Do You Round Up Or Round Down In Open Water Swimming?

Do You Round Up Or Round Down In Open Water Swimming?

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Most open water swimmers train either regularly or occasionally in a pool while all professional marathon swimmers frequently train twice a day in their swimming pools.

Governed by the pace clock, pushed by intervals, swimming in circle patterns, competitive swimmers know exactly how far they swim in a pool. 10 x 400, 1000 warm-up, descending sets of 200s, hypoxic training with snorkels, sprint work with kick boards and fins, pulling sets with paddles and buoys, not a single meter is missed when a swimmer finishes with her workout.

How far did you swim today? How many meters did you put in? How long are you going tomorrow?

These are all common questions that are asked and answered within the yard or meter by swimmers.

We did 6,500 meters today. We put in a good 8,000m workout today. We gotta go at least 12,000 yards tomorrow,” are the answers. And some swimmers even go further. They HAVE TO do exactly the same number of meters, or end their workout in a 5 or 0 (e.g, 5,500 yards or 6,000 meters). These individuals gear their workouts to know precisely how far they swim.

But when it comes to training in the open water, do you round up or round down? That is, when you swim between rock jetties, around piers, along the shore, out to the buoy and back, or across the lake, do you know exactly how far you are swimming? Unless you wear a GPS unit under your cap or ask your escort kayaker to carry one for you, it is hard to know precisely – at least with the same precision in the pool – how far you swim in the open water.

So do you round up or round down?

If you think you swam 1.1 miles, do you say, “I did 1.1 miles…” or do you say, “about a mile” or “a little over a mile” or “almost one and a half miles“? Or do you even care? Is your preference time in the water? Like 30 minutes or 1 hour or 6 hours?

Or do you even care about distance or time, and just simply enjoy the tranquility and challenge that comes with swimming in the open water?

Photo shows Lexie Kelly at the Jamie Patrick’s Swim Camp in Lake Tahoe.

Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association