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I personally think that anyone (average) can do a 1:15 swim at Ironman on limited training over 10-12 weeks swimming a few times a week.

 

But what does it take for said average swimmer to get down to 60mins?

 

Or just to take off 15 minutes.

 

Before slower swimmers reply this also applies for you. Getting from a 1:30 down to 1:15 etc...

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I personally think that anyone (average) can do a 1:15 swim at Ironman on limited training over 10-12 weeks swimming a few times a week.

 

But what does it take for said average swimmer to get down to 60mins?

 

Or just to take off 15 minutes.

 

Before slower swimmers reply this also applies for you. Getting from a 1:30 down to 1:15 etc...

 

Same principle going from 60 minutes to 45...

 

Train 4 to 5 times a week (3-5k) in the pool with 2 quality squad sessions for 6 to 8 months

 

Waiver: (Not an expert btw!)

Edited by Coach@triathlon

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Confidence. I consider myself a good swimmer, yet I talk to people who are faster than me who think they are crap. Think you're a good swimmer, and train like a good swimmer; not just aimlessly doing laps at the pool with no point to them. Often I see a squad at our local pool that has one of towns best triathletes in it. He did 20mins at mool this year I think. And I never see this squad just doing aimless laps. Drills drills drills drills. I reckon I'd be around your 1:15 to 1:20 mark for an IM swim, and I'd love to be at the 60min mark. Will be one day. Join a squad - find someone who's better than you then aim to get better than them.

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I personally think that anyone (average) can do a 1:15 swim at Ironman on limited training over 10-12 weeks swimming a few times a week.

 

But what does it take for said average swimmer to get down to 60mins?

 

Or just to take off 15 minutes.

 

Before slower swimmers reply this also applies for you. Getting from a 1:30 down to 1:15 etc...

 

I went from 1:12 to 59mn.

All I did was 2/3 squads during the week + 1 open water swim/week

This for the 6months leading into busso last year

Edited by Will The Frenchman

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Same principle going from 60 minutes to 45...

 

Train 4 to 5 times a week (3-5k) in the pool with 2 quality squad sessions for 6 to 8 months

 

Waiver: (Not an expert btw!)

 

haha not an expert.

 

What do you consider a Quality session?

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haha not an expert.

 

What do you consider a Quality session?

 

Quality: meaning someone is watching your stroke, and you do a mix of sets covering a range of energy systems

 

Example:

 

Warm up - 200 Pyramid (1k)

 

Lactate Tolerance Set - 1x 50 h, 1 x 50 e, etc. up to 8x 50 hard with a 400 recovery. (2400). Goal of the set is a lactate build up with a set of 50s swum at 95-100% with minimal rest/recovery

 

800 with fins 100 kick/100 finger trail (800)

 

4200 total

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Intervals, intervals, intervals!

 

50's, 100's, 200's - 30secs rest in-between efforts. Keep going until your lungs feel like they are about to explode. :lol:

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The PIS boys should be on soon with the sub-60 formula that worked for them.

Like sands in the hourglass, these are the days of our lives....................

Swim 3 or 4 times a week, with 20 of your peers, with no aimless laps. Listen when people who are good swimmers give you advice and watch how they do it. I got a lot out of watching cominotto, 3x chapman etc swim the sessions.

I swam my first lap at the tender age of 32, in Nov 08, and swam 56min at IM last month.

Disclaimer: I am hard core PIS member and still don't know what kick and catch up is. :lol:

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Find a repeat time that challanges you, also helps to teach you not to fly the first bit and then die in arse. I agree that its good to have a coach watch your stroke at least once a week. Learn to kick enough that you can balance yourself and be comfy minus the pullbouy. And practise what you race, get a few mates and do some open water sessions and practise sitting on feet and hips and being relaxed when someone is smacking you over the back of the head

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In other words I should join a squad to get from 1:07 to 55min :lol:

 

There is something about swim training that is differn't to run/cycle training. I don't know if it is the water or the fact that I have to use my arms, or if it is becasue I can't breathe whenever I like :-) I see swim squad for the youngsters at my pool and it scares me :-) They look so faassssst

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The PIS boys should be on soon with the sub-60 formula that worked for them.

I am guessing you don't read firstoffthebike.com?

 

They had a PIS approved program to go 8:32

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I've never raced an IM. However I have raced swims up to 5k and swam the IM swim in the pool without a wetty in 54min.

My formula is to swim 10k per week, week in week out. Not 20k one week then burn out. Around 10k every week.

Swim 2k main sets of good quality, regular time trials and if you live in a state where open water swim race are available race as many of them as possible. Swim with swimmers that are better than you and dont feel you have to swim with 20 other people in a lane at 5.30 a.m to improve.

Learn to motivate your self and swim hard sets against the watch. The watch can be a great training partner if your are honest and disciplined.

Also dont lock your self into the same scene week in week out. Swim in different locations, use your imagination and keep it fun.

