Swim faster without spending more time in the water
Discover the 4 most common swim killers and how to fix them so that you can shave minutes off your swim time.
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BRAD BROWN: You’re listening to The Kona Edge, welcome back and it’s time to talk some swimming today and a great pleasure to welcome someone back onto the podcast who has been on before and I chat to people from all over the planet, but this one literally is probably 13km from where I’m sitting right now.
Keri Delport, welcome back onto The Kona Edge.
KERI DELPORT: Thanks so much, always great chatting to you.
Looking for Ironman swim inspiration? Listen to this…
BRAD BROWN: Keri, let’s talk some swimming. You’ve shared your story with us and how your journey into triathlon started and if someone hasn’t listened to that yet, I’d really urge them to go back because that story is incredible.
After the doctors told you you weren’t going to run again, they said you can swim, you started swimming, out of the three disciplines, which would you say is your best?
KERI DELPORT: Out of the three disciplines, my mind is probably, but you know what, I enjoy all three, I think I’m consistent in all three and that’s probably what helps. I’m not the fastest swimmer, I’m not the fastest cyclist, I’m not the fastest runner, but I can hold a pace consistently without getting caught up in ego, per se.
BRAD BROWN: Let’s talk about your swim, have you made some big strides and big gains in your swim over your triathlon career?
KERI DELPORT: Yes, definitely, definitely, it’s been great. I can’t even tell you, I think when I started swimming, I was swimming just over two minutes per hundred, I’m now down to probably 1:33 per hundred, over the course of the few years I’ve been doing Ironman.
BRAD BROWN: That’s a huge improvement. What do you put that improvement down to?
Focus on your swim technique to qualify for Kona
KERI DELPORT: I think swimming technique most of the time, so again, not getting caught up in group training, but rather focusing on your own technique.
I went for swim analysis with my coach, who pointed out some basic errors. One of the biggest things that I think has helped me and it’s going to sound like an incredibly simple thing, is I squeeze my bum when I swim and it sounds so crude and so simple, but actually it just helps your body float better. Just focusing on that, focusing on your legs kicking straight as opposed to out. I didn’t realise how gross my swim technique was until I watched myself in a swim analysis.
So, just focusing on what your body is doing and where your arms are actually going, rather than just dragging yourself through the water, actually being quite conscious in it.
BRAD BROWN: You mentioned not getting caught up in a group setting, do you swim squad or do you do all your swim training on your own?
KERI DELPORT: I do all of my training on my own, swim, cycle and run. All swim sessions are solo.
BRAD BROWN: That’s interesting Keri, was that a conscious decision? I know in our first chat you mentioned that you trained with the guys from My Training, I know they do swim squad, is it a conscious decision that you want to do everything on your own so you can just focus on you?
Why going solo in Ironman swim training can benefit your Kona goal
KERI DELPORT: Yes, it is. I was finding when I was doing squad swimming, squad swims are great and I really urge people who are wanting to get into the sport to do that because I definitely think it’s beneficial for a lot of people. I, myself, was finding that I was swimming, like I mentioned earlier, just sometimes too much out of my comfort zone. At other times I was ending up behind people in a lane that I was faster than.
You’re never quite swimming to your own potential, you’re always reliant on who is in front of you or who is behind you.
I made the conscious decision to start training on my own so that it’s my pace, my vibe, my race, to what I needed to do.
BRAD BROWN: Interesting, as far as workouts and swim sets, what are some of your favourite things? What do you love doing in the pool?
Keri’s favourite Ironman World Championships swim set
KERI DELPORT: I hate drills, I can tell you those are my worst. My favourite kind of swim set is probably the ones that ladder down in terms of the time. Having a set that goes 400, 200, 100, 50 and then kind of going at intervals and then repeating them x 7.
Those are probably some of my favourite sets, because you don’t actually, you’re not then thinking about flip, I’m swimming far, you’re concentrating on holding a time and then it just gets easier as each set goes because obviously you’re building down and then your pace is just picking up. I find those sets are my favourite.
BRAD BROWN: Brilliant Keri, that’s fantastic. I look forward to catching up and chatting about the bike, but we’ll save that for another day as well. Thanks for your time today.
KERI DELPORT: Great, thanks again Brad.
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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