Fantastic Swim Performances All Round At Kona

We hope your enjoyed the coverage from the Hawaii Ironman World Championships in Kona last weekend - as always the Ironman team delivered a fantastic event and the live web-broadcast was first class. If you missed it, you can watch it again here:

Swim Smooth swimmers had some fantastic results on the island, which we're going to quickly review below. There's lessons to be learned here for strong and not so strong swimmer alike!

The swim start at Kona is a beautiful (click to enlarge)

Emily Loughnan - 25-29 Age Group

Emily Loughnan had a fantastic race coming third in her age-group in only her second Ironman, nearly breaking 10 hours despite a puncture on the bike. Emily is coached by SS Coach Julian Nagi and is having a phenomenal year, winning her age group at the 70.3 worlds (see previous blog post here) and backing this up with another great race on the big island of Hawaii. Congratulations Emily!

Emily and Julian enjoying the awards bash

Fiona Ford  - 45-49 Age Group

SS Coach Fiona Ford ripped up the course for third in her age group despite only recently returning from terrible injuries sustained in a bike crash (see story here). A truly inspirational comeback and performance from one tough cookie - form is temporary, class is permanent Fi! :

Fiona in the lava fields

Harry Wiltshire - Pro

First Pro and fastest swimmer overall with a fantastic swim of 48:00 was Britain's Harry Wiltshire:

Harry was the first swimmer our Head Coach Paul Newsome ever coached in his role as British Triathlon’s South West Development Officer in 1999 / 2000. But what does it take to lead out this strongest of fields? Harry doesn't have a text book long-smooth freestyle stroke by any stretch of the imagination but it is mighty effective. Do you need to take on some of Harry's rhythm and purpose to improve your own swimming?

More on Harry's swimming here:

For Guru subscribers, also see our detailed study of Harry's stroke here:

Sarah Piampiano - Pro

Sarah visited us in Perth last year, training with the squad and working on her stroke with Paul. Despite feeling "pretty crap" for most of the race she battled through to a solid 7th place overall:

Sarah running through to a 3:07 marathon (on an off day!)

My SWIM, was the highlight of my race!  My best ever swim - I was SO excited and happy and it was a huge bump up for me from last season.  Where last year I got out of the water 15 minutes down, this year I exited with a pack (yay!) and only 10 minutes in arrears.  I think it has re-ignited some hope and spark to get my swim in Kona under an hour and I think we are excited about continuing that project.  But it was a HUGE step in the right direction.  The one-armed drills + a LOT of open water swimming + some parachute work is what we felt made such a significant difference. Our work last December was a major catalyst for the change and improvements made!

We're looking forward to seeing Sarah back in Perth very soon.

Sarah is coached by Matt Dixon at Purple Patch Fitness.

Reece Barclay - 25-29 Age Group

But the performance we wanted to feature in detail on the blog this week more than anyone else's is that of Reece Barclay - who was first age-grouper out of the water last Saturday:

Reece (wearing Huub of course) took out the age-group swim in 50:14

As you might expect Reece has a significant swimming background, swimming at Hatfield swim club in the UK with PBs of 22.9 seconds for 50m freestyle and 52 seconds for the 100m - very quick indeed.

We met up with Reece during Huub Design testing at the Best Centre in Mallorca in June and had an in depth discussion about his swimming. There's no doubt Reece is seriously fast over short distances of 50/100/200 in the pool but perhaps hasn't reached his (extremely high) potential yet over longer triathlon swims. To use Swim Smooth terminology, he had a fantastic sprint "petrol" engine but hasn't yet fully developed his endurance "diesel" engine for longer distances.

This contrasts significantly with his fiancĂ© Lucy Charles who is the complete opposite (for the full story on Lucy see our blog post here). Lucy is not especially quick over short distances but can sustain an incredible pace over longer swims. In fact, despite her 100m PB being nearly 10 seconds slower than Reece's, she can easily beat him over 3.8km! Or should we say *could* easily beat him, because times are beginning to change...

The focus of our discussion with Reece in Mallorca was to get him to use Red Mist sessions to work on developing that diesel engine. Reece has incredible top end speed but the rate of drop-off in his performances over longer distances is significant. Red Mist sessions focus on developing that ability to sustain a strong pace over distance which is key to great triathlon and open water swimming. After just few months training the results are really beginning to show...