Leave the bloody wetsuit in the cupboard until race seasom comes round.

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2008 did squad 1.08

 

2009 did squad 1.04

 

2010 no squad 59. (about 6km a week).

 

I feel that squad was not helping me the rest of the week with cycling and running. I felt fresher overall by swimming all in the afternoons and riding running mornings instead of really early squad. Got more sleep too.

 

2010 :lol: no squad for Busso.. put me down for a 57. :lol:

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I am too lazy to remember any new sets so I do the same sets week in week out.

 

3 swims/ week solo. The local swim coach is watching but only so he can give me a hard time about being a lazy triathlete.

 

1st swim - easy swimming, all drills and recovery as too tired from weekend training.

 

2nd swim - 10 x 200m main set, bit of a warm up and a few drills.

 

3rd swim - 5x 600m main set. This one I try to do well as it most replicates the type of swimming I'll be doing when racing.

 

Like all my training I try to keep it simple. Usually gets me out in about 55min. :lol:

 

I find I feel like I am swimming crap most of the time, getting nowhere near the times I know I can do. It is only in the last 4 weeks when I start to taper that my times markedly fall in the pool. It doesn't concern me any more and I don't get hung up on the times. Just effort and technique.

 

And I would be really interested in seeing what the PIS guys are doing in the pool.

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Same principle going from 60 minutes to 45...

 

Train 4 to 5 times a week (3-5k) in the pool with 2 quality squad sessions for 6 to 8 months

 

Waiver: (Not an expert btw!)

 

 

Coach I need some of your expertise: The local pool here is closing for 3 months - yes there are other pools in the area - the quickest to get too would be about 45min each way. However there are a lot of good open water swimming beaches here and the water does not get tooo cold. My question is what to do with 3 months of open water type swimming before geting back into a swim squad. My swim sucks - for Ironman I usually swim around 1.10ish and have blown out to 1.20. I am 55.

 

My thinking is to make these 3 months a type of strength building period? 3 swims a week? 1 swim basically just swim for an hour concentrating on technique. 1 swim with pool buoy and paddles. And 1 swim doing a sort of fartleg swimming thing.

 

Think this would work?

 

THANKS

TIM

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Coach I need some of your expertise: The local pool here is closing for 3 months - yes there are other pools in the area - the quickest to get too would be about 45min each way. However there are a lot of good open water swimming beaches here and the water does not get tooo cold. My question is what to do with 3 months of open water type swimming before geting back into a swim squad. My swim sucks - for Ironman I usually swim around 1.10ish and have blown out to 1.20. I am 55.

 

My thinking is to make these 3 months a type of strength building period? 3 swims a week? 1 swim basically just swim for an hour concentrating on technique. 1 swim with pool buoy and paddles. And 1 swim doing a sort of fartleg swimming thing.

 

Think this would work?

 

THANKS

TIM

 

Mate I got your PM and am going to Port Stephens. We can have a chat if we meet.

 

I wouldn't periodise your swimming. Mix everything up in each session. Too much pull/paddles will affect your feel for the water etc.

 

An example for 3 sessions might be...1 session with long intervals@80%....1 session with shorter intervals (100s 200s)@80-90%....1 session with real short intervals@95% (25s and 50s)

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If the coach leaves and the new one doesn't have a clue with adults, find a new squad.

 

Ho hum, this is my task in the next few months and anywhere new is going to mean lots more travel to/from sqad. Or working on my own which is risky as my target is to pull 5sec/50m off my previous comfort zone pace.

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The PIS boys should be on soon with the sub-60 formula that worked for them.

 

You make that sound like it is a bad thing!

I am interested in hearing lots of different opinions..actually Donncha, what's yours?

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No expert but consumer's view. Port Mac 2010 52.50 or something.

 

Coach@'s advice followed to letter. At least 3 swims a week all year. 3-4 squads a week from Christmas. All 4kms+ building to I think 6km longest session a month out. 2 coaches with slightly different approaches. Mick's approach as above. Low priority to medley stuff, almost all fly with fins. His wife's approach more masters swim vs triathlon bias, ie kick no fins, no fins for any medley stuff, bit more drill. Complimented each other.

 

Giz I would be rooted for a day after each squad session but would parlay a one hour interval run to squad each Saturday so essentially did a 2.5hr run/swim brick and Wednesday would swim 5.30-7, brekky and kids to school straight into 2-2.40 run. Did very few long bike/run bricks but got the feeling of running fatigued every week.

 

Once a week in february did an open water surf squad session with lots of starts, ins and outs, sprints up the beach. Jabbs would be happy with the mongrel-o-meter readings from these sessions and race craft/belting/swim in any conditions benefits. I love it.

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Intersting comments. I don't like swimming......have limited it because I don't really enjoy the blackline, my squad mates take the piss out of me because of it. This year my goal is to make swimming enjoyable and do more of it. I'm not quick, though not slow, will be interested to see how I fair if I commit to 3-4 sessions as per the above posts.

