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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Training Is Endless

SAN DIEGO, California. Scott "The Yesdoc" Richards, MD, a member of the exclusive Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming Club, trains in an Endless Pool. Open Water Source inquired about the what, when, why and how:

Open Water Source: Why do you train in the Endless Pools Swimming Machine when you live in San Diego, a beautiful city that is abundant with open water swimmers and ocean shorelines?

Scott: I train in an Endless Pool due to my personal and professional commitments coupled with the lack of 50 meter pools in the north county of San Diego. I am a single parent and physician (outpatient with a 40 hour work week) and couldn't make the time to drive daily to a pool, do a workout with masters, as I had responsibilities and this would have been exhausting for my lifestyle and take away from my family. I love to go to La Jolla Cove on the weekends, but for weekday training, the Endless Pool was perfect. I did a test swim in one in about 2003 and was impressed. Subsequently, I researched the different types and found a contractor who had experience with them and by 2004 I took the "plunge" (pardon the pun), and invested the money and it has been worth it 100 times over. With being a single parent, it gave to me the ability to get up at 4:00 - 4:15 am, stretch and then begin a workout by 5 am, allowed me to be out by 7:00 - 7:30 am with 5 miles done and still get breakfast for the kid˚s and get them to school. The ability to train on-a-moments notice is a great feature. And the current is adjustable and allowed me to simulate open water much better than an 80˚F (26.6˚C) degree pool as I keep the temperature in the winter at 62-62˚F (16-17˚C)and in the summer no warmer than the mid 70's˚F (23˚C). I'd also swim in the evening while the kids were dong homework and could add an extra 4-5K without too much interference for my family.

Open Water Source: Is it tough to train alone in the Endless Pool?
Scott: One has to be personally motivated as I trained with no coach. The Endless Pool necessitates having a very self-motivated person. I can't stress this enough. I just love to swim and with the use of personal workouts that I began to develop, I just really had fun. I also have the 45˚ angle mirror on the front bottom so I would constantly see where I was entering my stroke and my underwater technique.

Open Water Source: Do you have any special methodologies when training in the Endless Pool?
Scott: The use of a pace clock, coupled with the adjustable current, is really good for understanding speeds and stroke-per-minute counts that are used in marathon swims. I began to feel what 62˚F (16-17˚C), 66˚F (18.8˚C), 70˚F (21˚C) and such would feel like. I began to know what RPMs were, what stroke counts were, and as I got more efficient and stronger, I used less strokes at the same speed. John York of the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation said I had one of the most consistent stroke counts for the entire Catalina Channel swim he had seen in years. I really attribute that to training in the Endless Pool.

Open Water Source: What is your swimming background?
Scott: I had been a competitive swimmer from ages 8-22 and then masters swimmer from ages 26-38, but I was really tired of the heavy interpersonal competitiveness that was happening at masters swimming, especially when triathletes would swim and try to beat the old fat guys. The you-against-the-elements was what drew me into the marathon swims. At my age (now 49) the goal is to get to the other side. I know that if I had attempted the swims in my 20s, I would have put so much more pressure to have world-class times.

Open Water Source: Can you tell us how many hours you trained in the Endless Pool?
Scott: When I was in training for the marathon swims, I had a Monday-Wednesday-Thursday-Friday schedule for the Endless Pool and at least one day on the weekend would be in the ocean at least 2-3 times a month. If I didn't make the ocean, I would use the Endless Pool for long swims on Saturday with Sunday being a shorter workout.

Note that the Endless Pool automatically shuts off after 31 minutes and 45 seconds. Therefore, I did sets based on the 30-31 minute length with no more than 1-2 minutes of rest in between. Each morning would start with a warm up that was 31 minutes and 30 seconds long (15:45 at an easy pace, 10:30 on a faster pace and 5:15 at "ocean speed"). Based on what I learned my speed was, this would be about 2,300 yards as I can hold 1:15-1:20 for 100 yards on a regular basis. 1:20 pace for 30 minutes is 2,250 yards. So my yardage is approximate during the workouts between 5-7:30 am. On Monday, I would front load the week with at leat 14,000 yards and the most I ever did on a Monday was a 21,000 yard day over three separate workouts.


