Jan 31, 2011

Average Times for English Channel Crossings - Updated

Average Times For English Channel Swimmers

Open Water Source analyzed 1,612 individual solo crossings of the English Channel between 1875 and 2010 that are included in Julian Critchlow's database ofEnglish Channel swimmers. All solo, two-way and three-way crossings were included (with the 2nd and 3rd legs of the two-way and three-way crossing counting as solo legs). The average times found:

Average female time from England to France: 12:48 (429 total crossing)
Average male time from England to France: 13:24 (908 total crossings)

Average female time from France to England: 13:33 (94 total crossings)
Average male time from France to England: 14:19 (180 total crossings)

The average times on a country-by-country basis is found at 
Open Water Source. Some interesting comparisons include the following:

Average time of female swimmers from Australia: 11:01 (23 crossings)
Average time of female swimmers from Canada: 11:53 (29 crossings)
Average time of female swimmers from Czech Republic: 9:17 (6 crossings)
Average time of female swimmers from Mexico: 11:04 (11 crossings)
Average time of female swimmers from the Netherlands: 10:28 (14 crossings)
Average time of male swimmers from New Zealand: 10:41 (15 crossings)
Average time of male swimmers from Spain: 10:35 (8 crossings)
Average time of male swimmers from U.S.A.: 13:01 (218 crossings)
Average time of female swimmers from U.S.A.: 12:13 (106 crossings)

Jan 30, 2011

An American Open Water Swimmer in Germany

The 'American in Paris' theme resonates as I recently traveled to Germany for work meetings and to meet with new colleagues.  Along with that came my first international search to discover places to swim.

This aquatic adventure expands further the dynamics of my journey to swim the English Channel and the many challenges that come with this commitment.

Apprehension of doing not only work in a new environment, not knowing where I was going most of the time, speaking barely any of the native language while still being comfortable with their cultural fundamentals coupled with pressure of meeting colleagues for the first, exchanging experiences, seeking collaboration and cooperation with a focus on developing new global business made finding a pool to let my mental exhaustion drift away One Stroke At A Time. In my professional life I solve clients challenges in sustainability, energy and environmental management systems. Akin to those old advertisements from the German company, BASF, my focused services do not 'make the product itself per say, but improve the quality and environmental management processes that make the product better'.

What does this have to do with swimming the English Channel you might be asking, plenty.

Like life, school or sport - seeking approval from your colleagues, wanting to be accepted as part of the team, a peer or expert in this case, wanting to offer something that will further the effort, win, get a new client. Doing this within the context of not knowing the language as well as English adds to the adventure and uncertainty. Thus being able to listen carefully, relax, be patient and allowing the activity to develop in front you while you keep the end goal in focus, never letting it out of your sight. Swimming long distances, especially in cold water, is like this. Your senses distract you at times from the goal, many hours of dull, mundane stokes, discomfort, pain at times all contribute.

These challenges are the same as any new cultural or educational experience. Being resilient to the challenge to understand that one miss-step is just that, a single event but to keep going. Both my excitement of returning to Europe for business and swimming here added much to the experience.

While I was 'on my toes’ professionally from sun up to well past sunset, I still had to find time to swim. So I was up at 5-5:30 a.m. well before anyone at the hotel. Packing my swim gear, work clothes just like home the night before. A new challenge faced me, with blurry morning eyes. WHERE IS MY COFFEE? Eating what Americans would consider odd foods for breakfast that seem more like lunch (meats and cheese) is a way of life. Great fresh organic foods and fruits come as well. What I found most challenging was trying to find small healthy snacks, my beloved bananas to take to the office. Since I each many smaller meals throughout the day, eating larger meals less often is very hard, I simple run out of energy.

All of these details were eventually figured out, I swam each day and was able to be relaxed and get the real work done.

I only wish it was summer and I could be outside in a wonderful alpine lake like those near Mondsee area outside Salzburg, Austria! Crystal clear cold and what scenery with a mere 8k across, perfect workout!.

Alas, its winter and the lakes are not open yet so the pool was what I had. A recently made friendship with a wonderfully kind German Expat and talented swimmer named Silke Jansson, who works for Siemens in South Barrington, Illinois (just south of my hometown) led me to a pool very near the global offices of my company just north of Frankfurt in Bad Vilbel. I had previously done Google searches for pools and discovered that in Germany this gets you spa and water park facilities. After Silke helped, I then discovered the best phrase to use is 'sport pools' and then I got somewhere. I also learned that in Germany they don't call pull buoys' and fins by these names or it could have been I was being incomprehensible. They are called, utensils? So I have now dragged my 'utensils' 10,000 miles round trip just to swim.

I ended the week as expected with reduced mileage only getting in 25,000 yards but the experience of swimming in a new land, finding a pool, getting to and from, finding the lockers all with little German language skills lacking on my part was fun. I didn't end up in the women's changing room. They have the same challenges we do, warder aerobics classes interfering with lap swimming, some share lanes and some swim in circles. They have water exercise classes for seniors and these pools are very warm.  I felt just like this past summers US 10k Open Water Nationals with water waters temperatures in the 80's, ouch.

Friends in far places!

Along the way I took side trip to Salzburg, Austria to see an old friend and business co-worker Armin Stein and his family. Jennifer, my wife, was able to come along for the short weekend preceding my business and we had a wonderful time, dinners with our wonderful host and sightseeing in Salzburg which probably could be one of our top spots in the world. We organized some new business possibilities so the trip was productive.