Reece finishes!

Here's what Reece said to SS Head Coach Paul Newsome after the race:

How did it go? Great! This was a very tactical race Paul! You would be proud...

The swim was crazy rough on the start line. People jostling for position. My plan at the start was different from other races I've done recently, I remember you saying start off slower to preserve myself and stop myself from red-lining too early. However at this race I needed to get far enough away from the bulk of the field so I put on the burners really hard for the 1st 300m. I had pulled a significant gap of about 25m over everyone by the 1st buoy such is my sprint speed. However for the next 1000m I could see that there was a pod holding the 25m gap behind me so I decided to let them bridge across and use them to catch some draft. 

I recovered a lot waiting for them to catch me and even more once I sat it with the pack. They were all strong swimmers. I felt really in control of the pack and was dictating the pace from the turn buoy at half way. The pod was too big for my liking so I decided to play a game putting in some real hard digs every buoy, this working perfectly as the ones struggling to maintain the pace got popped out the back and the pod had thinned to just a few by the final few 100m. 

The pace really ramped up towards the end but I knew that if I just held my position the front line then none of them would out sprint me. I went for it with 50m to go and only one of them managed to stay with me by sitting on my hip.

The red mist session have been key! I've managed to bring my threshold more in line with my speed but still feel there is so much more I can give. The fact that I can pull a 25m gap over 300m over the best agers in the world shows that I still have the potential to swim a lot faster. It's a work in progress but I'm really pleased with how it's improved so far.

Whilst it's unlikely you will be swimming at Reece's level yourself, there's a definite lesson to learn for all of us here. It could well be that your own natural physiology is biased towards that fast-twitch "petrol" engine like Reece's. In fact if you come from a team sport or gym background then it's very likely that it is.

Relative to your own level of swimming, do you have a tendency to go off to fast and then fade? Can you easily stay with the fastest swimmers in your lane at the beginning of a set but get dropped at the end? If so you need the exact same medicine as Reece - sessions with long sustained efforts where pacing is key. Get this right and your performances over longer distances will take some HUGE strides forwards.

Of course, you'll always have that turn of pace and like Reece above, you can use it tactically when you need it.

Guru Pro subscribers can find out more about Red mist sessions here and start swimming them here.

Swim Smooth!

Swim Smooth Clinics and Camps:

United Kingdom
Acton London Video Analysis Cardiff Video Analysis Clinic NEW High Wycombe Squad Starts 15th Sep (Free taster session)
SS Clinic Reading 8th Oct Northampton Video Analysis Clinic Yorkshire Squads (Pool & OW)
Yorkshire Video Analysis West Lothian Video Analysis Richmond SS Squad
Richmond / Wimbledon Workshops Salisbury 1to1 Analysis Twickenham Video Analysis
Lancaster SS Squad Swindon Video Analysis Felixstowe Video Analysis
Lancaster Video Analysis Northampton Swim Squad

SS Camp Lanzarote (English - Dutch) Training Camp Cordoba Spain Prague Junior Swim Club
Dublin Video Analysis Prague Video Analysis Swim/Tri Camps Alicante (English language)
Nijmegen Video Analysis & Stroke Correction Nijmegen SS Squads Zwevegem Video Analysis (English - Dutch)
Prague Junior Swim Club 1 Day Clinic Stockholm (English language)

Kuala Lumpur Video Analysis Kuala Lumpur Swim Squad SS 1 Day Clinic South Carolina, Oct 30th
Montreal Squads Montreal Video Analysis Hong Kong Video Analysis
Hong Kong Squads & Video Analysis Dubai Video Analysis NYC / SC Video Analysis
Montreal Clinic (French Language), Oct 22nd


cctrimom said...

Please, please, please bring a SS workshop or video analysis to Southern California

cctrimom said...

Please bring a workshop to Southern California

Paul said...

Hi cctrimom - we are actually going to be there on November 6th in Carlsbad, CA - unfortunately it's already fully booked - shoot an email to be kept posted on any cancellations - thanks!

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