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Old 11-10-09, 01:32 PM   #1
adamtki
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How does pool time translate into open water time?

Which is easier? In the pool, you have to deal with turns and you're not trailing anyone. If you can swim 2:00 minutes per 100 yards in a 25 yard pool, how does that translate to in an open water swim (with other people) since you can just keep your rhythm and maybe benefit from drafting.
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Old 11-10-09, 03:26 PM   #2
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For anyone who has trained seriously in a pool turns means faster times. There is no simple translation as the biggest single advantage of a pool vrs. open water is that the pool is smooth. Open water can vary from almost as smooth, to very significant waves.
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Old 11-10-09, 03:39 PM   #3
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For anyone who has trained seriously in a pool turns means faster times. There is no simple translation as the biggest single advantage of a pool vrs. open water is that the pool is smooth. Open water can vary from almost as smooth, to very significant waves.
I should clarify - open lake water. No significant waves.

So it sounds like the turns in a pool can make you faster so I should expect slightly slower times in open water swims.
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Old 11-10-09, 03:41 PM   #4
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I agree that the pool means faster times, but smoothness is not always an issue. Currents are also sometimes a problem.

One of the main advantages of the pool is the turns.

OP says "deal with turns" but if you are a competitive swimmer, turns are supposed to make you go a lot faster.
If you look at 50 m times in short (25m) and long course (50m) pools (yes a 25m short course, not 25 yd) the long corurse times will be slower because you do not have the turn to speed you up.
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Old 11-10-09, 03:42 PM   #5
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Probably going to get about the same answer from others...I think it really all depends on the conditions.

Pool swims - practically perfect conditions VS. Open water - could change at any moment

Leading up to the M.I.M. Olympic Triathlon this year I was pool swimming 1650 yds in avg. of 27-28 minutes. Come race day the wind was strong and the water was choppy yet my swim time was 26:16 (w/wetsuit).

So I wouldn't worry to much about compairing one to the other but rather building good technique.

Fred
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Old 11-10-09, 03:50 PM   #6
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Let me also state that I have come to enjoy open water a bit more simply becasue I can just swim without having to worry about the wall. I don't flip turn which may account for some of my extra time in the pool.

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Old 11-10-09, 04:13 PM   #7
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Let me also state that I have come to enjoy open water a bit more simply becasue I can just swim without having to worry about the wall. I don't flip turn which may account for some of my extra time in the pool.

Fred
I do the same, when in the pool I don't flip turn, push off the wall, or anything. I grab it with my hand turn around and swim back. Just because there is a wall doesn't mean you have to use it to your advantage, its a workout, not a race.
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Old 11-10-09, 05:02 PM   #8
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Just because there is a wall doesn't mean you have to use it to your advantage, its a workout, not a race.
As a competitive swimmer, I would say that this is an inefficient way to train. I do not flip turn to go faster, I flip turn because that way I can keep up a rhythm, i do not spend time "resting" (or breathing rather) on the wall, and the push keeps the whole lap at the same work level. In open water, you don't put your head up for a second to breathe every 25 yards.

If you don't push, you have to accelerate with a few big pulls, in the open water, you are swimming continuously, so the best way to replicate an open water swim is to push off the wall.

In water polo, the best way to train is to not touch the walls, ever. I have done many 2 to 2 laps, and i can tell you, during the water polo season, my distance swim speed slows, comparing to my long distance, rhythm workouts in swimming.

Turns and pushing is not cheating, it is inefficient, useless, and wrong. Learn to flip turn to enhance your swim workouts and improve performance
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Old 11-10-09, 05:52 PM   #9
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where do they actually measure the start and end of the swim race? Right at the water edge or further into the water?
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Old 11-10-09, 06:05 PM   #10
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As a competitive swimmer, I would say that this is an inefficient way to train. I do not flip turn to go faster, I flip turn because that way I can keep up a rhythm, i do not spend time "resting" (or breathing rather) on the wall, and the push keeps the whole lap at the same work level. In open water, you don't put your head up for a second to breathe every 25 yards.

If you don't push, you have to accelerate with a few big pulls, in the open water, you are swimming continuously, so the best way to replicate an open water swim is to push off the wall.

In water polo, the best way to train is to not touch the walls, ever. I have done many 2 to 2 laps, and i can tell you, during the water polo season, my distance swim speed slows, comparing to my long distance, rhythm workouts in swimming.

Turns and pushing is not cheating, it is inefficient, useless, and wrong. Learn to flip turn to enhance your swim workouts and improve performance
Its not like I am stopping and resting, my head isn't barely coming up from the water, I just tag the wall and turn around. However I agree it does break up my rhythym a bit.
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Old 11-10-09, 06:41 PM   #11
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I agree that the pool means faster times, but smoothness is not always an issue. Currents are also sometimes a problem.

One of the main advantages of the pool is the turns.

