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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Pyramid Of Open Water Success

Competitive open water swimmers should learn how to deal with each possible scenario that can present itself during an open water race.

John Wooden, the legendary UCLA basketball coach, was a great educator who created one of the most profound definitions of success: the Pyramid of Success. Coach Wooden's Pyramid of Success includes 15 blocks, from industriousness to enthusiasm.

Based on Coach Wooden's Pyramid of Success, the Pyramid of Open Water Success describes the optimal training regimen for a successful open water swimmer, whether the athlete is aiming to do a ½-mile lake swim for the first time, cross the English Channel or win the Olympic Marathon Swim 10km.

The cornerstones of the Pyramid of Open Water Success comprises of Base Training, Speed Training and Distance Tolerance. These training fundamentals, referred to as the base, are well-known and understood by pool coaches and are rooted in the distance pool training methodologies used since the early 1970s.

At the mid-level of the Pyramid of Open Water Success, the key components of success are Race Specific Training, Skill Training and Open Water Acclimatization. These three training fundamentals are less well-known and only occasionally emphasized by coaches or athletes in their daily training regimens.

At the apex of the Pyramid is Tactical Education. This is the knowledge and understanding of what to do in a dynamic environment where one's competitors and the water conditions are variable. Athletes need to plan for, anticipate, adapt and respond to the ever-changing environment during competition. This education, which is vital to success, can only come from real-world experiences, observation and study.

The seven essentials include the following:

1. Base Training: Getting in shape during pre- and mid-season by swimming hundreds of miles through daily and repeated aerobic training sets (e.g., 6,000 – 10,000 meter workouts). This is a basic component of competitive pool training programs.

2. Speed Training: Improving one's speed by focusing on up tempo swims including anaerobic training sets. This is another basic component of competitive pool training programs.

3. Distance Tolerance: Developing one's ability to swim the specific distance of one's chosen open water distance (e.g., 1500 meters, 10K or 20 miles). This is another basic component of distance freestyle training groups of competitive pool training programs.

4. Race Specific Training: Simulating open water race conditions in the pool or acclimating the swimmer to such conditions during open water training sessions. This includes pace-line sets, leap-frog sets and deck-ups. Pace-line sets are where groups of swimmers closely draft off of one another in the pool, changing pace and leaders throughout the set (e.g., 3 x 1000 with a change of leader every 100). Leap-frog sets are another example where the last swimmer sprints to the front of the group every 100 meters. Deck-up sets (10 x 100 @ 1:30) are where swimmers must immediately pull themselves out of the water and dive back into the pool after every 100. This simulates on-the-beach finishes when an athlete is swimming horizontally for a length of time and then must suddenly go vertical to run up to the open water finish. Deck-ups also assist the swimmer's preparation to make quick tactical moves during a race or in response to unexpected tactical moves by one's competitors because there are often heart rate spikes during a race.

5. Skill Training: Teaching the fine points of open water racing techniques requires feedings, sightings, starts, turns, positioning and navigation practices during pool practices or, ideally, in the open water. For feeding, swimmers can place gel packs in their swim suits to practice fluid in-take during main sets. For navigation and sightings, swimmers can do 6 x 400, but they must lift up their heads twice every fourth lap to sight balloons on the pool deck, moved around by the coach. For turns, swimmers can touch the wall, without doing a flip turn or pushing off the wall, during the last 2 laps of 5 x 200. For drafting, three swimmers can swim together with one swimmer slightly behind drafting for a set of 9 x 300 with a draft every third lap and descending by groups of three. To replicate start and finish conditions, swimmers sprint short distances (25's or 50's) with three swimmers per lane starting at the same time.

6. Open Water Acclimatization: Especially for newcomers to the sport, acclimatization is required to get swimmers familiar with the open water environment. This includes getting used to cold water, warm water and rough water. This also includes understanding – and experiencing – jellyfish, marine life, wind chop, boat fumes, oil slicks, kelp, fog and rain as well as swimming through waves and currents before one's race. It also includes "aggressive swimming" sets when a group of swimmers in a tight pack practices buoy turns and finish sprints where the swimmers purposefully knock off the goggles or swim cap of one chosen swimmer. These types of experiences are parts of open water races at one point or another. To be successful, these experiences must be encountered and mastered during training.

7. Tactical Education: Most importantly, swimmers must study and understand the dynamics of open water racing and know why and how packs get formed and why they take on certain shapes. Swimmers and coaches must understand, for example, why and how packs get strung out, where swimmers should tactically place themselves in the pack at different points during the race and the importance of hydration and feeding station techniques. These tactics should be reviewed while observing successful open water swimmers through film so questions can be asked and different scenarios can be studied. An example of who best to study is Olympic 10K champion Larisa Ilchenko, who is not the fastest 800-meter swimmer in open water competitions, but who rarely lost a major competition.

Base Training, Speed Training and Distance Tolerance are taught by experienced swimming coach worldwide. But different types of skills and sets are needed for success in open water competitions, whether it is a local lake swim or the Olympic marathon swim . Race Specific Training, Skill Training and Open Water Acclimatization are three additional types of training required to properly prepare for open water racing which is becoming increasingly competitive.

Players and coaches of land-based team sports study film. The best race car drivers know when to slow down the field or speed up. These athletes have an arsenal of tools that is necessary for victory. Open water swimmers similarly need an arsenal of tools to win. Before they jump in the water, swimmers need to know how to deal with each possible scenario that can present itself during a race. Even though some swimmers may have an innate tactical IQ, most athletes will have to learn.

Competitive open water swimmers need to learn what these tools are as a first step. Knowing when and how to use these tools is the next step. It is really a tactical education - an overlooked aspect of open water training – that separates consistent winners from the rest of the pack. This know-how and skills must be developed and will become the most important tools in this rapidly growing sport.

With proper focus on the Pyramid of Open Water Success, swimmers can best position themselves for success in the open water.

Copyright © 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 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

5:30

PM


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

9:00

AM


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

10:00

AM


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

10:20

AM


Christopher Guesdon (Australia) on Multidimensional Roles In The Sport

10:30

AM


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

10:50

AM


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

11:10

AM


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

11:30

AM


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)

12:30

PM


Coffee and Break

1:00

PM


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]


2:30

PM


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

2:50

PM


Sally Minty-Gravett (Jersey) on Motivating Swimmers

3:10

PM


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

3:30

PM


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

3:50

PM


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

5:00

PM


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]

6:30

PM


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

6:45

PM


Dinner

7:30

PM


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

9:00

AM


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

10:00

AM


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

10:20

AM


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

10:40

AM


Ned Denison (Ireland) on Swimming The World

11:00

AM


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

11:20

AM


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

12:00

PM


Survey distribution and group photo-taking

2:00

PM


Swim at Stravvana Bay, Isle of Bute






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."


Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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2014 Open Water Swimming Almanac



An Almanac for Open Water Swimming

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