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2014-04-23 9:22 AM


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Subject: First IronMan; stroke?
Hello all,

I am an intermediate triathlete. I am currently a cadet at West Point and am registered for the IronMan in Cambridge, MD on SEP 20, this year. I am currently in training for U.S Navy SEAL screenings and selection so I have been heavily focused on Combat Swimmer Stroke (CSS). It is a modified version of the side stroke.

Now, I know that many people use the front crawl for their stroke of choice in most triathlons. However, I do not believe that I have the time nor the ability to take time off of training for my upcoming SEAL screeners with my CSS. Would it be an absolutely terrible decision to use the CSS for my first IronMan? I am planning on starting 5-10 minutes after the initial start to avoid the mass of crawlers.

Lastly, I am somewhat concerned with the cutoff time. I can swim an 8:00 500m using the CSS, and can swim a mile in a 25m pool using the CSS in about 40 minutes. Considering that my IM is going to be in a bay, I can assume I will swim a bit slower. Does anyone have any concerns that I will not be able to hit 2.4mi using the CSS in 2 hours and 20 minutes? (I believe that is the correct time).


2014-04-23 12:16 PM
in reply to: ActaNonVerba

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Subject: RE: First IronMan; stroke?
First things first, thank you for your service.

I am no expert but IMHO, I would not try and side stroke a whole IM swim. I would incorporate it into your race plan if its something your strong at but I dont see why learning to swim freestyle would hurt you or hurt your chances of screenings.

But...many people have finished an IM swim using breast stroke, back stroke, etc etc. If you are comfortable with that stroke and can train with it, then go for it. Good luck
2014-04-24 12:38 PM
in reply to: ActaNonVerba

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Subject: RE: First IronMan; stroke?
I don't know man, you might have a tough time getting in under that cutoff. I would try to go with freestyle.
2014-04-24 2:49 PM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: First IronMan; stroke?
While I have entertained the thought (theres even a $500 pool going) of doing the swim 100% butterfly, I haven't yet done it because its just not practical with 2700 people in the water with me (pretty sure I would take somebody's head off).... I would take the same approach to CSS. I get that you're use to doing the stroke..... but dude, you're going to get trampled. Just do freestyle.

Edited by Swimaway 2014-04-24 2:50 PM
2014-04-25 8:31 AM
in reply to: ActaNonVerba

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Subject: RE: First IronMan; stroke?
Originally posted by ActaNonVerba

Hello all,

I am an intermediate triathlete. I am currently a cadet at West Point and am registered for the IronMan in Cambridge, MD on SEP 20, this year. I am currently in training for U.S Navy SEAL screenings and selection so I have been heavily focused on Combat Swimmer Stroke (CSS). It is a modified version of the side stroke.

Now, I know that many people use the front crawl for their stroke of choice in most triathlons. However, I do not believe that I have the time nor the ability to take time off of training for my upcoming SEAL screeners with my CSS. Would it be an absolutely terrible decision to use the CSS for my first IronMan? I am planning on starting 5-10 minutes after the initial start to avoid the mass of crawlers.

Lastly, I am somewhat concerned with the cutoff time. I can swim an 8:00 500m using the CSS, and can swim a mile in a 25m pool using the CSS in about 40 minutes. Considering that my IM is going to be in a bay, I can assume I will swim a bit slower. Does anyone have any concerns that I will not be able to hit 2.4mi using the CSS in 2 hours and 20 minutes? (I believe that is the correct time).


Training to be a Navy Seal? Ironman will be a cakewalk, the "brutality" of the swim won't be anything compared to what your training offers. But I would recommend freestyle, even a mix.
2014-04-25 3:27 PM
in reply to: ActaNonVerba

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Subject: RE: First IronMan; stroke?
You're probably going to be fine. As a slow swimmer myself (2:00/100 on a good day), I understand your fear. In open water, in a swimming wetsuit, I am generally faster than I am in the pool. A mile in 40 minutes workouts out to 2.4 miles in 96 minutes, giving you over 40 minutes of leeway. For what its worth, your CSS is in the same category as my freestyle.

One thing I would stress is to do what is comfortable - race day is not a day for new things. If you can find time to work on your freestyle so you are comfortable, and more than that, efficient with it before race day, great. If not, go with what works for you.


2014-04-28 9:25 AM
in reply to: ActaNonVerba

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Subject: RE: First IronMan; stroke?

I did a 2 mile swim race and there were either 3-4 military guys doing that sidestroke at that race that were near me most of the time (I'm a slow swimmer). My observation was they were not able to swim very straight and it was scary to be near them as the stroke was crazy and personally I don't enjoy getting pummeled during the swim portion.

