Don Oswalt's Tips to improve your Ironman open water swim
Don Oswalt's Tips to improve your Ironman open water swim

Don Oswalt’s Tips to improve your Ironman open water swim

Don Oswalt's Tips to improve your Ironman open water swim

On this edition of The Kona Edge we catch up with Don Oswalt who shares the benefits he’s gained from spending more time doing open water swims. He reveals things that he’s done that’s helped improve his Ironman swim dramatically with the chance to focus on improving his speed and technique and improve his form overall.

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BRAD BROWN:  Welcome back onto yet another edition of The Kona Edge.  I’m Brad Brown, it’s awesome to have you with us.  Don’t forget you can also reach out on various social media platforms. We’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Just search for The Kona Edge.  We head back to Charleston, South Carolina right now to chat to returning guest, Don Oswalt.  Don welcome back, nice to touch base once again.

DON OSWALT:  Hi Brad, thank you for having me back.

BRAD BROWN:  Don let’s talk about your swim.  You’ve mentioned you’ve worked a lot on your bike in the build up to Kona 2016.  As far as the swim goes, would you say that you’ve put a ton of time and effort in to improving your swim and get faster?

Spend more time in open water to improve your swim

DON OSWALT:  Yes for sure.  In 2014 I felt like I did not train well enough for the swim and so I really took time in 2015 to do a lot more open water.  We’ve got a lake that’s not too far from my house and I really took time to do a lot of open water swims at least once or twice a week and then just really tried to get some mileage in the pool.  It was all about not petering out in the swim this year at Kona.  That was my goal, was to just do a lot more open water.

BRAD BROWN:  It’s something I think a lot of triathletes’ neglect.  Getting out and having to sight, and not that your technique changes lots but there is a slight difference and the more you do it the better it’s going to be in the long run.

DON OSWALT:  Right yes.  It’s just time in the water, time in the pool, time in the open water.  It really gives you a chance to focus on being fast, having good technique and not getting worn out because then all hell breaks loose and your form just goes down.

BRAD BROWN:  Absolutely.  Let’s talk about technique.  Did you do much on that?  Have you done any sort of video analysis as far as coaching goes?  Have you got someone on deck who checks up on you and makes sure you’re doing what you should be doing?

Video Analysis can fix a few things

DON OSWALT:  Yes, I did have a video analysis done early in the 2015 season and it really helped me kind of focus on some areas that I was having trouble with, like sinking legs or splinting my legs when I’m swimming and kicking.  But I have not got in to see a swim coach here locally and I really should go back and get analysis of where I was and where I am now but you know swimming’s not my strongest suit by far and that’s probably what I’m going to focus on this off season. It’s kind of working on a little bit more technique and try kind of fix the few things that I still could use a little work on.

BRAD BROWN:  Looking at your triathlon career up to date, is there one or two things that you think you’ve done that’s helped improve your swim dramatically over that time?

DON OSWALT:  Definitely, swimming in groups, I guess taking classes, definitely hiring a coach if that’s what a person needs.  Those things definitely help because not having a swimming background when you’re trying to come into the sport and not having that background, it really puts you at a deficit and so any kind of aids, any kind of online information or hiring a coach that will really take you through what’s going to make you the best swimmer for your body type and how you’d get through the water.  That would be the hugest thing that I could recommend.

BRAD BROWN:  And as far as workouts go, what do you personally love doing in the water?  What’s your favorite workout to do?

Open water swim is therapeutic and fun

DON OSWALT:  I would say the open water.  Just being able to be out there and not have to follow the line, not have to worry about flip turns and all that.  Just swimming.  And I think that really has given me a chance to enjoy the water.  Not have to dread the workout to be able to take that 600 leap that I’ve got to and just kind of use that as a, it’s almost therapeutic in one sense.  Being out there and not having to worry about what my splits are and just really kind of taking it all in and doing some workouts while in the open water.  It’s just really been great.  I had 4 or 5 guys show up with me almost every week so it was kind of fun.  It made it a lot of fun but it was a lot of work too.

BRAD BROWN:  Brilliant.  Well Don thank so much for joining us on this episode of The Kona Edge, much appreciated.  We look forward to chatting about your bike next time out.

DON OSWALT:  Okay, thank you Brad.  Appreciate it.

About Us

Brad Brown is a 40 something age grouper that dreams of one day qualifying for and racing on the big island (He may have to outlive everyone in his age group though).

Morbidly obese in 2009, Brad clocked in at 165kgs (363lbs) at his heaviest.

He's subsequently lost a third of his body weight on the way to a half Ironman pb of 5:06 and a full Ironman pb of 12:21.


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