How a background in skiing helped Rasmus Svenningsson master his Ironman swim

How a background in skiing helped Rasmus Svenningsson master his Ironman swim

We are joined once again by Rasmus Svenningsson on today’s edition of The Kona Edge as we talk swimming. Rasmus reveals his secrets to improving his Ironman swim and talks about how his background in skiing helped him to adapt to swimming.

(Read the transcription of our chat here)

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BRAD BROWN:  Welcome back onto yet another edition of The Kona Edge, my name is Brad and we’ve got Rasmus Svenningsson on the podcast once again. Rasmus, welcome back, good to touch base.

RASMUS SVENNINGSSON:  Thank you very much.

BRAD BROWN:  Rasmus, let’s talk about your swim and I’m not even going to ask you if you think it’s a weakness because even if you say it’s a weakness, I’m not going to believe you. A 55:23 in Kona last year, you might not think it’s that strong, but gee, you’re a great swimmer!

RASMUS SVENNINGSSON:  Yeah, for sure, yeah.

BRAD BROWN:  What’s the secret to swimming a great Ironman swim, a sub hour?

RASMUS SVENNINGSSON:  Well, I don’t have a swimming background, so I started swimming maybe two/three years ago and I think when you don’t have that swimming background there’s basically no secret to it. You need to be really focused on every session and you need [** 0.34.05] and you need a certain volume. I think the thing that has improved my swimming the most is just to swim more, stay focused while you swim and try to cover as much mileage as possible. Of course you need to have a certain amount of intensity also because otherwise you’re not going to improve, you should definitely, for sure, be really focused on how you swim and the technique but you also need to drop back sometimes and just try to swim as [** 0.34.42] to ensure that you actually progress in the water. I would say to swim as many times a week as possible. It’s better to swim five times 2km than four times 4km. I think the frequency to get the feel for the water, as many times a week as possible.

BRAD BROWN:  I’m going to ask this question, it’s probably a difficult one to answer but my business partner is a  pretty good triathlon coach and he works with a lot of people who are late onset swimmers, they’ve not learned to swim, they’ve learned as adults, and I’ve said this on the podcast before, he reckons it’s the guys and girls who played ball sports growing up that have got a better chance of taking to swimming. I wonder if you feel the same way about skiing. It’s using your legs and arms at the same time and I think for people who aren’t used to doing that, swimming can be quite unnatural. Do you think that even though you started swimming later, that has helped you a bit?

RASMUS SVENNINGSSON:  Maybe, I think the main reason, the main help I had from my skiing in the swimming is I have developed a natural endurance capacity in my arms that I have a great benefit from in swimming. I’m not completely unused to using my arms in endurance sports, so I think that might be the main reason for why I have adapted to swimming quite easily I would say and the coordination part, I don’t know. I wasn’t a very good technical skier actually and I don’t know if I’m, I don’t think that I’m that good technically in the water as well but I’ve got a good engine and decent power I guess and endurance in my arms and I can live rather well on that, but of course I need to improve the [short?]/

BRAD BROWN:  Favorite workout in the water?

RASMUS SVENNINGSSON:  One hundreds, for sure, definitely, like 20-25 x 100s, 20 seconds rest, they should all go a little bit faster, like you can do five on a certain time and then you go down one, two, three seconds for the next five and then another, they should be rather progressive and I think 100s are super great.

BRAD BROWN:  For those of us who can only dream of swimming a sub sixty minute Ironman swim, those 100s, what are you going off at time-wise, what’s the turnaround, you say a couple of seconds break, but what’s the turnaround?

RASMUS SVENNINGSSON:  For people aiming for one hour –

BRAD BROWN:  For you, what are yours, when you do those 100s, what are you going on?

RASMUS SVENNINGSSON:  I’m doing like 1:20 now in a long course pool and maybe 1:17 in a 25m pool, but then it’s really hard for me. I think I’m getting a little bit better when I go out in the open water actually.

BRAD BROWN:  You’re trying to swim away from the sharks Rasmus, that’s what it is!

RASMUS SVENNINGSSON:  For sure! I’m really terrified of the sharks.

BRAD BROWN:  Sorry, that was a bit of an inside joke because before we started recording we were actually talking about swimming and trying to avoid the sharks, that’s what it is.


BRAD BROWN:  Rasmus, it’s been great catching up, I look forward to talking about your bike but we’ll save that for next time.


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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