Long Distance OW Swim

training advice appreciated

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13/07/2012 at 10:32

I did the last old Gower Tri at Port Eynon, about 2003. Tried a warm up swim, Waves were about 6 foot. Had been told to dive under & through the waves, so set off from the beach on a warm up, dived under the first, nice, dived under the second Ok, came up just as the third wave broke on top of me, ended up washed up spluttering (& laughing) on the beach. 

 It was so rough the safety canoes were being pushed out into the water only for the next wave to push them further back up the beach than where they started. Thankfully the swim was abandoned, I think the sight of the RNLI lifeboat going vertical up the face of the waves was the final straw for the organisers. 

14/07/2012 at 17:05

So that's the first swim done. 6.5km in 2:11. Very happy with that. Actually came in in 2:06 but i, along with many others, missed the last buoy and had to go out again.. you'd think i'd done enough at that stage The course was pretty cool. 1km to coney island where we got out and had a drink then got straight back in, swam straight for about 3km towards the peak of the Ox mountains before turning in and aiming for the big sand dunes in Strandhill. The water was a little choppy and quite dark but nothing i wasn't expecting. Very well organised event and a great turnout of 120 swimmers compared to about 30 last year. The quickest time was something mad like 1:25. I was just glad to get through it with no major problems. A couple of cramps threatened at times but didn't develop. Its a good confidence booster before the 10k in less than a month.

16/07/2012 at 10:39

Well done B_Kins, good swim.

You are right not to focus on the time, sensations are far more important at this stage with the 10K coming up shortly. Have a look at your hydration / nutrition strategy if you think cramps could be an issue and, if you decide to change it for the 10K, test it first.

Found a video on YouTube of the start of the Tabarca-Santa Pola race. The waves weren't too high but I have found out that both the wind and current were against us in the first 5K which you can see from the lack of progress of the swimmers. You can also see the number of boats, kayaks, canoes, etc. provided by the organisation. If you are thinking about going long for the first time, this is a great race to start.


Edited: 16/07/2012 at 10:40
16/07/2012 at 12:06

That looks like a really good swim. I like the idea of having balloons every 150m for sighting. I zig-zagged slightly all the way through the swim, probably adding a couple of hundred meters - http://connect.garmin.com/activity/199640610

Nutrition wise i think i was just about okay for that distance. I had a big bowl of porridge 3 hours before, then some powerade coming up to the start. Two small drinks of water during the swim were enough. I had a gel with me but didn't take it. For 10k i will definitely want some food/gels i think. Would it be okay to eat something like a sandwich during the swim?? 3.5 hours is a long time in the cold and a lot of calories.. i've also been told that the 10k lough gill swim is colder and could be just as choppy as the sea. Plenty to look forward to!

16/07/2012 at 14:19

Ooh, a Garmin 910XT! I want one of those - you can now prove to any doubters that it was an uphill swim

Personally I wouldn't want to eat any solids during a swim but do whatever works for you.

The buoys in Tabarca were every 200m and they even had a balloon filled with helium attached to each one. It meant that sighting was never an issue as you just aimed for the big orangey-yellow thing in the horizon a couple of hundred metres away.

16/07/2012 at 16:23

The helium balloons would have been great. I looked around at one stage when I wasn't sure where to go. With the water being choppy I didn't see a single swimmer, kayak or buoy in sight.. I just kept swimming towards the mountains as we were told to and lucky enough found a kayaker to point me onwards.

The 910XT is brilliant. Useful for open water, but really good in the pool. They have a cheaper watch now just for pool swimming - Garmin Swim. Far as i know its the same as the 910 but without the GPS. Personally I'd splash out on the 910 though

16/07/2012 at 16:54

Well - what a great thread!  Thanks B_K for starting it.  I've learned loads already. And hello SuperCaz! Are your ears burning?

I've been thinking that although I don't particularly like pool swimming, if it gets me fit enough to enjoy some roughty toughty OW stuff it can't be all bad.  I've just done my third (and last) ironman - Outlaw - and although I'm not great, my swim is always my strongest discipline so I've thought I might try to do a bit more longer OW stuff.  However, I don't live near the sea and I do love a bit of a sea swim - although am not massively experienced.  I'm strong though and it doesn't freak me out (or perhaps I just haven't been in anything too freaky...).

