 7 min ahead of schedule.

The only skin problem Tony has is on his left shoulder - his beard abrades his skin, so every couple of km he's treating it with BodyGlide. You can see the red spots in the pic. He took care to shave twice today at 3 a.m.

More volunteer swimmers

I count 5.

11 a.m.

Tony hit 17 km as the clock struck 11 (metaphorically). He's right on schedule, & sounding & looking better.

Someone asked about stroke count. We've been counting his 25-m count once every km, and he's been holding steady at 19 or 20.

Help for Tony

Jenn (using fins) sets up a nice drag for Tony.

A family of swimmers

Dale and her daughters Danica & Anne Lynne joined Tony for the back half of km 17.

more family

Tony's brother Dave (who looks like Tony) and his son Brandon (who also has the Lyons look).

How do we let Tony know it's time to rest?

This is the latest idea. Paul holds a pylon on a string to indicate that this is Tony's last 25 in the 500. That's Tony doing his open turn.


It's late morning in New Westminster. The Canada Games Pool is very busy, very noisy. The 50-m pool has been divided by a bulkhead. The southern end is divided into lanes for adult swimming. Most of the swimmers are quite adult - I feel young. :-)

One lane is Tony & his volunteer swimmers.

The northern 25 m is being used for easy water aerobics, being led by a loud, energetic young woman.

The east end is occupied by a large Nautilus training area. The far southern area has a kind of mezzanine with treadmills. They're all full (don't these people have jobs???), and they're looking out over the pool(s).

There's loud rock music.

Altogether, a 5-ring circus.

16 km

In 5:30 exactly, so he's caught up to his plan. 26.2 km to go.

For one brief shining moment

(about 500 m) the lifeguards permitted the lap counters on the bulkhead. They just got kicked off. L-r: Paul, Myra, Rhonda.

At 15.5 km

(Pic is of Jenn & Tony.)

Tony said he had been feeling sick, but was now better. He knows he's a little behind sched, but the next 2 hours are "slow", so we expect he'll easily catch up.


CKNW, at 980 kHz in Vancouver, will be doing a report on Tony at about 12:25 p.m. PDT. You should be able to listen live at cknw.com.

15 km

In 5:08. So about 8 min behind sched, tho' maybe not so much.

27.2 km to go.

What would you like to see or hear about?

I'm already out of ideas. Put your thoughts in the comments.

10 a.m. Pacific Time

Tony's done 14.5 km. Taking his usual 500-m break. Now about 500 m short of his plan - but there's some thought in the volunteer zone that some laps may have been missed.

One third of the way!

14,065 m, in 4:45.

You can still donate!

14 km

In 4:42!

Volunteers & family

Anna is holding Tony's brother Dave's son Brandon.

Tony from the bulkhead.

About 13,400 m in.

13 km!

In 4:11 or so.

Pic is of the volunteer lap counters from CKNW.

12.3 km at 9 a.m. local time

That's about 300 m up on his plan.

The pic is of the brothers Lyons, Dave in the lead.

12 km

... in 3:52. About 8 min up on his schedule, but there was a lot of distraction as the lifeguards reconfigured the pool.

Tony taking a break at 10.5 km ...

... while the bulkhead is moved to make 2 x 25-m pools. L-r: Sherry, Haley, Tony, Rhonda.

11 km done ...

... while I was uploading the video.

Gonna try to upload a video

Tony is closest to us. Sorry about the uncued table-tennis player looking for his ball.

One quarter done!

10,550 m in 3:16.

More volunteer swimmers: Sherry & Paul

Sherry and Paul pace Tony and keep him company.

Tony & Rhonda swimming together

(Sorry for the fuzziness. BlackBerry - what can you do?)

Tony taking his 10-km break

10 km!!!!!

In 2:59 - holding a kilometre ahead of plan.

9 km

At 7:41 a.m. local time, holding 19 minutes ahead of schedule.

Running to Starbucks

Today is all about Tony, but I need a coffee. ;-)

Tony swimmng w/volunteer swimmer Vance

7 km at 7 a.m.

That's a full kilometre ahead of schedule!

Tony in the news

A couple of days ago: "Marathon swim is all about helping kids."

Lyons chose the CKNW Orphans' Fund because it works with children. He also supports its policy that every dollar raised goes directly to the Fund.

"I use the same motto in my fundraising," he said. "I paid for everything in my training. I've paid for all my swim time, my coaching, my food, everything, and I think that's a good way to do it. And if someone gives me a dollar, it goes straight to the Orphans' Fund."

Tony & the Hyacks

Got permission from the coaches for this. Tony is in the foreground (duh!).

6 km!

In 1:41, now 19 min up on his plan.

Here's Tony taking a break just after 5 km.

5 km!

In 1:22.

Pic is of the Canada Games Pool itself.

Tony is swimming in the leftmost lane beyond the white bulkhead. We're along that same wall, at the 25-m point. The reason for this strange perspective is not to violate the rules about taking pix of the other swimmers.

Wanna donate?

The link is http://www.marathonswim.com/Donations.html.

Rhonda counting laps, Anna in background

4 km!

In 1:06.

Swimming with the Hyacks

Tony's volunteer swimmers this hour are tweens in the Hyack Swim Club. It's very cute seeing big Tony being matched by the slender Hyack swimmers. (I'm not posting pix because of the rules. You have to take my word for it. :-)

At 6 a.m. local time ...

... 3550 m, 550 up on his plan.

Pic is of (l-r) friend Paul, SO Rhonda, & mom Anna watching Tony swim his 71st 50-m lap.

3 km down!

In 50 flat. 10 min ahead of his schedule.

2 km done

In 31:40. He's ahead of schedule.

Pic of Tony's mom Anna, who's the lap counter for the first hour, and the chief setter-upper.

1 km done!!

In 17:30.

Before it began

Tony was pretty wound up this morning - here he is just seconds before he started.

On his 2nd 500!

Nice and easy.

Tony's off!

At 5:01 local time, Tony started his marathon swim in the Canada Games Pool. He's now in his 9th length. Pix in a few minutes.

Two hours to go!

I hope everyone is getting excited!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Come Back Please on March the 27th

Good day to you. Thank you for coming to take a look. Please come and take a look on March the 27th we hope to have up dates through out the day.