Jennifer and I enjoy Salzburg and the hours of walking. This below picture is taken looking down from the 'sound of music' theater (Felsenreitschule – formerly the summer riding school for the Lipizzaner) where the Trapp family sang in the movie. Today it is still used for opera and music festivals such as the world famous Salzburg Mozart festival. One they are building a retractable roof over it. For those Americans that readily don't know, Austrians are indifferent to the commercialized 'sound of music' tourist business and being a proud and private culture don't really care much for Americans Hollywood impressions this has left, except of course for the tourist revenue coming from visitors.

We left Salzburg on Sunday returning to Munich where Jennifer was heading back home and I continued by bullet train to Frankfurt to find my new pool, hotel and next weeks work.

Jan 3, 2011

New Year, New Workouts

Hi to all 'One Stroke at a Time' followers...

Finished out 2010 with the traditional swimmers 100 x 100 yards (10,000 yards) back and forth in the local YMCA pool with a great group of folks. Pool swimming this distance after being spoiled in open water lakes and oceans really is a mental test, especially when its a 25 yard pool. What was funny to me was that 10,000 yards is no longer a no-big deal.  I spent my time concentrating on long strokes and being efficient to reduce stress on my neck and shoulders and keep my heart rate around 80. I cruised through each 100 yards at 1:25 on a 1:30 interval so basically touch and go the whole way.

Over the holidays my dad asked me a question. He asked if I had gotten to the point where I felt guilty if I didn't go to practice, I chirped right up and said...nope, love every time. some might be thinking, do I get tired, sore and stiff, yes I do. the body is very different now that I am 49.

Looking forward to 2011 I will be adding some yardage to the training and though I would share one of my coaches 'Top Secret' workouts (OMG some of these are tough!), this is one weeks worth. Because of work, I typically split them in half so early am and lunch time are common.

Will be setting up several ocean training swims 4-6 hours each) early in the year, leading to Tampa Bay Marathon (24 miles) swim is coming in April. After this I am sure 'Da Coach' will have plenty of dreamy lake Michigan swims among others to float around.

For you that know Marcia Cleveland, you appreciate her handy work here.

A # Repeats 8400
Yardage, 1 800 Warm up Choice
if done as 2 workouts 8 100 Alt Drill/Kick by 50s :05 Rest
4000 & 5200 20 100 Pull ALT BREATHE  5 sets of 4
with each interval in a set descending: leave :60, 1:35, 1:30, 1:25,1:20, & right into the next set 
8 50 Swim  #1-4: breathe choice, #5-8: breathe ev 5. :45
2x all of 1st time thru: Swim, 2nd time thru: FINS
this: Do the 200s on 2:50 & the 100s on 1:30 (or comparable for fins.)
1 4200 1 x 200, 4 x 100, 1 x 200, 3 x 100, 1 x 200, 2 x 100,
1 x 200, 1 x 100, 1 x 200, 2 x 50
1 200 EZ

B 8200
5000 & 5200 1 800 (75 sw/25K, continuous)
12 50 Alt. 50 Drill, 50 Swim
Do this set as 6x200, same pattern but one set only 12 200 Pull 2x thru (2 on 3:00, 2 on 2:55, 2 on 2:45)
1 100 EZ
10 100 Kick w/ Fins Fast Interval that gives you :10
1 3000 Straight w/ Fins, desc by 1000s, DPS (Distance per Stroke)
1 300 EZ

1 400 (75 sw/25K, continuous)
16 50 Kick/Drill by 25 Take :05
8 100 DPS, reduce SC (stroke count) thru set Take :05
10 300 Odds: Swim, Evens: Pull; Hold same time for all 10 4:30
12 25 E/F by 25 :30
1 200 EZ

D 9200
6000 & 3200 1 800 Swim, every 5th 25 backstroke
1 200 Drills
20 100 Pull Hypoxic by 100: 2-3-5-7, & and repeat 5x 1:30
Do this 3 800 Swim  Desc #1-3   Make 1st 800 your Warmup 12:00
all 3 600 Swim  Desc #1-3 9:00
with 3 400 Swim  Desc #1-3 6:00
FINS 3 200 Swim  Desc #1-3 3:00
1 200 EZ

E 7700
4100 & 4600 1 1000 Warm up Choice
3 500 Swim, Desc to Moderate speed 7:30
1 800 Pull Straight
2 sets of 4 200 Pull  2 sets of this, for a total of 8 x 200s 3:00
#1:1st 50 Strong, #2:1st 100 Strong, #3:1st 150 str, #4:all strong
1 100 EZ 2:00
1 800 Kick with Fins Gradually build thruout <:30>
4 200 Kick with Fins Desc 1-4 Fast interval (~:10 after #1)
8 100 Kick with Fins Desc 1-4, 5-8 Fast interval (~:05 after #1)
1 300 EZ

F 6100
6100 & 5300 1 800 Warm up as 200Sw, 200K, 200P, 200Sw
10 150 Swim, Desc 1-3 to Moderate speed, for 3 sets, #10 EZ 2:10
1 100 EZ
6 150 Pull, Desc 1-3 to Fast 2:15
6 150 Swim, Desc 1-3 to Fast 2:20
6 150 Pull Easily & Enjoy this, knowing how hard you have worked this week!
1 200 EZ