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Monday, February 22, 2010

An Insightful Interview With Thomas Lurz

Jose Diaz of Madrid's Nadandolibre interviewed world 5K and 10K champion Thomas Lurz of Germany.

Q1. How often do you hydrate ia a race?
Thomas: I drink before the race a lot and take one energy gel during the race. It's different depending on the water, the temperature, the tactics and speed during the race. It can be that I just take again one energy gel during the races and don't drink, but normally I drink once or twice during a 10K race. In the 5K, I don't take anything during the race.

Q2. How important is dratfing in open water racing?
Thomas: It's very important and the main thing in tactics in open water. You can save up to 25% which is really a lot.

Q3. Do you train race tactics? For instance, do you change pace at a given point or do you wait for the final sprinting?
Thomas: I am training tactics in the pool training often. I swim some sets at different speed or try to swim in the end fast, then at the beginning of a set. Then it's like in a 10K race where the end is very important.

Q4. What breathing patterns have you in races? How often do you take a look forward for a quick view?. Is this a planned thing or do you improvise?
Thomas: Normally, I breath every second stroke, but I train and in the race I need to look left and right to see all other swimmers. Then I breath every third stroke during the race . It can be that I don't look in front for long time, but at the end I look like every 10th stroke forward to see the finish well. But it's not so planned how ofter I look forward. It depends also on the water conditions, if there are waves or not, then I look more often.

Q5. How much time do you spend with dryland or gym work? How important that is in your preparation?
Thomas: I go two times a week to the gym and do weights. I go two times on ergometer and the rest is stretching and core stability. I think it's very important because the muscles need to be prepared to swim for two hours like in the 10K.

Q6. What gives you more satisfaction: achieving a good result beating your competition or overcoming personal challenges?
Thomas: For me, the results in competition are more important because I am a professional swimmer since i am finished with university and the results I need. Also it's clear for me that I fight and give everything that I can during the race. This way of thinking is basic and the win over myself must be in the race.

Q7. Could you put into words what it feels like to be world champion?
Thomas: This is very difficult. It feels very awesome, but I am still the same person that I was before with two hands and two feet. I am very happy that I am healthy and that I can do my best in training to become the world champion. Some people helped and support me [to achieve] this. This is also fundamental to be a world champion, but it feels very nice.

Q8. Speaking in terms of meters, what is your weekly volume? How do you manage your recover and what about your taper?
Thomas: I swim up to 110K in one week in 11 training sessions. Recovering is difficult when I swim so much. Good nutrition and good training plans and sets are important so I can still recover and don't loose my speed. When I taper, I do much fewer meters. The last week before competition is like 35-40K. I stop with weights 3 weeks before and just try to keep it with less kilos in the gym.

Q9. How do you manage to recover from such an enormous daily training distances?
Thomas: I try to sleep well, have good nutrition. I think the body must be prepared for such training which lasts years to get to this point. The muscles and the body must know this "pain" and then the recovery is getting faster.

Q10. Please rank by importance what you consider to have more effect in your achievements: training, technique, nutrition or something else?
Thomas: The most important thing is training. Without training and doing some kilometers in training, it's impossible to have success in open water. It's a marathon discipline. Also in the training, it is important to swim the right sets with the right speed to be fast enough. The second thing is technique which is also important to get speed and to swim fast without putting top much power in the strokes. The last is nutrition.

Q11. Do you follow your preparation by VO2Max? What factors influence more your progress? Do you use other training references?
Thomas: My coach is my brother who was a good swimmer in the past in the pool and in the open water. He knows many things about everything which has to do with swimming. He is doing all the references. He is a computer in numbers and everything.

Q12. What is your ideal tactic in a race, let's say in a 10K race? Do your tactics change in 25K?
Thomas: The perfect tactic is to be in the lead group during the race until 8K and the last 2K, I try to lead and build up speed until the finish. I have never swum 25K in my life. I want to do it, perhaps this summer at the European Championships. The longest race I did was 15K which I liked.

