ISHOF Fran Crippen SafeSwim 2011

On the weekend from Friday May 6 to Sunday May, 9, 2011 the International Swimming Hall of Fame hosted the Centennial Celebration of Fort Lauderdale’s Famous Beach and International Swimming & Diving Heritage. As part of the effort to promote safety in open water swimming, ISHOF and the Crippen family introduced the 1st Fran Crippen SafeSwim event in celebration of the late, great swimmer who passed away in a race in Dubai last October.

I drove up to Fort Lauderale on Saturday morning to take part in the 1 Mile Race. The course was setup as a straight one mile ocean swim both starting out of the water and finishing out of the water on the beach. One would think that after the Swim Miami only about a month ago I would have known better and learned how important of a role strategy and actually having a race plan is in open water swimming.

So let me tell you about the mistakes I made that Saturday morning. The one thing that was different from Swim Miami was the beach start and finish. The running start had me get all excited and made my racer instincts go crazy. Running in the ocean behind Olympian Peter Vanderkaay made me take a chance and after the first few dolphin dives I was swimming as hard as I could to keep up with Peter and the lead pack taking a right turn at the first turn buoy swimming towards the finish. It didn’t last long and even drafting off their feet wasn’t an option anymore…they had taken off. It should be obvious to anyone that a guy who swims about the same yardage a week as someone like Peter does in a single workout shouldn’t try to out swim that other person.

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Chris Morgan, good friend and former coach of mine, is organizing a series of swim clinics in collaboration with the Swiss Swimming Federation. The clinics always feature a world class athlete as well a surprise Swiss athlete and are held a the training base in Tenero. The first clinic presents butterfly with Mike Cavic. Get more information about the Watershops clinics here and view the program for the first clinic here.