 

Previously I have always questioned the amount of time I would gain by more swim training verse more running, though given the speed of the quick guys I now know I need to be out of the water with them to have any chance of keeping in touch before the run starts.

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I personally think that anyone (average) can do a 1:15 swim at Ironman on limited training over 10-12 weeks swimming a few times a week.

 

But what does it take for said average swimmer to get down to 60mins?

 

Or just to take off 15 minutes.

 

Before slower swimmers reply this also applies for you. Getting from a 1:30 down to 1:15 etc...

 

Started swimming in 1996 at 26years of age. Could of just do 50m.

 

Since then my fastest IM swim has been 54min and my slowest has been 59min.

 

My tips

Focus on technique. I know very fit guys that are very slow swimmers. If you get someone who knows how to break down a stroke and identify your flaws then you'll have something to focus and improve. That will save you a bucket load of time, without trying to get fitter.

 

1-2 swims PW is a waste of time. Your better off devoting that time to getting fitter on the bike and run

 

Minimum training PW = 3 x 1hr swim, but that will give you the bare minimum in terms of improvements

 

Get off time bases and focus on efforts and recoveries. Less focus on cardio (blowing your lungs) and greater focus on strength (paddles, band only, fly, etc) will take what you can do and make it better. Focsusing on cardio will only assist you in breaking down your stroke to quickly.

 

Make the strength work......work. Hard and fast swimming, short intervals (100-200) and long recoveries. Smash the muscles, not the lungs (save that for the last 6 weeks). Take all the rest you need so long as you can keep smashing yourself and HOLD pace. When the pace goes, the technique goes and STOP the set. No need to bring in more bad habits.

 

Ditch the pull buoy. Learn to balance in the water. Triathletes and pull buoys don't mix. They'll make your balance suck and as a result you won't be much faster in a wettie when it counts.

 

 

fluro

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There is a school of thought that would say you would be better off putting the extra time into your bike or run.

 

The swim is too easily influenced by outside factors on race day where the ride and more so the run are totally up to yourself.

 

No good training an extra 2, 3 or 4 hrs in the pool per week only to smacked in the face by someone on race day or being slowed by a big pack. You would be much better off knowing you could run 15min quicker

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There is a school of thought that would say you would be better off putting the extra time into your bike or run.

 

The swim is too easily influenced by outside factors on race day where the ride and more so the run are totally up to yourself.

 

No good training an extra 2, 3 or 4 hrs in the pool per week only to smacked in the face by someone on race day or being slowed by a big pack. You would be much better off knowing you could run 15min quicker

 

The main problem with triathletes and swimming is that we are following swimmers programs. Swimming events have nothing in common with a triathlon swim.

 

The guy that was coaching me n Tokyo completely redefined the way I train in the pool.

 

 

Zero time base work until 6 weeks to go

Big focus on technique done in 10-25m intervals, with a complete breakdown of the stroke

Big focus on learning how to swim very fast. We start at 15-25m efforts and only build distance once we have the speed. My benchmark was 20x25m all under 15sec on a 1min cycle. Then he would let me move to 50's

Tempo swimming......cadence, cadence, cadence. The golf drill should be banned for life. Triathletes need to turn over their arms not slow it down.

Open water swims rock.

 

You don't need to swim alot, IF the swimming is good quality. We would manage about 2-2.5km in an hour, but all quality and we were still recovered well enough to focus on where the time gains will be made the most.......bike/run

 

Google swim smooth website. Lots of good stuff in there.

 

What should a triathlon swim squad look like?

3 lanes doing rotations

Lane 1 would be working on speed (ie sprints, paddles, band only)

Lane 2 would be work on endruance and Triathlon specific skills and stratgies (drafting, pace changes, sighting, etc)

Lane 3 would be working on technical (identify what you can't do and focus on correcting that flaw)

Rotate every 20min.

 

What a triathlon swim squad should not look like

1km warmup mixed stroke

Main set

24x100 on a 1:30 (overseeding yourself so that you're down to a 5sec rest by the 1/2 way point, get too tired whack on the pull buoy :lol: , lungs are about the burst but your muscles feel fine). Boy that was good set. :lol:

500-1000m of kick drills or drills that are the same for everyone. Finz on.

400 cooldown.

 

 

 

fluro

Edited by fluro2au

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got the feeling of running fatigued every week.

 

I discovered the benefit of running fatigued by accident and now it's an integral part of what I do. On return to land running from knee injury, I started baby runs after each swim squad as an injury minimization strategy as I was already nicely warmed up. The runs got longer and I discovered the fatigue benefits. Plus it is very time efficient, a real bonus in finding a bit of extra family time. My longest double has been a 90 minute squad and a 1:45 run, all before breakfast.

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There is a school of thought that would say you would be better off putting the extra time into your bike or run.

