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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Ferry Weertman v. Gregorio Paltrinieri v. Jordan Wilimovsky

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

It is going to be a great summer with races including 2016 Olympic 10K Marathon Swim champion Ferry Weertman of the Netherlands, 2016 Olympic 1500m champion Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy, and 2015 world champion Jordan Wilimovsky of the USA.

Weertman is gearing up for another fast summer while Paltrinieri is gaining experience on the LEN European Open Water Cup circuit.

Paltrinieri is scheduled to compete in the 10 km race in Eilat, Israel today on Leg 1 of the LEN European Open Water Swimming Cup while Wilimovsky spent time this week competing at the NCAA Swimming Championships in what was called the greatest and fastest 1650-yard race in history (finishing fourth in 14:23.45).

It will be very interesting to see how fast and how adaptable Paltrinieri is - and becomes - in the open water vis-a-vis rivals like Weertman and Wilimovsky. This will an interesting development because the Odaiba Marine Park venue at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games is essentially a flat pool - and because Paltrinieri will have plenty of time to become more experienced in drafting, pack swimming and feeding over the next 3 years.

Unlike the turbulent ocean course held at the 2016 Rio Olympics, the 2020 Olympic 10 km marathon swimming venue in Tokyo will be similar to the 2008 Beijing Olympic course. Odaiba is an area close to the center of Tokyo within Tokyo Bay, largely protected from winds, waves, and currents. It is ideal for a fast pool swimmer who will not have to deal with the shifting dynamics of ocean events.

"Racing in the sea is an old idea that I have never given up (Gareggiare in mare, una vecchia idea che non ho mai abbandonato)," wrote Paltrinieri. "This morning I had my first 10 km in the pool for 25 yards (Stamattina ho fatto la mia prima 10 km in vasca da 25 yard) ... Struggle is real."

Meanwhile, Weertman explained his training in the post-Rio Olympics aftermath:

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Has your training stayed the same or is your training different this year compared to before the 2016 Rio Olympics?

Ferry Weertman: After the Rio Olympics, I enjoyed a long vacation of two months. Then, the first weeks [back] I just did general training and was slowly getting back into shape. But, during the last couple of months, I have put in a lot of work, but it has been the same kind of work like I did before the Rio Olympics.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: As the Olympic champion, do you feel more pressure to win every race now?

Ferry Weertman: I do feel more pressure to put on a good performance at the [FINA Marathon Swimming] World Cup circuit, but since I have never achieved a World Cup podium position before, I did not feel pressure to win.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Do you race in the pool nowadays?

Ferry Weertman: I have raced in the pool at the European Championships and at the [FINA] World Championships. This April, we have our national championships in the pool and I will try to qualify for the World Championships again.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Do you ever talk with Maarten van der Weijden? If you do, what do you talk about?

Ferry Weertman: Yes, I do talk with Maarten sometimes. He is a really nice guy and a big idol of mine. Before the Rio Olympics, we talked some about being at the Games as an open water swimmer. After, we talked about the life as an Olympic champion. If I ever need advice, Maarten is always there to help me.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Do you give speeches in the Netherlands? If you do, what do you talk about?

Ferry Weertman: I do give speeches sometimes. When I do, I mostly talk about the importance of planning and details. People like to hear all of the crazy things that we do for our sport.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Who do you train with at home?

Ferry Weertman: At home, we have a big training group with 17 swimmers, 4 of which are open water swimmers. Marcel Schouten, Pepijn Smits, Esmee Vermeulen and me. I do most of the training sessions with them, but sometimes we mix it up with the pool swimmers as well. I am coached by Marcel Wouda, who has two assistant coaches, Patrick Pearson and Thijs Hagelstein.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: About how many meters do you train every day at home?

Ferry Weertman: We average about 75 km a week over 10 sessions. But in our tough weeks, we increase up to 90-95 km in a week.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What is your most difficult swim workout?

Ferry Weertman: I am not good with different strokes other than freestyle. So if we have to change strokes a lot in a training session, that is very difficult for me.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What is your most favorite swimming set to do during your hard training?

Ferry Weertman: Before important races, we do specific sets for the open water. These are sets of about 5 km with a build to maximum speed. I always look forward to these sets.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Do you do dryland training?

Ferry Weertman: I do a lot of dryland training. We do half an hour every day. It is mostly core training, coordination, flexibility, mobility, and injury prevention.

Weertman shown above at the aQuellé Midmar Mile, courtesy of Lexie Kelly in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.

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