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Old 09-11-2012
westyswoods westyswoods is offline
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Default Ironman Open Water

The Wisconsin Ironman was held this past Saturday, September 9th. Twenty-five hundred participants, yes that is 2500, mass open water start. It never ceases to amaze me that more participants are not injured or even drown. Observing from a great vantage point, no one will convince me this is safe. A topic for another time.

I want to throw some numbers out for the first out of water pro. He did not win the overall event, although his metrics are IMHO very remarkable.

2.4 mile swim, one loop, deep water start
water conditions, slight chop/basically calm, water temp 72.2
winning time 49:01 for simplicity 49:00
4224 yards
20:24/mile pace
1:26/hundred yards pace

The lead swimmer caught my attention due to his unbelievable SR at the start.
His start SR was close 90, other pros were attempting to catch a draft but just could not keep up. By the 400 mark he had open a substantial lead. There was no way he could keep up that rate, my thoughts were he just wanted to break away.

Well through binoculars a good view was maintained throughout the race. Here he comes at about the two mile mark with a SR of above 80. An 80 SR computes to TT of .75.

Just throwing this out to all for feedback, seems almost unreal to me.

Swim Silent and Be Well
Westy

Last edited by westyswoods : 09-11-2012 at 01:02 PM. Reason: spelling
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  #2  
Old 09-12-2012
swim2Bfree swim2Bfree is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by westyswoods View Post
2.4 mile swim, one loop, deep water start
water conditions, slight chop/basically calm, water temp 72.2
winning time 49:01 for simplicity 49:00
4224 yards
20:24/mile pace
1:26/hundred yards pace
Just FYI the pace per 100 yards is 1:09.6, not 1:26.
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  #3  
Old 09-12-2012
andyinnorway andyinnorway is offline
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I can only imagine what 2500 people look like in a mass water start.

SR over 80 over 2.5 miles is the other extreme of elite swimming to a TI philosophy but in keeping with triathletes who work on 90+ cadence for bike and run.

It's also interesting to note that the lead swimmer didn't win the race, do you know where he placed, top ten?

I am still open minded about a personal minimum SR for efficiency. Whilst we work hard at learning great balance and streamline which allows for greater distance per stroke at any given stroke rate, I also believe that as swimming speed increases with higher stroke rates then the need for balance skills diminishes as the feet are pulled higher due to increase in speed.

Balance skills are also diminished further in open water events where wet suits are legal so the argument for higher stroke rate becomes stronger.

Swimming with balance and streamline is ideologically and artistically superior but probably a longer journey than learning to swim a competent leg of a triathlon with a higher stroke rate and wet suit.

It comes down to personal goals, we must ask ourselves if we want to be great swimmers or come out of a triathlon leg in the top 10% for our age group. Its not either or, just learning to swim great takes a bit longer than learning to swim fast at any cost.

My best swimming friend is 4 minutes faster than me over a mile, because he is stronger and has more swimming endurance, yet I can beat him over 100m because I separate water molecules better than him. This is my marker. Soon I will be faster than him over 200m, then 400m and so on. He will then wonder why. In the meantime he enjoys beating me soundly.
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Old 09-12-2012
ashby ashby is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andyinnorway View Post
SR over 80 over 2.5 miles is the other extreme of elite swimming to a TI philosophy but in keeping with triathletes who work on 90+ cadence for bike and run.
Just to point out, cadence on the bike and run is stroke cycles not per limb so a SR of 80 is only 40 on the bike...
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  #5  
Old 09-12-2012
KatieK KatieK is offline
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In a race like that, I feel happy swimming at an SR of 0.85 (70 strokes per minute). I can keep that up for a few hours. That stroke rate feels natural and comfortable for me. At the other end of the spectrum, I feel very comfortable at 1.05-1.10. I'm less comfortable with anything in between.

I'm faster at 0.85 than I am at 1.10. But I'm usually not any faster at 1.0 than I am at 1.10.

Fast being a relative term, of course. I'd never even get a look at the feet of the guy Westy mentioned. Or of the people who were trying to draft off him. Or the people who were trying to draft off them.

p.s. I LOVE crowded starts. I've never done an Ironman (or any triathlon, God forbid), but I have done a few events that felt like a cage match. Including being an extra in this Nike commercial--I'm one of the yellow caps at 0:38. We filmed for 6 hours to get those 2 seconds. That whole time, I never put my hand in the water without touching someone. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hEzW1WRFTg
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  #6  
Old 09-12-2012
westyswoods westyswoods is offline
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Default Very Informative Feedback

Thanks to all for the comments:
Andy, first out of water finished 7th overall. 2500 deep water start from a distance looks like thousands of seagulls taking off. With this venue spectators are looking east over a lake into the sun which has just risen.

Thanks for the correction of 100 yard pace Swim2

Katie great that you are comfortable in such an environment. My comments are especially pointed to those and there are many who have no idea. I maintain that if wetsuits were not allowed in triathlons the y would turn into biathlons.

Swim Silent and Be Well
Westy
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