 

The swim is too easily influenced by outside factors on race day where the ride and more so the run are totally up to yourself.

 

No good training an extra 2, 3 or 4 hrs in the pool per week only to smacked in the face by someone on race day or being slowed by a big pack. You would be much better off knowing you could run 15min quicker

I definitely take your point Short Black re: "better off knowing you could run 15min quicker". However something I found (unexpectedly) at IM this year was the difference on the BIKE due to getting out of the water 5 or 6 mins quicker than last year.

 

In 2009 there was plenty of room in the tent in T1 and a few guys here and there who I could work with on the bike ...I swam just under 63mins + 5(ish)min T1.

In 2010 the tent in T1 was totally packed, and then STACKS of guys out on the road who (once out on the flat/straight Ocean Dr section) formed a great little pace line ...I swam 57mins + 2min T1.

 

So whilst it is only 9 or 10mins dropped off my finish time from the swim (and T1) alone, I would think it is possibly several minutes that would have been dropped off my bike split due to getting on the bike earlier (and therefore into a good pace line) with the faster riders. I've always maintained legal spacing in every race, and so I know what you mean "being slowed by a big pack" when they come along. However over my (only 2) IMs, seeing the improved organisation of pace-lines I can only assume that the sooner I am out of the water the more organised/efficient these groups are. Whether that means less illegal drafting - I don't know.

 

I'm moving from a mindset of "IM is essentially a runner's/cyclist's race" to seeing the value in a good swim.

 

Suffice to say I'm very excited for what another few mins off my swim will do for the bike split next IM.

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Suffice to say I'm very excited for what another few mins off my swim will do for the bike split next IM.

 

Not to mention a tad excited at the prospect of what being able to ride and run in the month leading up next year's race might bring... e.g. after you've once again shut down a pace line on lap 1 that began pedalling 9 minutes before you did, you'll have the firepower next year to repeat, then repeat again. :lol:

 

And then bring them there kayanos down the chute before the clock strikes 9hrs.

 

WMD-freakin P

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I am guessing you don't read firstoffthebike.com?

 

They had a PIS approved program to go 8:32

 

No, that was an ex-pro's program which he used to go 8:32. Also, a quick Google search revealed that TC listed the swim as his favourite event back in '01 (when he was still a pro), because "it's all I seem to do".

 

I presume Peter was looking for a bit more detail.

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You make that sound like it is a bad thing!

 

Sorry, it wasn't meant to be. I'm genuinely interested in the sorts of swim stuff they did with their crap swimmers to get them sub-60, as they claimed (I think??) on a different thread that it was no big deal to get someone to 52 territory. I'm not interested in what Chappo did, because it's not relevant.

 

I am interested in hearing lots of different opinions..actually Donncha, what's yours?

 

I like Coach@'s approach.

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There is a school of thought that would say you would be better off putting the extra time into your bike or run.

 

The swim is too easily influenced by outside factors on race day where the ride and more so the run are totally up to yourself.

 

No good training an extra 2, 3 or 4 hrs in the pool per week only to smacked in the face by someone on race day or being slowed by a big pack. You would be much better off knowing you could run 15min quicker

Have to disagree, swim 1.10 and get out with crap riders, then bust your arse playing catch up on the bike and hey presto your legs are blown by the 15km mark on the run. You can keep this train of thought. :lol:

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Big focus on technique done in 10-25m intervals, with a complete breakdown of the stroke

 

 

As a swimming teacher - who spent a bit of time with adult learn to swim - this is THE most important factor in swimming. Doesn't matter how many miles you do in the pool - if you do them wrong you won't get a lot faster. If you learn how to swim correctly - you can definitely go from a 1:15 swimmer to a one hour swimmer!

 

I am lucky if I swim 2 x 3km sessions per week, and I always swim under an hour! Sure I swam as a kid - but probably for only 2-3 years! Since doing my swimming teacher and coaching licence - I have changed my swim stroke, and concentrate on proper technique! And if Ironman Japan's swim isn't too rough (it's an ocean swim) I can guarantee I will swim around an hour!

 

My swim coach gave me some good advice as a kid - it's not practice that makes perfect - it's "perfect" practice that makes perfect! And I try and apply that every time I swim! (I do say try - coz 9 times out of 10 I am too lazy to swim!!! :lol:)

 

:lol:

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As with any of the 3 legs, consistancy is the key. Like Coach@ said, this alone will make you a better swimmer, then start drilling down into sessions.

 

That said for my last IM in 2007 I completly ignored my swim (averaged 4km a week) and got out in 56, in hind sight if I had swam more it could have been a 50-51.

 

Have a coach (decent one) look at your stroke and if you have the chance have someone film your technique underwater (blatant plug click my sig). Either that or put a whole lot of mirrors at the bottom of the pool and watch your stroke (done that to, it's awesome).

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Like sands in the hourglass, these are the days of our lives....................