Q13. Is there a moment in an open water career to move from shorter to longer distances: 5, 10 and 25K?
Thomas: Since the 10K is the Olympic distance, it is the most important race in open water. The rest is just not so important. The 5K, I need for the speed in the 10K. This is why I think that 5K is more important for the 10K race. The 25K is much longer and the speed isn't so important like the other two events. I want to swim the 25K because I think it will help me mentally to do good 10K races. Then the 10K races will be shorter in my mind.

Q14. For an amateur swimmer, like most people who swim open water, what would be you advice for training technique and distance?
Thomas: I would advise to train the body and muscles to get used to swim long times. At first, the speed isn't so important because the body and core stability should not get problems to swim longer. Then when the body can do it, it will faster. In training, I would say build up the kilometers from training to training and don't forget recovery.

Q15. What is harder: to become a world champion or to keep the title?
Thomas: To get one world champion is very hard, but to keep the title is more harder because you put yourself under pressure to win again and everybody want to beat you. They have motivation to win and be the world champion. But when you want to win again. you need this motivation for many years. Also during the race, many swimmers look up to me and want swim close to me.

Copyright © 2010 by Open Water Source

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The Staff of the World Open Water Swimming Association

2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference

Learn more...
Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference Agenda

Friday, 19 September



Welcome Reception at Mount Stuart House, Isle of Bute, Scotland

Documentary films shown throughout the reception:

Blue Journey-Amerika Samoa – Stronger Together: The Waterman’s Way
(film by Bruckner Chase)

Dancing With The Water, Crossing of Lake Pontchartrain
(film by Wayne Ewing about Matthew Moseley's Lake Pontchartrain crossing)

Bering Strait Swim Chukotka - Alaska
(film by Admiral Konstantin Sidenko about the relay between Russia and Alaska)

The Clean Swim – Hong Kong to Macau
(film about Simon Holiday's Pearl River Delta crossing)

Saturday, 20 September



Registration and Coffee at Mount Stuart House, Isle of Bute, Scotland



Keynote Speech:
Colleen Blair (Scotland) on The History of Scottish Swimming



Christopher Guesdon (Australia) on Multidimensional Roles In The Sport



Colin Hill (England) on Recent Explosion in UK Open Water



Shelley Taylor-Smith (Australia) on The Feminine Code of Achievement - How a Lady from Down Under Revolutionized Professional Marathon Swimming



Simon Murie (England) on Open Water Swimming Holidays: How A New Sector Was Created Within The Travel Industry



Swimming The Oceans Seven
A round table discussion moderated by:
Kevin Murphy (England), with Stephen Redmond (Ireland), Anna-Carin Nordin (Sweden),
Darren Miller (USA), Adam Walker (England), Kimberley Chambers (New Zealand)



Coffee and Break



World Open Water Swimming Awards Luncheon:
with co-hosts Shelley Taylor-Smith (Australia) and Steven Munatones (USA)

Pádraig Mallon (Ireland), 2013 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year

Olga Kozydub (Russia), 2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year

Bering Strait Swim, 2013 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year

