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Old 07-09-2012
KatieK KatieK is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Scottsdale, AZ, USA
Posts: 295

I'm the one who posted about the 5 seconds difference, but I have the same problem as Boken. The 5 seconds is actually supposed to be 4 seconds (one second for each push-off). I rounded it up to 5 on that post to make the math easier. I've seen that number referenced in several different places.

Most of my training buddies are triathletes. They wear wetsuits in OW competitions, and their OW times are very close to their pool times.

Everyone says what Naj says about the conditions. Most good open water swimmers I've talked to have told me to ignore my 100-yard pace in open water. But unless the conditions are extreme, my OW 100-yard pace is pretty consistent.

I have had three theories about why this happens to me:
1.) For a long time, I wondered if I was just going into la-la land and getting too relaxed. In other words, I thought maybe I was swimming at a lower intensity in open water than I do in the pool. I have since discarded this theory. Even when I deliberately swim at high intensity, my times are nowhere near my pool times.

2.) I am extremely visual. I'm a whole different swimmer when I can see someone I want to pass. In the pool, there are plenty of visual cues I can use to tell me how fast I'm going. Even when I'm swimming at low intensity, I still try to pass people. I try to gain ground without increasing my effort. This has nothing to do with competition--I get a boost from being able to gauge my stroke. I also count strokes in the pool. I know from my stroke count about how fast I'm going. When I pick up the pace, I add a few strokes. In open water, I can tell how much effort I'm putting in, but I have no way to measure it.

3.) I think that sighting does something to mess up my form. I've seen plenty of video of myself in open water, and nothing jumps out at me. I always look very smooth and relaxed. Maybe I'm rushing the catch.

For me, this has nothing to do with effort level or fatigue. I'm in very, very good shape right now. And I have the pacing issue for short and long distances.

When I'm racing, I do much better than I do in practice swims. Especially if it's a crowded field. I look for caps in front of me, and my body just does its thing to try to put them behind me. Also, the adrenaline of a crowded race puts me into a completely different state of mind.

Originally Posted by boken View Post
Hi all. I'm well in my 3rd summer of regular OW swimming and a few weeks ago I finally got myself a watch that i can use to time my swims. Previously comfort, feel, straightness, etc were paramount to my OW swims and I had purposely left the pace clock at the pool. My skills have progressed so I decided to try keeping a good pace while I was at it.

I am surprisingly slow in OW. Reliably so.

Dr. Google says it is 500 yards from the boat ramp to the corner of a little rocky island and back. My pace per 100 is nearly 18 seconds slower than in the pool. I've kept that pace for weeks, through different weather, multiple repeats, whatever. It is not just a fluke thing. I finish within 10 seconds from one repeat to the next and the pace translates when I do a few hundred yards more or less.

Is this normal? I recently read in one of the Freestyle threads (Open Water Swim Dissapointment) that 5 seconds/100 is normal for those used to 25 yard pools because of no push off. As I suspected, this 18 second thing seems excessive.

I sight every 20-30 strokes and keep a fairly straight path. I think I have good sighting form. TT is set to the same as used in the pool. The reliability of that pace difference is freaky. Whatever's going on is ingrained, yet its hard to imagine a stroke breakdown of that magnitude. My swim partner doesn't notice anything different from pool vs. ow in watching my stroke.

The only thing I can think of is perceived (and mentally acceptable) level of effort in pool vs. OW.

Thoughts? What are your pool vs. OW pace differences?
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