Swim 3 or 4 times a week, with 20 of your peers, with no aimless laps. Listen when people who are good swimmers give you advice and watch how they do it. I got a lot out of watching cominotto, 3x chapman etc swim the sessions.

I swam my first lap at the tender age of 32, in Nov 08, and swam 56min at IM last month.

Disclaimer: I am hard core PIS member and still don't know what kick and catch up is. :lol:

 

the krusty demon is pretty much spot on...total non swimmer who pretty much learnt what swimming is all about in the 3 months to ironman..and he is serious that he doesn't know what catch up or kick is!

 

technique and some drill have their place, but never devote a whole session to them. You have to be fit in the water to be comfortable in the water to swim fast in the water. You have to be strong to catch effectively, and you don't get that from floating up and down doing drills.

 

Get fit in the water, do swim hard but always controlled, and pick one main flaw. Think about fixing that flaw every stroke of every lap. Get some more advice and tinker again, pick the next flaw. Stroke is always a work in progress. Concentrate every lap on swimming well (that is body roll and catch/grabbing water and turnover, not glide or kick or catch up).

 

Watch good swimmers, it will rub off on you and communicate effectively how to swim. Watch their catch and how strong they are through the front of their stroke.

 

Get in the water as much as possible. Every day if you can. Even just 1km.

 

Oh and pull buoy and band, in combination or alone, are your best friends.

Edited by reactor1

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Ditch the pull buoy. Learn to balance in the water. Triathletes and pull buoys don't mix. They'll make your balance suck and as a result you won't be much faster in a wettie when it counts.

 

 

 

Sounds like the PISS/Sutto method? ;-)

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Ditch the pull buoy. Learn to balance in the water. Triathletes and pull buoys don't mix. They'll make your balance suck and as a result you won't be much faster in a wettie when it counts.

 

 

 

Sounds like the PISS/Sutto method? ;-)

 

Couldn't be further from the truth....or the PIS/Sutto method :lol:

 

Unfortunately there is a lot of misinformation out there, and comments like above do more harm than good. I really do feel sorry for the naive newbie who reads this stuff because the person writing it talks with authority on what they don't know or understand.

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the krusty demon is pretty much spot on...total non swimmer who pretty much learnt what swimming is all about in the 3 months to ironman..and he is serious that he doesn't know what catch up or kick is!

 

technique and some drill have their place, but never devote a whole session to them. You have to be fit in the water to be comfortable in the water to swim fast in the water. You have to be strong to catch effectively, and you don't get that from floating up and down doing drills.

 

Get fit in the water, do swim hard but always controlled, and pick one main flaw. Think about fixing that flaw every stroke of every lap. Get some more advice and tinker again, pick the next flaw. Stroke is always a work in progress. Concentrate every lap on swimming well (that is body roll and catch/grabbing water and turnover, not glide or kick or catch up).

 

Watch good swimmers, it will rub off on you and communicate effectively how to swim. Watch their catch and how strong they are through the front of their stroke.

 

Get in the water as much as possible. Every day if you can. Even just 1km.

 

Oh and pull buoy and band, in combination or alone, are your best friends.

 

I don't get this - you say that technqiue and drills don't really matter and then you say we should focus on our swim stroke or flaw every lap/talk to other good swimmers/ watch what they do. Isn't this working on your technque and in an essence doing a swim drill every lap? You just don't realise it?

 

Not being picky, just trying to work out what we should be focussing on when going to the pool.

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I don't get this - you say that technqiue and drills don't really matter and then you say we should focus on our swim stroke or flaw every lap/talk to other good swimmers/ watch what they do. Isn't this working on your technque and in an essence doing a swim drill every lap? You just don't realise it?

 

Not being picky, just trying to work out what we should be focussing on when going to the pool.

 

Yes technique and form matter. But don't sacrifice fitness and your training by floating up and down doing meaningless drills or doing kick sets. Focus on swimming well ALL THE TIME. Your technique and body position will improve as you get fitter and stronger, glaring flaws will show up and you concentrate on these WHILST YOU TRAIN.

 

People forget that the more they swim and the fitter they get, the more comfortable and efficient they become anyway.

 

You don't need to be able to kick to swim fast.

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You don't need to be able to kick to swim fast.

 

But it'll help! I feel sorry for the naive newbies reading this as it is you talking with authority on what you don't know or understand. Just because it worked for you and your team, doesn't mean it will work for everyone.

 

Improving technique will have a much more dramatic effect than improving strength. Efficiency will also allow you to go further for less energy expenditure. Technique first, endurance second, strength third.

 

Conor

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But it'll help! I feel sorry for the naive newbies reading this as it is you talking with authority on what you don't know or understand. Just because it worked for you and your team, doesn't mean it will work for everyone.

 

Improving technique will have a much more dramatic effect than improving strength. Efficiency will also allow you to go further for less energy expenditure. Technique first, endurance second, strength third.

