Patrick’s Car Theory

My 3 teamates are darn good swimmers. They are the product of competitive US Swimming from age 5 to 22. Carrington’s swimming pedigree includes 4-time All American, Princeton University swim team captain, 3-time Ivy League champion and 1 Eastern Championship title. Emily’s includes swimming for the Kenyon College swim team (under legendary coach Jim Steen) which had consecutive NCAA Div III titles, freestyle conference records and Academic All American. Susan’s includes state championships and records in all butterfly events, national ranking in 200 fly with a 2:06 time, Princeton University swim team captain, 4 years Ivy League champion, 2-time Easters champion. My swimming pedigree includes…hmmmm…not much. Almost 20 years of uncoached swimming in a mix of pool and Open Water, logging in decent and consistent yearly mileage (around 760 km this year).

After many years of swimming retirement, Susan and Emily started training again last August in order to get back in shape for our Strait of Gibraltar crossing next July. It has just taken a few months for them to get back in good swimming shape in terms of endurance and speed. Emily now swims 1000m in 13:45 and Susan in 13:53, which are the 2nd and 3rd fastest times out of around 200 swimmers in their men&women’s masters team.

While Susan and Emily are now faster than I am in the pool, I am still able to outswim them in the ocean. While I acknowledge that my Open Water edge might be short-lived given their fast progress, it is still somewhat of a mystery for me how it can be that roles can change so much in the pool and in open water.

In comes our good friend Patrick, never short of common sense. I was telling him about this dilemma and he said:

Of course, it’s totally natural. Emily and Susan are Ferraris, and you’re a Jeep. They are finely tuned swimming machines optimized to perform in a controlled pool environment. You have much more experience swimming in different open water conditions. A Ferrari is designed for a race track, not for off road, where a Jeep will excell. It’s that simple.

Ferrari and Jeep

I shared Patrick’s theory with Em and Sooz in our pool swim this morning and they burst out laughing but did admit it made sense (although Susan mentioned that if she is a Ferrari, it must be the oldest model in the market).

So, for now until July 7th, we’ll try to get the Ferraris to perform more like Jeeps and the Jeep to better compete against the Ferraris.

Would love to hear additional insights into this topic from anybody out there.

Categories: Open Water, Swim4Good, Training

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