Honoring: Vladimir Chegorin, Maria Chizhova, Elena Guseva, Ram Barkai, Jack Bright, Oksana Veklich, Aleksandr Jakovlevs, Matías Ola, Henri Kaarma, Toomas Haggi, Nuala Moore, Anne Marie Ward, Toks Viviers, Melissa O’Reilly, Ryan Stramrood, Cristian Vergara, Craig Lenning, Rafal Ziobro, Andrew Chin, Jackie Cobell, James Pittar, Paolo Chiarino, Mariia Yrjö-Koskinen, Ivan Papulshenko, Zdenek Tlamicha, Zhou Hanming, Oleg Adamov, Andrei Agarkov, Alekseev Semen, Tatiana Alexandrova, Roman Belan, Elena Semenova, Alexander Brylin, Afanasii Diackovskii, Vladimir Nefatov, Evgenii Dokuchaev, Oleg Docuckaev, Roman Efimov, Dmitrii Filitovich, Olga Filitovich, Victor Godlevskiy, Olga Golubeva, Alexei Golubkin, Alexander Golubkin, Alexandr Iurkov, Oleg Ivanov, Pavel Kabakov, Eduard Khodakovskiy, Aleksandr Komarov, Aleksandr Kuliapin, Andrey Kuzmin, Irina Lamkina, Vladimir Litvinov, Andrey Mikhalev, Victor Moskvin, Nikolay Petshak, Sergey Popov, Vladimir Poshivailov, Grigorii Prokopchuk, Dmitrii Zalka, Natalia Seraya, Viacheslav Shaposhnikov, Olga Sokolova, Andrei Sychev, Alexei Tabakov, and Nataliia Usachaeva [represented by Admiral Konstantin Sidenko and Nuala Moore]



Alexey Salmin Pavlovich (Russia) and Dmitry Dragozhilov (Russia)
on the 2016 Winter Swimming World Championships [film]



Sally Minty-Gravett (Jersey) on Motivating Swimmers



Dmitry Blokhin (Russia) and Aleksei Veller (Russia)
on the First World Ice Swimming Championships [film]



Matthew Moseley (USA)’s Dancing With The Water, Crossing of Lake Pontchartrain [film]



Simon Holliday (England) and Doug Woodring (Hong Kong)’s The Clean Swim – Hong Kong to Macau 2014 [film]



International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF)
and International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame (IMSHOF)

IMSHOF Induction Ceremonies and Dinner
with co-hosts Shelley Taylor-Smith (Australia) and Steven Munatones (USA).

Recognition of International Swimming Hall of Fame honorees:

  • Elizabeth Fry (USA), IMSHOF Honour Swimmer

  • Vojislav Mijić (Serbia), IMSHOF Honour Swimmer

  • James Anderson (USA), IMSHOF Honour Administrator

  • Dr. Jane Katz (USA), IMSHOF Honour Administrator

  • Indonesian Swimming Federation Open Water Committee (Indonesia), IMSHOF Honour Organisation

  • Melissa Cunningham (Australia), Irving Davids – Captain Roger Wheeler Award by the International Swimming Hall of Fame and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer

  • Sandra Bucha (USA), ISHOF Honor Open Water Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer

  • Jon Erikson (USA), ISHOF Honor Open Water Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer [represented by Sandra Bucha]



International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) Introduction Video.
Welcome speech by host Shelley Taylor-Smith (Australia)






International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF)
Induction Ceremonies and Dinner with host Shelley Taylor-Smith (Australia)

Recognition of International Swimming Hall of Fame honorees:

  • Mercedes Gleitze (England)
    ISHOF Honor Pioneer Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer
    [represented by daughter Doloranda Pember]

  • Dale Petranech (USA)
    ISHOF Honor Contributer and IMSHOF Honour Administrator

  • Claudio Plit (Argentina)
    ISHOF Honor Open Water Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer
    [represented by Shelley Taylor-Smith]

  • Judith van Berkel-de Nijs (Netherlands)
    ISHOF Honor Open Water Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer
    [represented by Niek Kloots]

  • George Young (Canada)
    ISHOF Honor Pioneer Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer
    [represented by the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation]

  • David Yudovin (USA)
    ISHOF Honor Open Water Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer

Sunday, 21 September



Registration and coffee at Mount Stuart House, Isle of Bute, Scotland



Nuala Moore (Ireland) on The Mindset of 1000m at 0ºC



Admiral Konstantin Sidenko (Russia)’s Bering Strait Swim Chukotka - Alaska in 2013 [film]



Ned Denison (Ireland) on Swimming The World



Bruckner Chase (USA)’s Blue Journey-Amerika Samoa
Stronger Together: The Waterman’s Way



Rok Kerin (Slovenia) on Lifestyle Benefits From Open Water Swimming



Survey distribution and group photo-taking



Swim at Stravvana Bay, Isle of Bute


The Global Open Water Swimming Conference is a conference on the sport of open water swimming, marathon swimming and swimming during triathlons and multi-sport endurance events.