 

Conor

 

For the Reactor...:-)

 

Marc Becker: Interesting comments in this thread. I work on a regular basis with a coach who's sent 24 swimmers to the Olympics and generated 6 elite ITU world champions. He coached Kieran Perkins for a time, is great friends with Darren Cotterel (Grant Hackett's coach) and has had Grant demo a killer set of 100's to him in the pool just to show him what he's got.

 

This coach has a pretty strong opinion on TI. More specifically, on the ineffectiveness of TI for triathlon swimmers in particular. For relaxation, Sunday morning lap swimmers who like a little coasting up and down the lane once in awhile fine, but for those who genuinely want to improve in the swim portion of a triathlon, a waste of precious time in the pool.

 

Most beginning swimmers lack strength AND skills. Without the strength to apply proper technique, you will still go nowhere no matter your technique. Olympic calibre swimmers are power MACHINES, like Stern notes. Watch Craig Walton swim -- he is the strongest swimmer in triathlon right now and is swimming faster as a triathlete than he did as a pure swimmer. But it is not picture perfect technique.

 

What all these swimmers have in common is that they do a vast amount of strength work in the pool. Band, pull buoy, paddles. You want to get faster in the water, build your swim strength and adapt your technique to that, not the other way around. If you live near the sea or a lake, get out and plough through the chop or swells. Your technique is going to go to hell in a triathlon anyway and when it fails, you need to be strong to react and adapt your stroke to the flailing arms, chop, white water, swells, whatever it is that is going to be thrown at you.

 

In fact, yes emphatically DEPENDING ON WHO THE SWIMMER IS. Obviously having bi-lateral breathing down pat helps in rough conditions, but by and large, working on a rhythm and arm tempo is going to be more beneficial. If bilateral breathing is all you have left to work on, learn it. If you're weak in the water, not getting anywhere despite working technique technique technique, get strong.

 

So can't tell you without seeing what kind of a swimmer you are and knowing more, which is outside the scope of this forum.

 

Keep in mind that I'm not saying "zero technique work", I'm saying it's more important to be a strong swimmer (meaning literally strong, not excellent) than a technically proficient one if you want to go fast. If you want to look good, that's another story. :-)

 

Dude, from what you say, I'd say you need to come out of the pool several times a week with your arms unable to lift your water bottle to your lips, paralyzed by that pleasant dead fatigue that hurts so much it tickles and makes you laugh. Keep your lungs rested, get your arms dead tired.

 

So to simply imply that I'm suggesting you should swim "like him" is silly. You want to reduce this to some point of semantics that ruins the benefit of open discussion. I specifically stated in an earlier post that technique is somewhat important, but that swimming strong is far more important.

 

Your fear of injury is a completely separate issue. You're not alone, it holds plenty of people back. Injuries, or the potential for them, come with the terrain of pushing your limits. Safe training = safe racing, middle of the bell curve, MOP forever.

 

In Reply To ________________________________________

What's your opinion on swimming strokes other than freestyle/crawl to improve your triathlon swim?

Depends on how much time you got available. For example, if you're swimming 3x 2000m per week I'd emphatically say "don't waste your time." But in general terms, as a warmup or cooldown, sure. But forget this notion that using the other muscles is going to improve your "feel for the water." My earlier post in this thread mentioned how if Kieran Perkins could lose his feel after swimming 2x per day for 16 years, us schmucks haven't got a clue what true "feel for the water" is.

 

For example, if you're going red hot lung effort in the pool because your set says swim butterfly you are hurting your triathlon effort. Likewise with the other strokes -- if your technique is poor and you are swimming them badly and it is pushing you into your red zone, not much good is coming of it for triathlon. The aim is to swim 1500m or 4000m freestyle, strongly, coming out of the water fresh and relatively untested in the latter case.

 

 

Just want to comment on some of the other notes here about strength vs. technique. There are a few ex-swimmers here applying swim training practices to triathlon training. Not the same sport.

 

As a triathlete, if you're swimming 6 hours per WEEK you are swimming a lot, more than the average. And that's for a swim of roughly 1 hour duration during your event.

 

As a swimmer, you can be swimming up to (nearly) 6 hours per DAY at the far end of the bell curve. And that's for an event measured in seconds! Or tops, minutes!!

 

The level of swim skills acquired by triathletes is negligible at even the very top levels. It is simply aerobic conditioning of specific muscles to tolerate cleanly the duration of the event. The coach I mentioned earlier in this thread (who has developed 24 Olympic swimmers, made 6 elite short course ITU world champions and 9 other aquathlon, duathlon and long course elite world champions, plus countless ITU world cup wins, podium finishes and other top triathlon and IM wins) emphatically notes that he figures there's only a HANDFUL, half a dozen, swimmers in triathlon who have truly mastered swimming SKILLS.

