DNOWS Header

Image Map

2014 WOWSA AWARDS

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Week In Hell Opens Up Possibilities

Competitive swimmers around the world do a variety of very difficult interval sets.

The sets can range from college teams doing 100 x 100s during Christmas training sessions or Ned Denison pushing English Channel aspirants to 100 x 200s in winter or long open water swimming sets like 10 miles of kicking, or 10 miles in the ocean without goggles that Ted Erikson and Greta Andersen used to famously do.

Penny Dean’s triple-a-day workouts leading up to her record-breaking English Channel swims, Petar Stoychev's long workouts and Fran Crippen’s 30,000-yard practices are other examples of the lengths at which athletes are willing to push themselves to realize their potential.

But up in northern California, Coach Mark Wagner pushes his athletes to a level that is not often seen. The set – done during Redding Swim Team's annual Hell Well – literally lives up to its name. The distance swimmers do one five-day period of a set of 100 x 100…twice per day. That is 20,000 yards per day five days in a row or 100 km (62 miles) – enough to get anyone through a marathon swim.

One Catalina Channel aspirant getting ready for the 2011 season, Lexie Kelly (shown above), recalls, "I was so tired [during Hell Week] that I didn't even want to brush my hair. But we all did it and we looked forward to it. I did it year after year with the rest of the team."

While some may advocate training as little as possible to succeed in the open water – perhaps due to a personal philosophy or because of work, school or family obligations – doing 100 km over a 5-day period is certainly one way to become psychologically stronger, a trait desirable in marathon swimmers. When a swimmer inevitably feels down, tired or depressed during a marathon swim, they dig deep - or get out. And the successful swimmers often dig deeper than they ever experienced or even knew possible.

But with a Hell Well of 10 x 100 x 100 under their swim caps, the athletes at the Redding Swim Team have the experience to ride the storm, to weather the obstacles, to overcome the barriers. While many athletes – especially older adults – have the fortitude, character and stubbornness to stay in the water and ignore the physiological and psychological issues that will undoubtedly arise in the open water, preparing for this inevitability can be helpful especially for those young enough to handle the physiological stress.

Coach Wagner explains his philosophy, "It's a test mentally and physically for the athletes. It's seems scary for the rookies, but once they complete it, the sense of accomplishment is unmatched. For the seasoned athletes, it provides a different test: I'm really tough enough mentally to go through this again physically. The surprising results those athletes realize they can handle anything mentally or physically."

Whether marathon swimming is defined as 70% mental, 80% mental or 90% mental, preparing one’s mind is requisite to success in marathon swimming. Some athletes do it through minimal pool training combined with open water swims and visualization. Others do it through old-fashioned high-volume sets in the pool a la Coach Wagner’s Hell Week. Others do it in exclusively long training sessions in the open water. Whatever the chosen route, the key is preparation and an understanding how far your body can safely take you and how strong you can remain mentally en route.

In the open water under the proper supervision, many athletes do realize they can handle much more than they ever thought possible.

Copyright © 2011 by Open Water Source

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you very much for your interest in the world of open water swimming.

The Staff of the World Open Water Swimming Association

A Thank You Gift from WOWSA


WOWSA is celebrating the
1-Year Anniversary of the monthly Open Water Swimming Magazine
by giving you a free copy of the anniversary issue.

Open Water Swimming Magazine Anniversary Issue
File Size: 13MB

FREE DOWNLOAD

INSTRUCTIONS:
Download the file to your computer, and then right-click to extract the magazine which is inside the zip folder. The magazine is in PDF format.

CLICK HERE to download your free copy now.

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.

WOWSA Member Benefits include 12 issues of the Open Water Swimming Magazine, the annual 276-page Open Water Swimming Almanac, a free listing in Sponsor My Swim, outstanding product discounts from FINIS, an entry in Openwaterpedia and more...
LEARN MORE

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.
LEARN MORE...

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.

But the farmers almanac was just one example among many.
There are, of course, many different kinds of almanacs.

In fact, there is even one for open water swimming...

Preview the Open Water Swimming Almanac:
https://www.worldopenwaterswimmingassociation.com/preview-open-water-swimming-almanac


The trends are very clear.
The tide is rising for open water swimming.

SponsorMySwim.com

Open Water Swimming Event Sanctioning

World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation

Open Water Race Calendar

Coaches Education Program