Open Water Source: What was a typical training week?
Scott: A typical week in the Endless Pool would be as follows:

Monday between 5:00-7:15 am
31:30 Warm up
31:30 Swim at pretty fast pace
3 x 10 minutes descend on 10:30
31:30 swim pace (5-4-3-2-1 set). The 5-4-3-2-1 set is 5 minutes easy, 10 seconds rest, then 4 minutes faster, 10 seconds rest, 3 minutes faster, etc. till the 1-minute swim is all out. I did this to simulate the end of the Channel requiring that extra gear to break through the tide.
10' swim down

Wednesday between 8:30-9:45 am
31:30 warm up
31:30 pad/pull - 10 x 3' on 3:15 pace
4 x 7:30 on 8' pull
10 x 2:30 swim on 3 minutes, descending by 2's with the last 2 at max heart rate
3' easy

Thursday between 5:00-6:50 am
31:30 warm up
31:30 with Zoomers
10 x 3 on 3:10 desc
5-4-3-2-1 set
5' easy swim down

Friday between 5:00-7:00 am
31:30 warm up
6 x 5' on 5:15 pull
5-4-3-2-1 set
31:30 pace swim
1' easy

Saturday/Sunday (if not in the ocean)
31:30 warm up
2 x 15' pull on 15:30 - 2nd faster pace than first
3 x 10' swim with Zoomers on 10:20 descending each with faster speed on pool 5-4-3-2-1 set

Monday afternoon
15' easy
10 x 6' swim descend on 6:15
5-4-3-2-1 set
5' swim down

I usually averaged 14-18K on Monday. Occasionally, I'd add an extra swim on Thursday evening that would be more of a "sprint" or backstroke to give the arms a different feel. This would add an extra 3-4K per week.

Weekday average was about 35-40K yards. Then on Saturday, I would go to La Jolla Cove and swim at least 2-3 hours which would be about 10-12K and on Sunday an easy endless swim of 3-4K.

The total weekly yardage averaged 45,000-60,000 and I would vary this depending on how my shoulders would feel.

I also use my Swimman MP3 player when I train so I can listen to music, books and even medical journals when I train. This allows my training to be another of my multi-tasking times. I have taken education days and spent 6 hours in La Jolla listen to medical lectures and get home and send in the test answers. It's been neat to learn and train at the same time.


Open Water Source: What were your times and dates for your Manhattan Island, the English Channel and Catalina Channel swims?

Scott: Manhattan was in June 2006 in a time of 8 hours 8 minutes. Catalina was in September 2006 in a time of 10 hours 39 minutes. The English Channel was in 2007; the full story is on my blog.

Open Water Source: What is your medical specialty? What do your patients think of your open water swimming accomplishments?

Scott: I am a board certified psychiatrist with also being clinical/research fellowship trained in mood and Eating Disorders (anorexia/bulimia). Since an article about me in 2007, a number of patient's were amazed and my family has put up my England map course on my wall. I was initially uncomfortable with this, but it has been a big positive as some will say, "You walk the talk of self control and hard work."

Copyright © 2011 by Open Water Source

1 comment:

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

The Staff of the World Open Water Swimming Association

2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference

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

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR THE CONFERENCE

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."

The 2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference Programme

Wednesday, September 17th
Leave Glasgow to commence 2-day tour of Scotland [closest international airport is Glasgow]

Thursday, September 18th
Stay Mainland, North of Scotland

Friday, September 19th
14:00 - Swim Loch Lomond
17:00 - Head to Isle of Bute
19:30 - Scottish Banquet
21:30 - Dinner Dance

Saturday, September 20th
09:00 - Registration & Coffee
10:00 - Speeches
12:20 - Lunch and WOWSA Awards
13:40 – Speeches
15:40 - Round Table
19:00 - International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Dinner & Induction Ceremony

Sunday, September 21st
09:00 - Registration & Coffee
10:00 - Speeches
14:30 - Swim in St Ninian's Bay on the Isle of Bute

The luminaries of the open water swimming world who will be honored in Scotland will include:

* Sandra Bucha (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer and International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer
* Jon Erikson (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Claudio Plit (Argentina), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Judith van Berkel-de Njis (Netherlands), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* David Yudovin (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Mercedes Gleitze (Great Britain), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* George Young (Canada), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Dale Petranech (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Contributor
* Melissa Cunningham (Australia), 2013 Irving Davids-Captain Roger Wheeler Memorial Award winner
* Vojislav Mijić (Serbia), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer
* James Anderson (U.S.A.), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Administrator
* Dr. Jane Katz (U.S.A.), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Administrator
* Indonesian Swimming Federation, , International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Organisation
* Elizabeth Fry (U.S.A.), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer
* Pádraig Mallon (Ireland), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year
* Olga Kozydub (Russia), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year
* Bering Strait Swim (international team), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year
* International Ice Swimming Association (Ram Barkai, founder, South Africa), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year

For additional articles on the 2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference, visit:

* Olga Kozydub To Be Honored In Scotland
* Pádraig Mallon To Be Honored In Mount Stuart Castle
* Mount Stuart House, Splendid Setting For Swimming
* Colleen Blair To Kick-off Global Open Water Swimming Conference
* The Man Who Swims Better Than He Walks
* Joining In The Sea Goddess At The Hall Of Fame
* Mercedes Gleitze To Be Honored In Scotland
* The Incredible Career Of Merceded Gleitze
* Jon Erikson To Be Honoured In Florida
* The Incredible Career Of Mercedes Gleitze
* St Ninian's Bay To Host International Swim Conference

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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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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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.

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

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