 

That should give us all some indication of how far down the pyramid we rank as swimmers. To assign triathletes in the pool the odd set of vertical kicking, of IM swimming, of Drill A once every week -- it is a huge waste of time. There are going to be swim coaches in this thread arguing vehemently with me on this because they're asisgning their triathletes this sort of stuff and these athletes are going to be reading this thread. But that is the wrong reason to argue the point.

 

The point is: As triathletes, except for a few dedicated, elite-level athletes at the top of their game, we need to become proficient at swimming in a mass. We draft for the most part, in chop, swell, packs, so our stroke is constantly compromised during competition. I don't think I ever swam a triathlon swim where I truly swam my best possible stroke for more than two or three strokes.

 

We are limited in the time we spend in the pool. That applies to the other three sports as well. As triathletes, we can never become truly proficient at the skills in any of the three sports because we simply cannot spend enough time training in any one of the sports. The story about Kieran Perkins demonstrates how easily a top level athlete can lose their skills -- the same is true of the other sports. To acquire true proficiency, true skills, means 100% focus on one sport to the level at which your body can tolerate the training.

 

In triathlon we simply cannot arrive at a truly proficient level because fatigue or time requirements in the other sports curtail our ability to train that much, at that quality of effort, in any one of the sports. Our events are about strength and aerobic conditioning first and foremost, with some obvious skills required to perform in any of the components.

 

To use up your training hours focusing on skills that are icing on the cake for athletes focusing their time 100% in just one of our component sports is inefficient training. If you are starting at scratch, yes, you are going to need to learn how to swim, to learn how to bike, to learn how to run properly. Those all imply skill training.

 

The drills mentioned above have a true benefit only when they are repeated over and over and over again, in volumes high enough to fatigue you and to force you to work in that state. just like your training has effect when you repeat it over and over and over again, through fatigue As triathletes we do not have the time and as humans we don't have the physical capacity to perform these drills or technique work often enough, in the right way, to realisitically benefit from them if we want to improve in all three sports.

 

That said, if you want to focus on one component you WILL improve by repeating those drills or technique work over and over again. But it will mean your other components will suffer. And when you leave off, those skills you acquired will for the most part (but not entirely) be lost as you return your focus of effort to the other sports.

 

Hersch, depends on how time you got in the pool. Here's a typical set of three workouts you can do each week. The training effect comes from repetition.

 

One long set of 400's to 800's with paddle/pull (band optional)

 

One long set of 100's, all the same time, on 10 sec rest, dead arms, untaxed lungs, with paddle/pull

 

One set of short repeats, 25s or 50s, every 2nd, 3rd or 4th one hard, depending on time of year, fatigue level, etc.

 

Get tyr catalysts small size paddles,they'll help you develop your glide without you needing to focus on it too much. Swim heaps of catchup to develop a proper rhythm. You can try swimming the first few months of all of the above as catchup, for example. Do catchup until it becomes second nature, until you can swim catchup at will without interrupting the rhythm of your stroke.

 

In terms of fatigue, feel your triceps tire and become weak -- and keep on going! If your stroke falls apart, pause briefly (15 sec) in the long intervals and resume. Don't swim red hot, high aerobic so your lungs are fatigued but swim "hard" nonetheless -- you want tired arms, not tired lungs. Can't emphasize this enough. The speed will take months to come (years even!) unless you severely up your swim hours, but that is the point of all this, we are going under the assumption that most triathletes have no time for swimming.

 

Hope this helps.

 

In Reply To ________________________________________

thanks ironguide. one or two more questions. when you say catchup, do you mean like one hand basically touches the other before the next stroke? i once had an coach who had me hold a pencil and switch hands every stroke.

 

also, you mentioned no drills. intentional i presume.

when you say pull, you mean pull buoy, yes?

total length of workout is until i run out of time?

 

thanks again.

________________________________________

 

 

Yes, that's catchup.

 

I mentioned no drills because with your swim pace and a name like Herschel and the fact that you're posting here, I assume you're a young male with ample body strength but no swim-specific strength, so swim strength needs development before technique.

 

By way of example, I'm 37, started IM training in 1988 and have swum 53 in Hawaii and 51 wetsuit-aided (5 years ago), but swim for fitness now with an estimated 54 IM time give or take. When I swim, it is my swim-specific arm strength that limits my speed, not my technique or aerobic fitness. My triceps and lats tire before anything else. You don't use it (at all, or often enough, or in the right way) -- you lose it. Or never develop it at all.

 

Pull = pull buoy; the bigger, the better.

 

Total length of workout is as long as you got.

 

Go to it.

 

You just hit the nail on the head!. Most triathlon swimmers (outside of Australia!) are limited by their low muscular endurance.

 

So for these athletes who are inexperienced swimmers, most of their swim sessions are swum at far too high an intensity. They will never acquire proper skills or strength if they are training at intensities that tax the lungs to the extent I'm talking about: That red-hot, searing sensation, red-faced and heaving at the end of a set or interval, splits uneven and in most cases getting slower as the set progresses.

