For those of you who turned up for the 530am or the 630am session this morning, how did you find it?
Remember, this is the exact same format that we use on a Saturday 1-2pm session. Some of you might be thinking, "right, that does it, I'll never attend a Saturday then!" but others of you might see the value in what we were doing there this morning with our "controlled chaos" open water skills session, and might be keen to tap into that one from time to time (there are always last minute spots to register for this one).
It's interesting really, because one of my primary motivations behind staying in Perth way back in 2002 was because of the wonderful ocean and some of the open water sessions we used to run down at Cottesloe Beach every Friday morning. I miss them hugely. Unfortunately with the media hype (and actual events!) the whole threat of marine life really has put paid to that plan of running sessions in the open water on a regular basis, so this type of session is our best "second". That being said, the controlled drafting and fun games that can be achieved under a watchful (albeit "authoritarian") eye still carries a lot of power for those of you training for triathlon or open water swimming, and in some cases is better than what we could practice in the true open water without assembling a field of thousands!
If you've ever shied away from swimming in a tie-knit group environment, this morning was likely to feel like "hell" - however, recognising the benefits of good drafting, controlling your emotions and taking advantage where you can will pay real dividends - up to 38% energy savings in fact. Check out this article as a little light weekend reading:
…interestingly enough the athlete mentioned in the article, Richard Murray from South Africa (someone I've assisted with his own stroke development, albeit briefly), capitalised on this drafting ability at the Commonwealth Games to claim a bronze behind Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee from England, but then just last weekend claimed the scalp of arguably the world's best ever all-round triathlete, Javier Gomez of Spain, by putting this plan into devastating effect. Amazing!
Could it be that you're missing a trick by not practicing this regularly enough to see some real improvements like Richard despite his weaker swimming background? And from a squad-centric background, everyone seems to always marvel how and why 66 year old Graham Crocker always seems to over-perform in the open water compared to his pool lane-buddies. I don't. Graham is exceptionally good at drafting and is hardy and resilient with it too. The best I've seen in fact. That's the secret - oops sorry Graham, the word is out!
So you might not think of yourself as "hardy and resilient" when it comes to the open water environment, but these are all skills that can be learned, just like any other, be it catching better, kicking more efficiently etc.
Anyway, I hope you had fun and if nothing else, I hope you liked the break from the norm. Back to the norm next week!
Cheers and have a good weekend!