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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Day Workouts For Open Water Swimmers

Today, February 29th is the leap day in the Gregorian calendar.

29 is such a nice prime number that the Open Water Swim Club thought an explanation of the benefits of prime number sets is appropriate on this leap day.

Open water swimmers are athletes well-suited to deep thought - or just zoning out. The mental aspect of competitive open water swimming or tactical marathon swimming cannot be downplayed.

Not only do competitive and experienced swimmers have to think about the elements - winds, waves, currents, tides, sun glare - but they also have to strategize about feeding, pacing, positioning, drafting, turn buoy placement and the odd surge relative to their competition.

The tactical skills of the the world's best open water swimmers are always something to see.

When swimmers interested in competitive open water swimming ask the Open Water Swim Club about what it takes to improve, reach their potential or compete at the highest echelon, we recommend a focus on the Pyramid of Open Water Success: Base Training + Speed Training + Distance Tolerance + Race Specific Training + Skill Training + Open Water Acclimatization + Tactical Knowledge.

Whether in the pool or open water, we encourage competitive open water athletes and triathletes to train their minds as well as their bodies. Some of the pool training sets that we recommend are based on prime numbers ... like 29 (e.g., 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, etc.). So instead of doing traditional pool training sets on easy-to-calculate intervals like 1:00, 1:10, 1:15, 1:20 or 1:30, we occasionally do prime number sets where the intervals are 1:03, 1:17, 1:23, etc. Alternatively, intervals on 37.5, 42.5, 47.5, etc. seconds are also mentally challenging.

As competitive pool swimmers can imagine, calculating the next send-off on a 42.5 interval for 50s or a 1:23 interval for 100s is not easy for most people. And those who are mathematically inclined will enjoy the mental calculations. As a result, the athlete is constantly thinking and calculating in addition to maintaining proper stroke mechanics, trying to make the interval and getting their swim times. These prime number sets can be taxing both mentally and physically - precisely what swimmers will face in competitive open water situations.

A few simple prime number sets for pool swimmers might include the following:

Hit the Primes: 8 x 100 @ 1:30, swim exactly at a 1:23 pace for #1, 1:19 pace for #2, 1:17 pace for #3, 1:13 pace for #4, 1:11 pace for #5, 1:07 pace for #6, 1:05 pace for #7 and 1:03 pace for #8. Teaches precise pace control.

Beat the Primes: 8 x 100 @ 1:30, swim faster than a 1:23 pace for #1, a 1:19 pace for #2, a 1:17 pace for #3, a 1:13 pace for #4, a 1:11 pace for #5, a 1:07 pace for #6, a 1:05 pace for #7 and a 1:03 pace for #8.

Descend Down: 10 x 50 with descending intervals. 1 x 50 @ 50 + 1 x 50 @ 47.5 + 1 x 50 @ 45 + 1 x 50 @ 42.5 + 1 x 50 @ 40 + 1 x 50 @ 37.5 + 1 x 50 @ 35 + 1 x 50 @ 32.5 + 1 x 50 @ 30 + 1 X 50 @ 27.5

It is not easy at first, but athletes find their abilities to work hard physically and think deeply improve over time. This mental work is valuable for help sharpening the mind which is an asset used craftily and creatively by the open water swimmers.

Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source

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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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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.

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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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