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Swim the Gibraltar Strait

One of the most coveted open water swims on the planet is the Gibraltar Strait. While it’s not one of the longest swims, it’s one of the few places to swim between continents. Most swimmers leave from Tarifa, Spain — which is the most southern tip of Europe — and swim to Morocco, in Africa. The distance is about 10 miles or 16 kilometers, but strong winds and currents can cause swimmers to go further. Swimmers considering a Gibraltar Straits swim should know a few things: The weather is unpredictable. In fact, many swimmers get delayed several days or have ...
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How much should I kick my legs?

This is question I'm asked very often. It's normally asked by a swimmer who's having a hard time getting their legs to float. Consequently, they resort to kicking harder. Then, because the leg muscles are the largest in the body and use up the most energy, the swimmer gets exhausted very quickly. In open water swimming, the legs should be used to help balance the swimmer. This often means using a two-beat kick, which means each leg kicks only once for each arm cycle. But what if I need to kick more to keep my legs up? Well, then you ...
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How to Avoid Shoulder Problems

Swimming can wreak havoc on shoulders. It seems that "swimmer's shoulder" is as common as "tennis elbow" these days. There are many potential causes for swimmer's shoulder but I have found that there is a common stroke habit that can become a potential source of shoulder problems. When the hand enters the water, it's important to reach through the water -- rather than over it -- and extend the arm.  This lead hand glides, while the back hand pushes water and creates forward momentum. In addition to gliding, the lead hand is "catching" the water. This is the act of ...
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Swim for a Cause

Open Water swimming is so freeing, to me. There’s something about being “out there” in the natural elements can be quite soothing. Although I always swim with a group, when I swim I’m alone. I am focused and closed off from whatever is happening on land and in my digital life. It’s liberating. But open water swimming is also about community and bring people together. There’s nothing quite like socializing with fellow swimmers after a hard race. These people share a common passion to swim faster and support each other in this endeavor. The sport is filled with bonds of ...
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Swimming with Distance Per Stroke

During each workout, I make sure that I am thinking about my distance per stroke.  I want to make sure that I am getting the most efficient use of each pull. I focus on keeping my lead arm extended — gliding — while my pulling arm is generating forward movement. One of my favorite sets I use to practice distance per stroke is called Pool Golf. I might do, say, 8 x 50s on 1:30, which gives me plenty of rest. I count the number of strokes I use to complete the 50, counting each arms stroke as one. I ...
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Try this freestyle set for buoy spotting

One of the most challenging aspects of open water swimming is taking a direct route. Unlike a pool, there aren't visible lines running underneath you to help you swim straight. Open water swimmers must lift their heads, occasionally, to spot a buoy or landmark. Keeping the head in the water during freestyle helps maintain a correct body position. Lifting it, however, causes the feet to sink...especially if the swimmer is not wearing a wetsuit, which helps buoy the swimmer. If some of your swim practices are in a pool, consider a set of 100s. Three times each 25 -- or ...
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