Category: Olympics

Well, the good news is that my flu has gone.

The bad news is that I’m a clutz and a possible danger to myself.

So yesterday (the day before the MS Megaswim) this happened:


A seemingly minor drop off my bike on a wet road turned out to be a broken ankle. Far out.

It totally sucks and is atrocious timing.

There might be a slight change of focus here for a few weeks, but this weekend I’m choosing to see it is freeing me up to get carried away live blogging the MS Megaswim.

Stick around, join the conversation, and requests will be considered, if you drop them in the comments.

After that, well, swimming as rehab? Dry land training and upper body strength building for swimmers? Guess I’ll have to get a bit creative. Wish me luck (and a speedy recovery).

Oops! Missed a week…sorry. I’m assuming anyone who’s really seriously and strictly following the Ky Hurst training program I’ve been posting here has probably signed up themselves and isn’t too upset that I missed a week and am posting two at a time here. Right? Right?

Anyway, here are the two latest weeks…

week 5 on active recovery and week 6 on the taper.

Interestingly, in the last two weeks of the plan he talks about active recovery and tapering to ensure you are rested and in peak form for a goal event.

It’s a good point that a lot of people don’t get when training for any type of event. Essentially, any work you do pays off about 2 weeks later. The catch here is that it’s not like a test at school…you can’t do a last minute cram and train like crazy in the last 2 weeks before an event….it’ll do you more harm than good!

Once you hit those last two weeks you really want to be doing just enough that you are staying comfortable in the water and maintaining a routine. The focus is really on resting and eating well and sleeping well to ensure you can really output maximum energy on the day.

I have, on occasion taken this approach. Particularly the first year I swam, I followed a very specific training program geared towards a particular goal swim, and I definitely did a proper taper before the event.

More recently, however, during summer it’s not uncommon for me to be racing just about every weekend. Last season I spent 13 individual days racing and I didn’t start til after Christmas. Under these kind of circumstances (crazy ones? well, maybe) the line between training and racing does start to blur after a while.

Regardless, my strategy involved taking it fairly easy at the Saturday sessions before a race, and weighing up how far, what the conditions would be like and what else was going on week to week. For a big race somewhere in open water (as opposed to a course that is entirely inside a bay) I’ll know that I’m going to need more energy than a short course at Bondi. Regardless, the principles of active recovery are really important here. I’ll make race day the hardest swim of the week….and then it can do double duty as a training day for 2 weeks later!

If you’re looking for them, here’s week 1 and week 2 and week 3 and week 4

If you’ve been checking out the great training program from the fabulous Ky Hurst, week 4 is now available. This week’s focus is on long strokes.

Here’s where I’d normally give you my take on the topic. Except that it’s probably the biggest flaw in my swim technique that I don’t do this nearly enough. I have a sneaky suspicion that may have something to do with why I’m down in the lower end of the pack on a consistent basis.

If you’ll excuse me, I think there’s something I need to go do…..

If you’re looking for them, here’s week 1 and week 2 and week 3

If you’ve been checking out the great training program from the fabulous Ky Hurst, week 3 is now available. This week’s focus is on surging. This is something I’ve personally found really useful in races for different reasons.

I’ve used surging to quickly get past another swimmer. Particularly if they have a *ahem* creative stroke and are flailing or swinging wide or, worst of all, swimming breaststroke, that most heinous of ocean swim racing sins!

In contrast, another way I’ve used surging is to get out of the way. With different types of wave starts, and being a slower swimmer, most races see me with the vanguard of a different age and/or gender group coming up behind me, closing fast, and looking like they’ll happily swim right over the top of me to maintain their line. I’m not that competitive a person. Not enough to get into a fight with a big burly fast swimmer over a line, so I usually try to move slightly to the side and just get out of their way.

The last one is a tactical move. I frequently use a surge to catch up with or keep up with a slightly faster swimmer and see if I can get a bit of a draft. In this case it’s definitely worth extending the effort a touch to gain a bit of a boost and/or rest.

So there are my thoughts on why this skill is really useful for all ocean swimmers, even me!

If you’re looking for them, here’s week 1 and week 2

I posted a week ago about the Ky Hurst training plan. If you liked it, week 2 is now available.

It’s particularly awesome in that it talks about position in the water (something I struggle with) and recommends floating exercises.

Seriously. What other sport recommends you float????

Disclaimer: I have nothing to do with this program. They have no idea who I am. I just thought it was cool and might be good if you’ve come here looking for something like a training plan since I am so not qualified!

