View Full Version : open water swim training

October 9th, 2003, 11:21 AM
Hi all,
I need some advice on where to find complete trainings for a 36km open water course.
We are a group of 4 swimmers (25~34 years old), and we are planning to cross the Rio de la Plata River, from Colonia (Uruguay) to Buenos Aires (Argentina) next feb/2004.
In average, we are swimming between 20/30kms a week, always in closed pools. It's too cold to jump into the sea yet...

Any tips, help or links will be highly appreciated.
thanks in advance.


Rob Copeland
October 9th, 2003, 04:12 PM
Without more information, itís hard to give specific advice. For instance:
Are you swimming the 36K as a relay, or are each of you swimming the entire distance?
How much open water experience do you have?
What are the anticipated conditions (temperature, currents, wave, etc.)?
How much time do you have before the swim?

Without knowing your current level of experience and swim conditions, my best advice at this point is that you get a copy of Open Water Swimming by Penny Lee Dean. This is an excellent guide to open water and marathon swimming for both novice and experienced open water swimmers, written by one of the greatest open water marathon swimmers.

As for training in a pool to prepare for a marathon swim. If you are already a competent open water swimmer, then training in a pool should not be a real problem. I have swum a few 25K to 40K races in which almost all of my training was pool based. Obviously it is better to train some in the open water, but lack of open water training time should not deter you from your goal.

October 10th, 2003, 08:51 AM
Thanks for your quick answer and advice.

Here there are more details about our swim
>each swimmer will swim the entire distance (36km)
>we are planning to swim 30 minutes rest 2~5 (for water and food)
>the weather is expected to be nice (FEB, end of summer), with an average temperature of 28 degrees (C), waves or heavy currents not expected.
>we have 4 month
>About our expirience and swim conditions, our latest times are, for a 30 minutes swim, between 2000mts and 2350 mts (indoor)

We don't have any open water experience, and we are worried about achieving our goal.

We are already looking for a copy (Open Water Swimming), but may take long to get it.

Any further advice will be highly appreciated.

thanks once again

Rob Copeland
October 10th, 2003, 12:10 PM
While you are waiting to get a copy of Open Water Swimming, I suggest that you look at the Open Water Swimming Clinic Manual, Prepared by members of the USMS Long Distance Committee. A copy can be found at www.usms.org/longdist/owclinicman.pdf

Marcia Cleveland, Peter Crumbine, Sally Dillon, Randy Nutt and others did a tremendous job with this manual. And while it was designed to be a guide for people running open water clinics, it contains lots of good basic information for open water swimmers.

Based on the additional information you provided. I would suggest that as soon as it gets warm enough, you get out and start doing some open water training to get used to the lack of walls and practice open water navigation. Since it looks like you will be swimming for about 9 to 11 hours for your 36K (based on your 30 minute pace) I would also suggest that by mid-January you work your way up to open water training swims of at least 3 hours, preferably 4 to 5 hours. And try to get in a couple of these long swims each week. Make sure to incorporate your feeding (both the food and the schedule) in these training swims.

There are hundreds of other things to suggest and consider, however at this point I would suggest you check out the clinic manual and see what additional questions this raises.

October 10th, 2003, 03:59 PM
Rob gave you good advice.

One other comment regarding food/drink: "we are planning to swim 30 minutes rest 2~5 (for water and food" -I would suggest you shorten the feeding time because you will tend to tighten up stopping for that long of a period...