The conference which has been attended by enthusiasts and luminaries from 6 continents, is devoted to providing information about the latest trends, race tactics, training techniques, equipment, psychological preparation, race organization and safety practices used in the sports of open water swimming, marathon swimming and triathlons.

The conference's mission is to provide opportunities to listen and meet many of the world's most foremost experts in open water swimming, and to meet and discuss the sport among swimmers, coaches, administrators, event organizers, sponsors, vendors, officials, escort pilots, and volunteers from kayakers to safety personnel.

Dozens of presentations at the 2014 Conference at the Mount Stuart House cover numerous aspects of the vast and growing world of open water swimming where attendees can learn and share the latest trends, race tactics, training modalities, swimming techniques, equipment, race organization, logistics, operations, and safety practices for open water swimming as a solo swimmer, competitive athlete, fitness swimmer, masters swimmer, triathlete, multi-sport athlete, administrator, race promoter, sponsor or referee.

The conference was first held in Long Beach, California as part of the 2010 USA Swimming National Open Water Swimming Championships. It has since been held on the Queen Mary in California, at Columbia University and the United Nations in New York City, and in Cork, Ireland. This year in September, it comes to another iconic location, the Mount Stuart House on the Isle of Bute in Scotland.

"The Global Open Water Swimming Conference was started due to the desire and need for athletes, coaches, referees, administrators, race directors, promoters and sponsors from around the world to share, collect and learn information about the growing sports of open water swimming, marathon swimming and triathlons," said founder Steven Munatones. "Other swimming conferences usually offering nothing on open water swimming or perhaps a speech or two, but we thought open water swimming deserves its own global conference. It is great that the community shares its information via the online social network, but there is nothing like meeting other open water swimming enthusiasts face-to-face and talking about the sport from morning to night."

Speakers at the conference include English Channel swimmers, ice swimmers, record holders, renowned coaches, world champions, professional marathon swimmers, renowned race directors, officials and administrators from the Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania.

"Because the audience is passionate and educated about the sport and its finest practitioners, the Global Open Water Swimming Conference is also the location of the induction ceremonies for the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame and the annual WOWSA Awards that recognize the World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year, the World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year, the World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year, and the World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year. Special Lifetime Achievement Awards are also occasionally presented to individuals who have made significant contributions to the sport over their career."

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

A Thank You Gift from WOWSA

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Open Water Swimming Magazine

Open Water Swimming Magazine

The Open Water Swimming Magazine is the monthly magazine entirely focused on open water swimming heroes and heroines of every age, ability, and background. Published by the World Open Water Swimming Association, the Open Water Swimming Magazine is a free benefit to WOWSA members.

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The Other Shore

The Other Shore follows world record holder and legendary swimmer Diana Nyad as she comes out of a thirty-year retirement to re-attempt an elusive dream: swimming 103 miles non-stop from Cuba to Florida without the use of a shark cage. Her past and present collide in her obsession with a feat that nobody has ever accomplished. At the edge of The Devil’s Triangle, tropical storms, sharks, venomous jellyfish, and one of the strongest ocean currents in the world, all prove to be life-threatening realities. Timothy Wheeler’s documentary brings Diana Nyad’s extraordinary adventure to life as Diana sets out to prove that will and determination are all you need to make the unimaginable possible.

2014 Open Water Swimming Almanac

An Almanac for Open Water Swimming

An almanac is essentially a body of knowledge which is so complete that it enables people in different fields to make predictions about the future of their respective industries.

This, for example, was the purpose of the traditional farmers almanacs. It enabled farmers to determine as accurately as possible which crops to plant for the greatest harvests in a given year.

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Open Water Swimming Event Sanctioning

World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation

Open Water Race Calendar

Coaches Education Program