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Suits vs Skins

As the winter approaches fewer of us are braving the cold and heading out into the open water, preferring the warmth of the pool instead. On my last sea swim of this season I was chatting to some swimming friends and we got on to the somewhat contentious subject of wetsuits and skins. Swimmers tend to have strong views about swimming kit in open water and a lively discussion ensued.

Bob, an experienced open water swimmer with relay and solo Channel crossings to his credit, is a firm advocate of skins.

The Tools Of A Transpacific Stage Swim

When Benoît Lecomte swim 5,500 miles from Tokyo to San Francisco across the Pacific Ocean during The Longest Swim, he will use a variety of equipment.

His maritime science project will be anchored by a support team and researchers who will study the Plastiphere, as they try to answer the question, "How does the Great Plastic Garbage Patch affect life in the ocean and on land?"

Are Lead Swimmers Negatively Affected By Draftees?

A group of competitive open water swimmers got together in Seal Beach, California and had a heated discussion about drafting and swimming in the lead.

  • One swimmer (trailing swimmer) is drafting immediately behind another (i.e., lead swimmer). Is the drafting causing the lead swimmer to swim slower than he would if the trailing swimmer was not behind him? Or is the lead swimmer actually swimming faster? The theory is the same as the theory that a longer sailboat is faster than a shorter sailboat.
  • Could it be that the lead swimmer senses a change in his feel of the water and thus adjusts? This adjustment gives the perception of swimming slower which is reinforced by the trailing swimmer.

3F: Move From Fear To Familiarity Through Frequency

World champion Holly Lawrence discusses how she transformed herself in the open water through the 3Fs: move from fear to familiarity through frequency with Coach Gerry Rodrigues and host Jim Lubinski at Tower 26's Be Race Ready

Solving the fuelling and hydration puzzle

For all endurance sports, two major factors that cause fatigue and ultimately slowing down are dehydration and running out of carbohydrate. In open water swimming the situation is complicated by the water and ambient temperature, sunlight and the use (or not) of wetsuits, all of which will impact sweat rates.

Don’t let the clock spoil your open water swim

Last weekend I took part in Swim Serpentine, a new open water event on the UK calendar. It ran over two days, with a mass a participation (wetsuit or tow-float compulsory) 1-mile swim on the Saturday followed by the inaugural British Open Water Swimming Championships on Sunday. This was a 2-mile (3.3km) race under FINA rules, so no wetsuits. We were there for the entire weekend with a stand for the magazine and I also did both races.

To All the Men "Getting Chicked," Get Used to It

As more women work with their physiology, they are getting closer to, and in many instances passing, the men.

Recently, New York Magazine online ran a story titled, "The Obscure Ultra-Endurance Sport Woman Are Quietly Dominating." The big reveal? That in the sport of ultra-endurance swimming, women were quite simply schooling the men. Most notably, the article cited a Swiss study published in 2015 that revealed that in the 87-year span between 1927 and 2014, the fastest women were an average of 52.9 minutes faster than the fastest men. What's more, when they looked at average times across open water swimmers in general, the average woman is faster than the average man.

The Obscure Ultra-Endurance Sport Women Are Quietly Dominating

In 1985, Nature published a paper arguing that women would outrun men in marathons by 2000. Like so many other things that were supposed to happen “in the year 2000,” this prediction never came to fruition. Women’s finishing times were indeed improving rapidly as compared to the rate of men’s improvements, but that was likely because women were so much newer to distance running as compared to men. As science writer Rose Eveleth has explained, that Nature paper “extrapolated linearly from a few points of early data. (Its conclusions are mocked in many entry-level statistics courses.)” In 2016, the fastest men runners are still about 12 percent faster than the fastest women, and most exercise scientists doubt that women will ever outperform men at the elite marathon level.

How dangerous is lightning to swimmers?

The other day I was swimming at Shepperton lake when a storm blew in. I saw a flash on the horizon, turned to a nearby swimmer and asked: “was that lightning?”

“Well, I don’t think you got caught by a speed camera,” he replied.

Thanks!

As most of you will know, lightning is supposed to bad for swimmers. Like any responsible venue operator would, the staff at Shepperton evacuated the lake, but it still took me a few anxious minutes to get out, during which time I saw several more lightning strikes. I started trying to figure out the probability of lightning hitting me or the lake, and what the consequences might be if it did.

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