Another MIMS match race

Another MIMS match race

This is sort of interesting.

It isn’t being actively promoted yet, but it seems the Manhattan Island match race/record attempt wasn’t just a one-off deal. Last September, NYC Swim invited four swimmers – pros Mark Warkentin and Petar Stoychev, as well as two local women – to take on Shelley Taylor-Smith’s overall record of 5 hours, 45 minutes. Warkentin won the day, but still came 31 minutes short of the record.

NYC Swim will hold another match race/record attempt this coming September 28, but the contestants will instead be the top two finishers of the regular MIMS event on June 18 (in which I will be competing).

Who will they be? Maybe Vegas should put out lines on open-water swimming?



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On pull buoys

On pull buoys

This is a pull buoy ————–>

At once the most common of training aids, and the most disrespected. According to conventional wisdom, pull buoys:

  • encourage weak body position – swimmers don’t have to kick and engage their core to raise their body position as they would without a buoy.
  • inhibit body rotation, causing swimmers to swim “flat” and thus less efficiently.
  • put extra strain on the shoulders, making injuries more likely.
  • discourage underwater kicking off walls.
  • are, along with hand paddles, a crutch used by lazy swimmers to help them swim faster and with less energy.

See, for instance, this thread on the USMS discussion forum, or one forum member’s memorable suggestion of a drill to “throw a pull buoy as far away from yourself as possible.”

Personally, I’ve always liked pulling with paddles and a buoy. I try not to overuse them – typically, I’ll use them at the end of a main set (say, the last round of a 4-round set) for a little extra “oomph.” Actually, it’s more than just a little – I’m usually about 6 seconds per 100 faster with paddles+buoy than without.…

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Do marathon swims require high-volume training?

Do marathon swims require high-volume training?

A few weeks ago there was an interesting exchange on Steven Munatones’ Facebook page. In response to Steve’s report of a group of Irish marathon swimmers who did a monster set of 200 x 100m on 1:40, one well known swimmer/coach/guru commented:

How did I ever manage to complete the Manhattan Island Marathon twice, averaging less than 20,000 yards per week, and with most sets being 3000 yards or less? Ditto the 24-mile Tampa Bay Marathon.

Munatones responded:

You have written extensively how little you train for marathon by training neurologically vs. traditionally. Other swimmers also train relatively little while experiencing success in marathon swims. However, experiencing long tough workouts are a proven way to increase the PROBABILITY of finishing a race and overcoming the inevitable obstacles along the way. In my opinion, successful marathon swimming is about minimizing risks while occasionally doing long, tough workouts to maximize performance, especially if one is new to the sport. For yourself and others who have already completed a marathon swim or have decades of competitive swimming background, there is much less need to train long distances.



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Back to Reality

Back to Reality

I’m back in Chicago after a salubrious fortnight in Southern California – a week with my in-laws in San Diego followed by a week with my folks in Goleta/Santa Barbara.

It was unseasonably rainy and, when sunny, unseasonably cool, but I didn’t mind. The stretch of south-facing coast between Point Conception and Ventura – with Santa Barbara at the center – is my favorite place in the world. Even the worst weather rarely precludes enjoyment of its blessed terrain.

Los Baños del Mar Pool in Santa Barbara, where I swam somewhere in the neighborhood of 10,000 miles as a teenager.

With holiday pool closures, schedule changes, and polluted ocean waters, finding a place to swim was an often frustrating quest. In San Diego I swam twice with UCSD Masters and once at the YMCA near my in-laws’ place. In Santa Barbara I got in twice with the S.B. Aquatics Club age-group team (coached by my longtime friend Mark) and once at Los Baños pool’s open lap swim, where I coincidentally ran into two former S.B. Swim Club teammates who were also in town for the holidays.…

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