Interviews!

Interviews!


As Chris Anderson described in The Long Tail, the internet has made possible a previously unthinkable wealth of content for niche interests – e.g., Masters and open-water swimming.

Here are two great examples from the past week:

First, Rich Abrahams. The consensus “swimmer of the meet” at the recent Masters Nationals in Atlanta, Rich threw down a 49.4 100 Free and 22.1 50 Free. Fast times for anyone, but guess what? He’s 65 years old. In other words, not just fast, but almost-unbelievably fast.

How did Rich do it? Through several candid posts on the USMS forums and a video interview with Swimming World, you can gather hints. The most interesting nuggets, to my mind:

  • his focus in practice on lots of race-pace swimming
  • his approach to dryland training:
    • focus on overall, balanced strength rather than swim-specific strength
    • one long workout Sunday morning, one shorter workout Wednesday (providing several days recovery between each)
    • the importance of long-term consistency (i.e., over several decades)
  • his preference for swimming with 1-3 like-minded training partners, rather than with a team

Second, 2008 open-water 10K Olympian Mark Warkentin. Mark and I grew up together and swam for many years with the Santa Barbara Swim Club. He’s the toughest workout warrior I’ve ever known – and also a smart, wily open-water veteran. So, like ’08 gold medalist Maarten van der Weijden, he routinely beats people in the open-water who are faster than him in a pool.

Two days ago Mark made an appearance on the Simon Gowen Triathlon Show (h/t Daily News of O.W.S.). The interview has some less-meaty parts (it’s a triathlon show, after all), but there are some good tidbits for more advanced swimmers. In particular:

  • a good way to train yourself to breathe on both sides (while still breathing every other stroke): do a long swim, alternating 50m breathing to one side, 50m to the other
  • the importance of repeating sets over time – to gauge progress, but also to hold yourself accountable (you know how fast you should be going)
  • “pool open-water” training – take out the lanelines
  • the importance of being comfortable swimming in a pack – taking advantage of “moving water” and keeping your composure when you get hit or kicked

The 51-minute interview (available here – scroll to 6/3/2010) also features open-water swimming promoter Steven Munatones, discussing this weekend’s events in Long Beach. Mark’s portion begins ~16 minutes in.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maarten_van_der_Weijden

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