No need to wait 5-10 minutes to start the swim....just wait for the folks to go. It is a two lap course so fast swimmers may lap you and the same issue can occur with contact.

How far will you be training for using the CSS?

My suggestion is to do some free in your swim training and try mixing the two up a bit if your free doesn't come along enough.

I've done that race twice in September before IM/WTC took it over, be advised that there are a ton of sea nettles in the water and even with a full wetsuit I got stung ever race both in the face and on my hand. I'd suggest a full wetsuit and look at swimsafe which is a product that keeps you from getting stung.

2014-04-28 10:16 AM
in reply to: ActaNonVerba

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Subject: RE: First IronMan; stroke?
2014-04-30 11:12 AM
in reply to: ActaNonVerba

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Subject: RE: First IronMan; stroke?

What's an Army cadet doing training for SEALs?  :p

 

I'd focus on getting better at freestyle, and rely on CSS only as a fallback/recovery stroke if you get tired.

It won't hinder your training, it will help it.

2014-04-30 1:46 PM
in reply to: ActaNonVerba

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Subject: RE: First IronMan; stroke?
I agree with the idea of using CSS as a failback to possibly "rest" during the swim. If you're doing that please for the sake of those racing start on the outside. Also a good indicator as to weather or not you can make the cut off would be to try and swim 2 miles in the pool. If you can do it in the pool I'd imagine you could do it in a bay. I wouldn't imagine you'd be slower in the bay assuming you'll be in a wetsuit.
2014-05-05 12:35 PM
in reply to: ActaNonVerba

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Subject: RE: First IronMan; stroke?
Originally posted by ActaNonVerba

Hello all,

I am an intermediate triathlete. I am currently a cadet at West Point and am registered for the IronMan in Cambridge, MD on SEP 20, this year. I am currently in training for U.S Navy SEAL screenings and selection so I have been heavily focused on Combat Swimmer Stroke (CSS). It is a modified version of the side stroke.

Now, I know that many people use the front crawl for their stroke of choice in most triathlons. However, I do not believe that I have the time nor the ability to take time off of training for my upcoming SEAL screeners with my CSS. Would it be an absolutely terrible decision to use the CSS for my first IronMan? I am planning on starting 5-10 minutes after the initial start to avoid the mass of crawlers.

Lastly, I am somewhat concerned with the cutoff time. I can swim an 8:00 500m using the CSS, and can swim a mile in a 25m pool using the CSS in about 40 minutes. Considering that my IM is going to be in a bay, I can assume I will swim a bit slower. Does anyone have any concerns that I will not be able to hit 2.4mi using the CSS in 2 hours and 20 minutes? (I believe that is the correct time).


Thank you for your current & future service!!

I have trained several military personal, both active and hoping to gain admission to an academy or program (seals, recon, pararescue) in CSS and in freestyle/breaststroke/udnerwater.

The constitution that these military men have had is typically indestructable. They are young, eager to perform, eager to follow (the rigth) instructions to accomplish the task.

that being said, passing a CSS test/training is a different task than completing an IM swim. In my experienc CSS uses different msucles & metabolism than freestyle. CSS can be done as either a powerful intermittent stroke, or more frequent easy sidestroke. You could use it as recovery if the latter.

The main point is that you need a stroke in which you feel relaxed for recovery either physically or mentally. CSS can be dangerous for people around you unless you are as good as Stew Smith. Terry Laughlin of Total Immersion has worked with the seals in the past and I believe there is a teaching vidoe out there.

I'd suggest you check that out but also dedicate time to learn a tool that will give you more options...freestyle.

Good luck.


2014-05-08 9:52 PM
in reply to: ActaNonVerba

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Subject: RE: First IronMan; stroke?
An 8:00 for 500 yards should translate in to well under 30 minutes for 1,760 yards so something is not adding up here.

If you were able to hold 8:00/500 for an IM swim you should be under 1:10:00 for an IM swim which is very respectable in my world. I'm not sure how to address the issue of swimming with others. IM swimming can be pretty rough. I'm not sure that you are any more dangerous than someone swimming breaststroke.
2014-05-09 10:55 AM
in reply to: wannabefaster

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Subject: RE: First IronMan; stroke?
Perhaps his pace slows for longer distances. I can swim 25 much faster than I can swim 100. Same goes for 500 or a mile.
2014-05-09 9:10 PM
in reply to: VGT

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Subject: RE: First IronMan; stroke?
Originally posted by VGT

Perhaps his pace slows for longer distances. I can swim 25 much faster than I can swim 100. Same goes for 500 or a mile.


I agree. My pace is very different for a 500 than it is for a 50. However, my pace doesn't drop off too much between 500 and 1,500 yards. A little bit, but certainly not the equivelant of an extra :50 or so per 100. But point well taken.
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