Effective training for open water swimming races
I first used Strictly Swimming to help with technique for triathlons but I enjoyed it so much I’m still swimming with them three years on!
I’ve taken 4 minutes off my open water 1500m time and about 9 minutes off my 3km time. My next goal is a 5km race, and I’m still learning new things all the time.
Before starting lessons I was comfortable in the water but hadn’t had a swimming lesson since primary school, so in many ways it felt like starting from scratch. Our original intermediate group is now the advanced group and comfortably doing tough 2.5km training session of mixed exercises in our weekly squad.
One of the most useful things about the sessions has been learning how to train effectively. It’s not about endless laps up and down the pool, it’s about mixing up drills, exercises, stamina and speed work to make training interesting.
As well as improving my freestyle technique and times the highlight has been learning to swim butterfly. When I told Paul I had always wanted to learn he put together a 6-week introductory course and found a group of people to share it with. Three of us carried on learning and swam together for about a year. I’m now a competent butterfly swimmer which has had a huge impact on my strength in the water and also on my running fitness which I didn’t expect.
I now swim in around 4-5 races a season, the highlight of which was last year’s Liberty Island swim in Manhattan, and a third placing this year in the Littlehampton Water Festival 2013. Next on the list is a 5km swim, the Alcatraz race in San Francisco, and the Asia to Europe race across the Bosphorus in Istanbul.
I’ve definitely become a bit of a swimming addict.