Ironman Oz 2008 - Swim Plan
Swim strong, smooth and comfortable over the first 200m.
Smooth, Assertive and Calm.
"The water is your friend.....you don't have to fight with water, just share the same spirit as the water, and it will help you move."
- Alexandr Popov
I'll position myself according to my swim cap ranking. Hopefully this works as it should and places me amongst similar paced swimmers. This year I aim to swim close to the inside rope line of the course for a couple of reasons. First and foremost it will help ensure I swim the shortest distance and will aid in sighting. Secondly, because the course is relatively narrow for the number of swimmers, it is almost impossible to avoid a decent amount of battering. By swimming along the rope line I will know that the majority of trouble will come from my left. Combined with an assertive approach this will hopefully lead to being able to hold my own space in the water better.
When the gun goes off, my goal is simply to become comfortable by swimming strongly. The starting intensity typically creeps up relatively high, so I will not make any concentrated effort to go out hard and fast. Unless you are out at the front of the field, there is really nothing to be gained from this. In the field, there really is no such thing as gaining a good position by sprinting at the start. There is more chance that the extra energy expenditure will cost too much later on.
Once the initial mess starts to sort itself out, it is time to find my own way. Keep my stroke smooth, remain calm regardless of what is happening around or to me and create my space by being assertive. By assertive I simply mean holding my ground and maintaining my stroke which should prevent others from trying too hard to occupy the same area of water as myself. Assertiveness, is not aggressiveness, it does not include pushing, pulling, hitting or otherwise disrupting other competitors. Instead it is simply showing I am confident by holding my form. This has often resulted in a less disrupted swim.
"I swam the race like I trained to swim it. It is not mathematical. I just let my body do it. It is a lot easier if you let your body do what it is trained for."
- Ian Thorpe
Pace isn't too important. There are no clocks or regular landmarks to get split times. I have completed enough Ironman paced swims in training. I have completed the pull and paddle sets that always seem to benefit my wetsuit swimming. My body knows what to do. It is simple. All I need to do is swim.