I posted the other day about Ky Hurst’s week one training plan. And it seems he’s followed it up with something I like even more! What a hero!

Today was Ky’s 5 Commandments for Swimming Smarter Not Harder. That links to the online source, but I’m going to reproduce the commandments below because I love it so much I want to make it my mantra for this swim season (at least!)

Such a good, well-balanced, realistic approach!

Ky’s 5 Commandments for Swimming
“Smarter not Harder”

If you don’t average 2 -3 swims a week you tend to lose your feel for the water and your technique will begin to deteriorate. No feel, no technique, no speed. You might be doing a great swim workout once or twice a week, but for most swimmers that is not enough. If the option is between one or two long workouts or three or four shorter workouts, swimmers seem to do better  when they swim more frequently as opposed to only doing a few longer workouts each week.


Maintain the best possible technique at all speeds during a workout. If you try to go fast with bad technique, you are wasting energy. It might still be a good fitness workout and you are burning plenty of calories by getting your heart rate up, but you are not helping yourself to become a better swimmer. If you can teach yourself to go fast while using good technique, you will make bigger gains.

Early in your workout, in the middle of your workout, or at the end of your workout (or any combination of the three!) do some specific technique work to reinforce good swimming skills. Even a few strokes thinking about what you are doing with your hands, arms, elbows, sho
ulders, head, body, hips, legs, knees, or feet can help you be a better swimmer. There are many drills you can do to stay tuned up, or to help you develop better technique.

One or two times a week (depending upon how frequently you swim) do part of your workout with oomph – push the effort, go hard, whatever you want to call it. If all of your workouts are focused on technique, your technique will improve. But what will happen when you try to go faster? You will get tired, your technique will deteriorate, and you might as well call it a day. If you are doing some hard or challenging workouts – mixed in with technique work – as different workouts or as part of the same workout – you will learn how to hold good technique while going faster.

Depending upon your swimming goals, there may be no reason to do more than one or two tough workout sets a week, as long as you do one or two easier workouts, too. Work hard on the hard things, and easy on the easy things, and each kind of work will work together, resulting in an overall improvement in your swimming.
It is also important to have 1 week in every 4 to 5 as a recovery week.


I’m not a swimming coach and I’m certainly not the right person to give any advice on a training schedule.

If you are here looking for that sort of thing, though, I think I may have something that might help.

In my inbox today was a newsletter from the Body Science Great Australian Swim Series (I did their Sydney Harbour Swim earlier this year). The series starts up again in Queensland, where it’s a bit warmer, in a couple of weeks, and they are promoting a Ky Hurst Training Plan.

Check out Week 1 for a day by day breakdown of what you can do on your own in a couple of weeks. Sign up for the updates if you’re keen….I’m not getting anything out of promoting it, but it does look pretty good to me.

OK, I’m a bit behind on my reading, but given I’m about to share an after-the-fact analysis, I’m letting myself off the hook.

Read this interesting analysis of the strategies of the gold medalists at the Olympics open water swimming recently.

Had quite a bit of detail, but the main thing I found interesting was:

 1.They grabbed the early lead and held it throughout much the race.
2. They significantly increased their pace on the fifth of six laps.
3. When they decided to make a break, there was no turning back.
4. They sprinted hard on the last lap while being chased by 3-4 competitors.

Point 2 was particularly interesting given the focus we’ve been giving to pacing at training lately (or at least those not struck with the dreaded lurgy).

I did find point 1 quite surprising, too, given the advantages of drafting…those winners needed to be super strong and super good to lead from the front the whole way. Can you imagine this sort of strategy in the Tour De France? Me either. Definitely some points to ponder!


While I’m at it…..the next thing I came across was this article explaining exactly how fast Ous Mellouli, the gold medallist swam. (spoiler: really fast!) Apparently under 1:06 for each 100m for 10k in less than 1 hour, 50 minutes. Just thinking about swimming that fast makes me kind of feel like vomiting!

More random weirdness from the Olympics Swimming News.

And you thought things couldn’t get any stranger than that last post? Watch. This. Space.


OK, this link isn’t specifically swimming-related, but it’s kind of Olympics/sport related and I liked it.

And it’s my blog, so a spurious association is good enough for me.

Aside from being a mad keen swimmer, I’m also a bit of a grammar nerd. And I liked Grammar Girl’s take on what makes a good Olympian Interview.

You know, for next time I win a medal at the Olympics.

It’s good to be prepared.

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