OP says "deal with turns" but if you are a competitive swimmer, turns are supposed to make you go a lot faster.
If you look at 50 m times in short (25m) and long course (50m) pools (yes a 25m short course, not 25 yd) the long corurse times will be slower because you do not have the turn to speed you up.
I looked up the world records. About 3.5 seconds difference for 400 meters (Men). There is a wiki with all the records and it is pretty up to date. I'd say the difference is slightly understated because long course (50 meter) pools are what get used for all the major competitions. The short course records are therefore not generally at events that the swimmers are peaking for.
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Old 11-10-09, 06:49 PM   #12
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Another thing to think about is swimming in salt water vs. fresh water in a pool. I can tell a difference in how much energy it takes to swim equivalent distances in one vs. the other. I also like to practice swimming in the ocean to remember not to inhale so much water when I take a breath.
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Old 11-11-09, 03:46 PM   #13
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Not that it matters but to clarify my post...I do push off the wall I just don't flip...I don't know how. If I did I probably would do it but since I don't - I don't. If I did know how I also would not consider it cheating...but that's just me.
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Old 11-23-09, 08:40 PM   #14
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From what I've seen if you are slightly unbalanced left to right swiming and you don't practice sighting in open water you are going to swim a lot zig zag patterns. I swim breaststroke in races because i have problems sighting and I'll beat stronger swimers out of the water because they swam about twice as far as they need to.
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Old 11-23-09, 11:48 PM   #15
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I'll beat stronger swimers...
Stronger being a relative term I assume. Breaststroke, even high level, should never be equal or better than the speed and efficiency of freestyle.
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Old 11-24-09, 04:18 PM   #16
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Stronger being a relative term I assume. Breaststroke, even high level, should never be equal or better than the speed and efficiency of freestyle.
This is true. By stronger I mean both in a pool on the same stoke the other swimmer is fast over distance x
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Old 11-24-09, 04:59 PM   #17
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I am faster in the pool by far. I tend to swim zig zags in open water. I am trying to correct that.
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Old 11-26-09, 02:58 AM   #18
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It depends... if you're comparing pool swim in jammers and lake swim in a wet suit, you might be just as fast. But, only if you are an experienced open water swimmer. Sighting (navigation) is a skill that takes time to learn and without it, you will very likely not swim perfectly straight in OW and thereby loose significant time. Also, if you're not used to OW, you might tighten up and loose time that way (very common for the first few times in OW).

The swimming technique translates from pool to OW, but that's about it...
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Old 12-31-09, 02:50 PM   #19
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Great question. I wish I knew! I know that when I look at my personal age group splits I always look a lot faster compared to my peers in open water. I think, as others have said, there are too many variables for a cut-and-dry formula. I would imagine that your comfort level in the environment and open water skills (or lack thereof) would make the biggest difference. I know some incredible pool swimmers who have been swimming most of their life - these men and women are like fish - and they can really kill a pool swim. Some are also great in OW, but they've built up OW experience. I personally love OW, not because I'm a super swimmer (I'm just decent I suppose), but because I feel like by learning to sight, to draft effectively, and trying to stay in the best line possible I can gain an advantage, or at least hang, with those who may be physically superior in the swim.
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Old 01-01-10, 06:51 PM   #20
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There's also a psychology factor to open water swimming for newbies. I've seen people train totally in a pool, then panic in black water - or at least be unnerved so much that they didn't come close to the times they were capable of.
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Old 01-04-10, 05:01 AM   #21
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As a competitive swimmer, I would say that this is an inefficient way to train. I do not flip turn to go faster, I flip turn because that way I can keep up a rhythm, i do not spend time "resting" (or breathing rather) on the wall, and the push keeps the whole lap at the same work level. In open water, you don't put your head up for a second to breathe every 25 yards.
Nonsense. I don't tumble turn in races so don't do it in the pool. I don't rest at the end of the pool, I use it as an opportunity to practice broken rhythm. When you're in an IM swim with 1300 other people thrashing around you often spend a lot of time stop - starting. And yes, I do put my head up every 150-200 mtrs to sight. Oh and just to be clear, I can tumble turn just fine, I just don't see the need; in fact I tend to do it when I'm feeling lazy.

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the best way to replicate an open water swim is to push off the wall.
When was the last time you pushed off a wall in an open water race?

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Turns and pushing is not cheating, it is inefficient, useless, and wrong. Learn to flip turn to enhance your swim workouts and improve performance
FFS, how can it be useless and wrong?? Learning to turn won't improve performance, swimming better sets or swimming in open water will.
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Old 01-04-10, 08:05 AM   #22
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You also have to factor in that in open water swimming (assuming you are swimming freestyle) most of your work is coming from your arms. In a pool, turns make use of your legs a lot more than your arms, so your arms get a break. All other things being equal, I would say the pool is definitely faster just because of less arm fatigue from the turns.

