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Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Grace Of Open Water Swimmers - Bill May At Worlds

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

The last time we reported on Bill May, the 36-year-old was winning U.S. Masters Swimming marathon races and working full-time as a highly acclaimed performer for O, the famed long-running and highly popular Cirque de Soleil aquatic spectacular at the Bellagio Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip.

This week May is still competing, but this time without goggles and in a pool as he has parlayed his unique skills to a completely different aquatic discipline.

May and Christina Jones competed in the inaugural Mixed Duet Technical synchronized swimming event at the 2015 FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia.

We cannot think of another human on the planet who can shift gears from two shows per day working at the Cirque de Soleil spectacular in Las Vegas to winning the U.S. Masters Swimming 10 km marathon swim in Lake Mead (Las Vegas 10K) to representing his country at the highest level in synchronized swimming.

But the Santa Clara synchronized swimmer-turned-open water swimmer transformed himself to a world-class performer through hard work and a disciplined daily training regimen. “I remember getting up early for morning workout [in my youth], but now my schedule is all turned around, getting to bed about 4:30 am and waking up like 11 am. But we have a nice workout group, and do a lot of anaerobic sets like no-breather 50s and other hypoxic work.

When tough open water swimmers hear of May, they may not think he works out hard...until they read about his workouts in a 50m long course pool.

He will typically do 6,500 meters at a fast interval, holding sub-1:10s on all the 100s long course in a set like this:

300 easy 4:30 + 2x100 1:20 strong + 2x50 :55
2x100 1:20 strong + 2x50 :50
2x100 1:20 strong + 2x50 :45
300 easy 4:30 + 2x100 1:20 strong + 2x50 :50
2x100 1:20 strong + 2x50 :45
2x100 1:20 strong + 2x50 :40
300 easy 4:30 + 2x100 1:20 strong + 2x50 :45
2x100 1:20 strong + 2x50 :40
2x100 1:20 strong + 2x50 :35

Cruise at a 1:30 per 100m base:
200 + 4x50 + 150 + 3x50 + 100 + 2x50 + 4x50 (1 on 50, 1 on 40, 1 on 50, 1 on 35)

Pulling set:
2x100 1:30 easy
2x100 breathing every 7 to 9 strokes
2x200 2:40 (descend 1-2) + 2x100 1:30 easy + 2x300 3:45 fast + 2x100 1:30 easy

2x50: 1 easy and 1 underwater

May and Jones performed well in the preliminaries, scoring at 86.7. This performance was good enough for second place going into today's finals. The finals for the mixed duet technical program will stream on Universal Sports on July 26th at 9:05 am Los Angeles time in America (watch here).

The final results of his performance are posted here.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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