So Caz, your name came up on the Wing yesterday along with Mr Zuvai's as sea swimmers fairly near me (Winch).  Your neck of the woods isn't ideal for regular swims but I'd happily make the effort if you fancied a swimming buddy sometimes.  I'm not as fit as you so am not sure I could cope with your longer swims but I'm IM fit so I might be of some help?

Yesterday I went to Bournemouth and swam which was fab.  Yes, a bit rougher than a lake but the way the weather's been lately even lakes have had seriously uphill legs!

Have swum 5k in a pool just in IM training and have entered a lake 5k in September (Bray) and am trying to find people to do the Cornwall Festival of Sport with because that's got some great events including a 3k sea swim. (14/16 Sept).  Then there's the VOTWO Bournemouth Long Swim on 5th Aug which I'll do - prob the 3.8) if we're not away for the w/e. 

Next year I'll set my sights on the Dart 10k and Bos - maybe the 14k Henley Swim one you mentioned.

Right. Now you know my entire swimming story, past, present and future.





Edited: 16/07/2012 at 16:55
16/07/2012 at 16:56

Oh, and when I'm rich I'll be doing a Swim Trek holiday - somewhere hot with clear blue water like Turkey. Anyone ever done a Swim Trek or similar?

SuperCaz, when's your relay?

17/07/2012 at 07:31

Bad timing Hen.  Today  I am signing a contract on a flat in Leicester.  I've finally managed to get a job and I'm relocating.  However I will be coming back to the south coast regularly - my friends on't allow me to stay away for long.

There are loads of active swimmers around Bournemouth.  This year there are about 5 Channel relay teams that are training there.  I could give you some contact names if you like.

I would also love to do a swim trek holiday.  Hubby wouldn't let me spend the money as he can't swim so woulldn't want to come along too, but now that I've ditched him I can do my own thing.  Must look into it next month and see what is available.

I'm hanging on the phone about the relay.  My window opens on Thursday but the weather isn't great at the moment and not many boats are going out so I might be waiting some time.

17/07/2012 at 12:57

B_Kins, well done on the swim, sounds great

I looked at the Swim Trk before but they do seem to be booked reasonably far ahead and I never quite got my act together in time.

Have decided not to do the Henley 14k swim this year. Physically I think I can do it but not sure that i would enjoy it as much as it i had a longer lead into it. It occurred to me that it might be better to have a few relaxed swims in the Thames rather than having to treat all the swims as training sessions.
Artful Hen, the henley swim is actually 3 legs of approx 4k each, because there are locks to go through. Oddly I prefer the thought of a straight 10k (although the fastest swimmers will probably barely stop for the locks).

Also think I might start lido-bagging. There are a few over-sized outdoor pools not far from me.

17/07/2012 at 16:49

Caz - bummer  - well, actually - exciting times for you moving etc. And the relay being SO close.  I understand the medium term forecast is looking positive so wind etc might calm down for you after all.  Although I suppose you're now in a Channel swimming queue?  Hope Leicester proves good! 

Would love some contacts in Bournemouth neck of the woods - although I'm sure you've got enough on your plate at the mo.

My husband is also el crappo swimmer but I don't want to ditch him .  

Bos - where do you live?  No lidos near here I think. Parliament Hill and is there still one in Tooting but they're miles away.  Then there's that one just outside Brighton in Rottingdean or Saltdean or Somethingdean. 

17/07/2012 at 16:51

Metoikos - your Spanish swim sounds fab. Is that where you live?  HAdn't considered that ow swimming  opens up a whole new travel opportunity. Just need to win the lottery. But at least I wouldn't need to lug a bike with me any more.

17/07/2012 at 18:31

Artful Hen have only skimmed the internet but the ones that are doable in a day trip kind of way for me from Maidenhead direction are:

Tooting Bec 90metres
Newbury 73m
Uxbridge 67m

and there are a couple of other 50m oones about too.

Useful list:

17/07/2012 at 22:25
Hmmmm I think the Newbury one might actually be more of a long narrow 73m pool. Not really much of a lido. If its the one I'm thinking of.
17/07/2012 at 22:36

As Supercaz is moving means I'm missing a sea swim buddy Hen, I'm further up the M3 than you but can make it to anywhere between bournemouth and hayling island wtithin an hour or so at weekends.

