What’s your “forever pace”?

What’s your “forever pace”?

What pace can you hold… well, maybe not “forever,” but let’s say… indefinitely. What would your pace be if you intended to swim all day – not racing, just swimming (and given that you’re fully warmed up) ?

Imagine you’re David B. (a.k.a. “chaos” on the USMS forum) swimming across the Catalina Channel. He’s a swimmer fully capable of a sub-10 hour crossing, but because of adverse currents it turns into 15 hours, 37 minutes. What’s that pace?

As I think more and more about true “marathon” swimming – I’m doing my first race over 10K in October – this seems an increasingly fundamental question. Yet it’s a question that, despite my many years in the sport, I had never thought to ask.

Now that I have more regular access to long course water, I’ve had better opportunities to answer this question. And for me, right now, that pace is about 1:24 (+/- 1 second) per 100 meters.

Obviously, since I’ve never done a swim longer than 2.5 hours, it’s difficult to say what 15 hours in the water would do (nothing good, I’d imagine). However, I’ve tested myself under a few different “adverse” circumstances – e.g., the day after a hard night of “socializing”, the day after a long weightlifting session – and it always seems to boil down to about 1:24/100m (22:30 per mile). Like clockwork.

For a 10-mile swim (ceteris paribus – not accounting for chop, current, super-warm water, etc.), that pace works out to 3 hours, 45 minutes. Anyone want to wager an over-under?

One Response to “What’s your “forever pace”?”

  1. RLM


    One foot in front of the other (repeatedly) and not looking back (very often)! RLM p.s. and, always doing your best.


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