The women's pro field has a real wildcard in it in the form of Britain's Jodie Swallow. Jodie is an ITU Long Course World Champion (Perth 2009) and Ironman 70.3 World Champion (2011) but is racing in only her third Ironman and her first in Hawaii. Her fantastic win at Ironman Kalmar in August qualified her for Kona with a brilliant 8:54 clocking over the 3.8km swim, 180km bike and 42km run distance.
Back in 2009 in Perth, the very next day after her World Championship win, Jodie was keen to jump in the water with us at Claremont Pool and have a little video analysis on her swimming. Watch Paul Newsome's summary of her stroke from that footage here:
We'll let that clip speak for itself but suffice to say Jodie epitomises the Swinger Swim Type with a ton of rhythm and momentum in her stroke. It's important to understand that she's not hacking at the water, she is actually working with it, just with a lot of purpose and rhythm!
If Jodie's bike and run form in the extreme heat and humidity of Kona is an unknown quantity, in the water her ability is anything but unknown. Jodie is one of the best female triathlon swimmers in the world - in fact in Perth in 2009 she caught and swam through half of the men's pro field who started two minutes ahead of her over the 3km distance!
That day the conditions in the Swan River were very challenging with a short chop blown up by a strong easterly wind making it very hard for the swimmers to find a rhythm in their stroke. It wasn't easy for Jodie either but versus anyone trying to swim with a long smooth stroke, her natural style was a huge advantage and Jodie quickly broke away from the entire women's field and continued to dominate the race from there.
That's Jodie all over, a no-nonsense athlete and person. The non-wetsuit rough water swim in Kona should really play to her strengths so watch out for her exiting the water with the leaders on Saturday morning - let's hope we get a good shot of her working her rhythmical magic in the water before they get to T1.
Jodie's a friend of Swim Smooth and we're rooting for her to have a fantastic race. Good luck to everyone else competing - the swim is always hard so tough it out and keep a great rhythm in your stroke, there's plenty of time to recover afterwards on the bike ;)-
PS. Why not tweet Jodie your best wishes here: @jodieswallow
PPS. The race starts at 6:30am Saturday local time, that's 5:30pm Sat UK, 6:30pm Sat Europe, 12:30pm Sat EDT, 9:30am Sat PDT, 3:30am Sun Sydney, 12:30am Sun Perth.