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It has been a long time since I have swam in an open water event. I usually swim in an Olympic size pool. I can swim 1500 meters in 23 minutes without flip turns. I am aware of the fact that open water has tides/currents etc. I am trying to calculate what I might be able to swim a mile in open water. Any suggestions? I heard that some slower pool swimmers are faster in open water. I find that hard to believe. What do you think?

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I find that hard to believe. I have never heard of anybody who managed to swim faster in the open water. The best way to calculate it is to go and find out for yourself. Try to get out in the ocean from time to time and see how long it takes, and then compare that to what you are doing in the pool. Some people who can swim for miles in a pool (with open turns or flip turns) find it difficult to complete a whole mile in open water. The little rest at each turn can make a significant difference. Beside wind, waves, tides and currents, your open water time is effected by how straight you navigate. Some experienced open water swimmers can swim as fast in open water as they do in pools, maybe 2 to 4% slower. Newbies however usually don’t maintain a straight course, which adds to time to the swim, maybe as much as 20 to 30%.
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Another major reason that pool swimmers are not as fast in the open water is the temperature of the water, It is incredible how much difference a few degrees can make. This is why wetsuit swimmers in open water swim races have a seperate race category due to the advantages of that extra bit of warmth. As I see it, pool swimmers lean more towards achieving endurance for speed, where as long distance swimmers lean more towards achieving endurance for distance. In the pool, the goal post is quite defined in each lap, though due to ocean swells etc. the goal posts seem to move in the open water. Last year at the Cadiz Freedom Swim in South Africa, I noticed some of the cold water swimmers who normally come in last, come in well ahead of some of the very strong pool swimmers, who were not as well acclimatised to the cold.
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