Replicating Rough Water For Competitive Athletes

Replicating Rough Water For Competitive Athletes

We believe deck-ups are one of the key training exercises for any competitive open water swimmer or triathlete.

Deck-ups are race-specific skills that are important for serious athletes to work on in order to be competitive in races where there are onshore finishes (and, of course, swim-leg transitions).

A deck-up is where swimmers pull themselves out of the pool after each swim and dive back into the water for the next swim during an interval-training set. The set prepares the athletes for the end of an open water races or the swim-bike triathlon transitionsn where athletes experience heart rate spikes from swimming in the horizontal position to running in the vertical position.

But sometimes the deck-up can be a mess-up.

We visited Tower 26, a cutting-edge open water swimming and triathlon club in Santa Monica, California and joined them in their deck-up workout.

Coach Gerry Rodrigues asked the swimmers and triathletes to do two sets of 20 x 25 on 30 seconds. The odd-numbered 25’s were butterfly; the even-numbered 25’s were “dolphin” where the athletes pushed off the bottom, dolphined to the surface and dove back under to simulate dolphining at the start and finish of open water races.

To more closely replicate rough water conditions, the water level was dropped and the lane lines were removed. So, there was a shallow pool (1 meter) + no lane lines + athletes doing butterfly and dolphin fast + deck-ups + dives back into the pool. As a result, the pool was sloshing around like a decent rough water swim.

A great open water swimming and triathlon swimming workout – the absolutely closest replication to a real rough water swim we have experienced in a pool ever. Not only were the intervals tough, it was a great aerobic workout that worked on race-specific skills.

Photo of Adam Stevenson from the 2009 Axxess DSL Ocean Racing Series in Nelson Mandela Bay.

Copyright © 2010 by Open Water Source
Steven Munatones