Caz the weather is meant to be getting better so I think we might manage sometime in that week window.


17/07/2012 at 23:35

AH - Yep, I've lived in Madrid for the last 18 years but moving to Boston (USA) next month - I think the water will be a bit colder over there

If you are looking for  a cheap get away, there are some great open water races in Spain that are very well organised:

Tabarca-Santa Pola (town about 15K from Alicante) - 6K swim from an island to the mainland, ferry to start, 28€, 1100 swimmers, 1st week July, lottery to enter (opens in March), superb organisation.

Tabarca-Alicante - 21K swim from an island to the mainland, need your own support boat/crew, end of May.

Illa Benidorm - Benidorm  - 3.5K swim from island to Benidorm beach, ferry to start, 24€, last Sunday of August, normally sells out, v.good organisation.

Zarautz-Getaría - 2.4K (very) rough water swim close to Bilbao in the Basque Country, end of July, 21€, 1400 swimmers, v.good feedback from swimmers.

Lanzarote - Isla Graciosa - Swim across a channel with strong currents (to the island that can be seen when going up the 'Mirador' climb during IM Lanza), 2600m, first week of October.

There are also a lot of shorter 'inshore' races (750m-2500m) throughout the summer in most Meditarranean ports

The problem with most of these races is that information is hard to come by and web sites, if they exist, are very basic and you probably need to know a little Spanish to be able to find out how to enter. If you want more info about a specific race, let me know which one and I'll try and find the web site.

18/07/2012 at 08:18

There are a lot of groups on FB for people who enjoy open water swimming.  I meet up with people all over the country and in a lot of ways they are very similar to the Pirates, but without the kit.  They all tend to meet random strangers, eat cake, drink beer and put each other up.  Camping weekends are also organised and they arrange to meet at various events.

The Outdoor Swimming Society is a good place to start.  They have a web site www.outdoorswimmingsociety.com which tells you a bit about them, but the FB group https://www.facebook.com/groups/outdoorswimmingsociety/ is where all the activity is.  Use it to ask stupid questions, find out about stuff or get in contact with people in your area.

If you make yourself known on the OSS FB page then you can be introduced to your local rep and you get invited to join local groups where you can discuss local events or arrange to meet up.  I belong to the Dorset group https://www.facebook.com/groups/purbeckswimmers/ organised by Amanda Hughes, and the Surrey/Sussex/Hampshire group organised by Janetta Harvey.  The Hampshire group also have an e-mail distribution list co-ordinated by Claire Samwell.  You can find any of these people through my FB friends if you are interested in contacting them.

Hen, I'll also send you some details of people around the Bournemouth area.  Not sure whether they would want their names put on a public forum.

18/07/2012 at 08:20

Also you might want to lurk on the Channel FB pages, even if you aren't doing a Channel swim.  People post all sorts of info and tips on longer distance swimming.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/channelswim/ is aimed at those doing relays

https://www.facebook.com/groups/276050649099254/ is for Channel Swimming in general.

Edited: 18/07/2012 at 08:22
18/07/2012 at 08:55

Thanks Caz. I've joined those groups on FB. Not sure if there is anything setup here but there's no shortage of groups out swimming or places to go. I went back to the pool today.. its just not the same as the OW. I've been coming out of the sea feeling so refreshed. Now its back to red eyes coming into work. Easy enough 2k session. I've a sprint triathlon tonight (Ireland's first midweek one apparently) and a big olympic race on Sunday so my swimming will be pretty limited this week i think.

I'm not sure if i saw this link on this forum or somewhere else but this race in Norway looks amazing - http://www.otillo.se/the-race/ Its a combination of short swims between islands and running across them, from dawn to dusk. The total comes to about 10km of swimming and 56km of running. I love the idea of a swimming holiday like SwimTrek. The prices don't seem too bad either! How long should you wait after a Sangria before swimming again?

18/07/2012 at 16:18

Caz - fab info, thanks. Metoikos, too.  Blue - fantastic.  What are you up to this weekend?

Have been loitering a bit on the OSS pages but didn't realise how organised it was.  Sounds perfect.

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