pool swim to ow swim

im doing a lot of pool swimming in prep for an IM whereas last year most of my swimming was in ow last year. I am seriously slow in the pool like 1:05 for 50metres but managed a half IM in 34 last year. what other factors other than the wetsuit mean I'm so slow. obviously technique is an issue but I am as cardiovascularly fit as I have ever been but feel like my goal of a 1hr hm swim isnt going to happen if im currently doing 2.5k per hour at the moment?


  • 1 hour IM swim - are you on the right forum image


  • 1 min 5 for 50m!

    Is an hour for I'm swim fast???

    The pros do it in 45 or less don't they??
  • Nick, Doner missed the fact that you said 1h5m for a HIM not a full IM.

    Personally I can relate entirely to our pace, and to your concerns. Our pace. That's correct.

    I've spent the past year going from learner to aspirant level. I don't measure my 50m time, but check the watch at 400m and 64Length mile. I'm now doing 400 in 10 minutes dead, and comfortably. 64 lengths in 42 minutes. This translated as 152 lengths in 1h43m in the pool. That was a shock and pleasant surprise, because I was fearing being way outside the 2 hour mark once fatigue kicked in.

    My mile times were my primary marker of progress, and for several months there was NONE. It was 47 minutes week after week. One training session I tried out my new wettie and I just ripped through the water. The brain clicked that the primary problem was not all that fancy stuff about catch and pull. It was that my legs hung down like great sea anchors. Watch the faster ones in the pool. It looks like they float as they rip past, leaving a wake like a speedboat. Quite simply, they have got the leg action going from the hip. They aren't trying to mill the water into a froth. Watch a fish swim: it bends its body from the middle and has got no muscle in the tail tips.
    I've still got a mass to learn about the kick action, but as I see it:
    -the legs prove the means to reduce drag
    -water is 6 times thicker than air
    -the arms provide the power (preferably the shoulders)
    -to increase arm power by 10% will take a year's gym and pool training
    -the power to drag relationship is an inverse square law, not a proportionate one
    -reducing drag enough to increase speed by 10% can take as little as a week or two.

    Try a pull buoy for 16 lengths, or better still go outside again. It's just for a refamiliarisation of what a high position in the water feels like.

    **Please don't drown. I did. The new position has other attributes too**

  • Blisters.he did the half IM swim in 34 last year and is wanting an hour IM swim...which is good but i think a few pirates are around that time.......


    but as you say 1min 5 for 50m in the swim isn't at that pace at all....I can just about manage that in the pool now and it  will work out at about 2.8k per hour if you keep it up...........

    the turning each end of the pool really slows you down and messes with the rhythm.....this doesn't happen in open water.......


    also look what your legs are doing.......mine drag down and really slow me in the water.....but in the wetsuit it the buoyancy supports them and so i swim much faster.....

    if like me you swim much faster with a pullbuoy between your legs and no kicking then this might indicate your legs are not in the right position and causing drag......


    the race day adrenalins will also have a factor......

    so keep on and try and get OW as soon as possible to see,,,,,,,

    the other thing to bear in mind sadly is that not all OW swims are accurate....buoys can move and other things in tri can affect teh distance....so it could be possible that the course you did was short and so 34 mins wasn't an accurate measure of your half IM time.....you would need to know if a lot of experienced swimmers thought the course is acurate.....

  • By reading your post, if you're doing 50m in 1:05 and a HIM swim in 34 minutes there is something strange going on there. I would have expected more like a 40-45 minute HIM swim. Wearing a wetsuit can correct some technique problems and that could be it. Most likely thing is that your legs are dragging through the pool and slowing you down massively. Wearing a wetsuit lifts your legs to the surface eliminating that problem and making you faster.

    I'd recommend next time your swimming in the pool to really focus on keeping your legs reasonably straight, brushing your big toes lightly together as you swim and ensure that your feet are splashing a little so you know they are high in the water. Just do it for 10 lengths with a break between each length and see how it goes.

  • Thank you everyone. You're confirming what I thought. I did a lot of Ow with a wetsuit as training and almost no pool training and so the legs thing must make the biggest difference for me. I will defo try to keep my hips up so any other tips would be great.
  • Keep you head low and your legs/hips will come up automatically ... a small dip of the head will make huge differences, pretend you are holding a tennis ball under your chin image

  • That's something I had pointed out the other week, head position. I'm constantly amazed by how much of a difference these little changes can make
  • I would also question your turns.

    My pool swim is slower than open water and I put a lot down to turns. Yes you can push off the wall but every turn requires a reach, a complete compression of the body and a push/extension. This all takes time. I suspect the bulkier you are the more the turn adds. Yes I am sure there is a 200 stone monster out there that can tumble turn faster than Phelps but I haven't seen him at my pool.

    I touch turn and can hold 1:00/50 for 1500m reasonably comfortably and take 1:20:00 for 3800m. OW I can do 1:13:00. If I tumble turn add 2seconds to each 50m.

    Other thoughts are drafting in OW saves 10% effort if done well. Or the course was short.


  • A properly executed turn can make you faster in the pool than in ow,  but I guess that most triathletes don't work on their turns as most tris are open water

    Could boredom contribute to your slower times?  I know that I slow down on some of my longer swims when my mind wanders or I get caught up with watching the antics of some of the idiots on poolside.  With ow at least you feel that you are getting somewhere and that tends to encourage me to keep working at it.

    Another possibility is currents in ow.  These could be caused by the wind or by the flow of the water through the lake.  Most ow routes tend to be circular so it is possible that you are flowing with the fastest bit of the current in one direction and then coming back in a slacker current.

  • see all the above , relax have fun!

  • Swam full 3.8k this morning, in 1:43 - reckon that'll do me image

    Last May I started out with 2 lengths ...
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