That said, I'm slow no matter what I'm swimming in, so take that for what it's worth...
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Old 01-04-10, 04:16 PM   #23
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Nonsense. I don't tumble turn in races so don't do it in the pool. I don't rest at the end of the pool, I use it as an opportunity to practice broken rhythm. When you're in an IM swim with 1300 other people thrashing around you often spend a lot of time stop - starting. And yes, I do put my head up every 150-200 mtrs to sight. Oh and just to be clear, I can tumble turn just fine, I just don't see the need; in fact I tend to do it when I'm feeling lazy.
I have done my fair share of mass swim starts, and I have yet to stop or start. People tumbling on me, attacking me, etc. is just reason to continue moving forward, possibly with a little extra push if necessary. On the other hand, I spend most of the swim in front. Just seems like a better result of training, no?

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When was the last time you pushed off a wall in an open water race?
Never. When was the last time you stopped and put your head up for a second? And if you do, then that must be much slower putting your head up during a stroke as open water swimmers do.

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FFS, how can it be useless and wrong?? Learning to turn won't improve performance, swimming better sets or swimming in open water will.
Training for open water is not about breaking rhythm, it's about swimming. Turning creates more of a simulation of continuous swimming than stopping every 25 yards. Furthermore, swimming generally involves many drills at different intensities. One may hold the same intensity throughout the drill if turns are used. If not, unnecessary intensity spikes come up even during a long distance set thus making your sets better quality. And as for performance... well, how do you think Andy Potts trains in the pool?

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Old 01-14-10, 03:55 PM   #24
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It depends... if you're comparing pool swim in jammers and lake swim in a wet suit, you might be just as fast. But, only if you are an experienced open water swimmer. Sighting (navigation) is a skill that takes time to learn and without it, you will very likely not swim perfectly straight in OW and thereby loose significant time. Also, if you're not used to OW, you might tighten up and loose time that way (very common for the first few times in OW).

The swimming technique translates from pool to OW, but that's about it...
I tend to agree. I prefer open water and only pool swim in the winter. Every year I see pool swimmers entering the ocean for apparently the first time. They have the strength and stamina, but are often confused by the moving waves (which you don't have in the lake) and swirling currents.

The bigger confusion factor is navigation; finding your mark and swimming a straight line to it. There are no lines on the bottom of a lake or ocean, and often the visibility is such that you cannot sight on anything underwater anyway. You have to learn to find objects on shore and line them up in a glance to hold a course. I think also the limited visibility underwater might freak out some swimmers not expecting that. (the black water thing someone mentioned)

The big key to OW navigation is finding something you can see every couple of breaths and sighting that reliably. I turn my head both ways when I swim, so I have learned to sight objects to either side to keep me lined up, and to have a set of objects in the direction of my goal that I can sight and line up to verify my track every now and then. Learn to do that and you should be well prepared.
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Old 01-16-10, 04:31 AM   #25
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I have done my fair share of mass swim starts, and I have yet to stop or start. People tumbling on me, attacking me, etc. is just reason to continue moving forward, possibly with a little extra push if necessary. On the other hand, I spend most of the swim in front. Just seems like a better result of training, no?
If people are attacking and tumbling on you it's fantasy to think you won't have to break rhythm at some stage. If you're always at the front you must have done 45-50 minutes in your last IM, correct? I'm sure flip turning has nothing to do with folks swimming 50 minutes - it's what they do in between


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When was the last time you stopped and put your head up for a second? And if you do, then that must be much slower putting your head up during a stroke as open water swimmers do.
Why? When I did surf lifesaving as a kid we were taught to swim with head out of water so we could constantly watch the people we were rescuing - and good surf lifesavers are fast open water swimmers. The open water swimming I do will always require broken strokes, whether it be to duck dive under heavy swells, roll with cross waves or any number of other obstacles. Maybe you just swim in nice flat lakes...

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Turning creates more of a simulation of continuous swimming than stopping every 25 yards.
If you're flip turning every 25 metres you're only swimming 15m. Watch any video of a race swimmer (thorpe, hacket, phelps) and you'll see the pace they gain from kicking off the wall - that's why the world record for 400 metres is 8 seconds faster for short course than long course - an advantage that simply doesn't carry to open water swimming.

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Furthermore, swimming generally involves many drills at different intensities. One may hold the same intensity throughout the drill if turns are used. If not, unnecessary intensity spikes come up even during a long distance set thus making your sets better quality. And as for performance... well, how do you think Andy Potts trains in the pool?
As I said before, better sets and swimming more will make you a better swimmer, not learning to tumble turn. I'll bet Andy Potts spends absolutely NO time doing tumble turn drills for triathlon, but I bet he spends time doing stroke drills - even though he strokes 50 times more than he turns. There's a clue there to what's more important.

If you want to swim better, swim more and better sets. if you want to flip turn fine, but if people don't want to, that's fine too.

If you want to swim open water better, get to the ocean, swim open water and never flip turn - will be the best training for open water you can get.
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