 

That's not training, that's wasting yourself. Those high intensity sessions are appropriate in small doses for experienced swimmers who have developed strength, technique and aerobic capacity over years. Most triathlon swimmers don't swim enough to ever get there. For most, a few of these sets over 4 - 6 weeks in the final pre-season prep is plenty to notch up the lactic acid tolerance one more rung on the ladder, but only on the heels of largely low-level aerobic, strength-oriented volume work.

 

But keep smashing away at those intensities and their technique won't develop no matter how many drills and technique sessions you do. The technique improves from gaining the strength to hold it over longer periods of time. On top of that, most drill sets assigned in the pool are totally pointless since one type of technique set may not be appropriate for a swimmer who has not mastered prerequisite fundamentals of the stroke that permit them to swim that drill correctly.

 

One example of improving technique and strength through low aerobic training is simply a long, long swim, to the point of depleting glycogen reserves. If you've ever tried it, you'll encounter a point where your body has no more strength left to power through and it will of its own accord "seek" the most efficient means to move forward (if you can still hold a focus). The level of exertion is extremely low. The lungs are totally untaxed. Speed drops off. But technique improves (if you hold your focus).

 

Learning to swim properly begins with the adoption of a longterm vision on one's ability to improve, an acceptance of the fact that it won't happen overnight. Then you can enter each session with the perspective that each is just a step to developing one's stroke. Each session, each set, each interval, each stroke -- all are little drip drip drips in the process. You try to hammer blow your way to a faster swim time on a foundation of low swim-specific strength, poor technique or low aerobic conditioning or any combination thereof and you will stall out your ability to improve.

 

Again, I'm not saying "go out there and bash away recklessly." I'm saying that you need strength to hold proper technique. You'll make improvements in technique by swimming strength sets, but you won't make improvements in strength swimming drills or technique once in awhile. Due to the nature of their circumstances, desire and the sport's structure, most triathletes are time-deprived when it comes to swimming, so their efforts are for the most part better spent developing swim strength and a reactive, up-tempo stroke that adapts itself to swimming in a pack and rough conditions.

 

The pull buoys are used precisely for that reason, to give you that sense of balance. It is one less thing for a neophyte swimmer to struggle with. You can apply your focus to your stroke instead and keep your HR from rising so high you no longer can hold decent technique. Over time you will come to rely less on them, but even at the top (like Kieran Perkins, Craig Walton), the use of a pull buoy is common and integral to maintaining and developing swim strength AND technique.

 

Get a big, fat-ass pull buoy (the coach I alluded to earlier likes to point out that Grant Hackett uses the biggest, baddest, fattest-ass pull buoy he's ever seen!!!) and use it. Enjoy swimming in a more balanced position so that you can focus on other aspects of your stroke.

 

Get those arms tired -- your ability to swim 1500m now at the same pace as earlier without being winded says you're ready to address your arm strength, having achieved some basic swim fitness already. Get the tyr catalyst paddle and use it diligently.

 

Slap on some fins if you get tired of the pull buoy. Cut the fins down regularly over time as you gain kick proficiency, until there's no fins left anymore.

 

The poorer your technique or the lower your swim strength, the shorter you should keep those long intervals. You will just end up swimming with poor form.

 

Yes, swim 400, rest, repeat.

 

Say 30sec between 400's, 60sec between 800's. Swim same pace within each (ie same split per 100m) and same pace across the intervals (each 400 or 800 same split as the others).

 

Zero time vs. zero arms left: Swim until whichever arrives first.

 

In Reply To ________________________________________

you shouldnt use paddles until u know proper technique.

________________________________________

 

 

Respectfully disagree. If you use SMALL paddles (TINY) they will actually help you learn proper form by giving you a better "feel" for the water. They'll also help you develop some strength.

 

By SMALL I mean the size of your palm. Tyr Catalysts come in "very small" size. If that's still bigger than palm size (palm size doesn't include your fingers), cut them down. If you're just starting out, err on the side of caution and get something that just fits over your fingers and leaves your palm exposed. So palm-sized, but strapped just to your fingers.

 

It takes TIME! Give yourselves a year to build up the paddles to a standard "small" hand-sized.

 

Index finger/thumb enters first, hand slightly rotated so palm is facing somewhat out.

 

Use the tyr paddles to help work the glide, and work your finish until your triceps are dead!

 

Dan3, I'd stick to small or medium paddles regardless. Those monster paddles slow your turnover down too much.

 

Well, my argument is that if you take a more "typical" triathlon swimmer holding mid- to high 20-'s for 1500m or 1:05 - 1:15's for IM swim, and you place these swimmers in mildly rough, open water conditions and throw in a mass start, you are getting a lot of people swimming in conditions and with a stroke that they have not trained for. Until the strength is there, technique-based swimming in the pool won't develop the skills (strength, reflexes and reactive stroke) required to swim strong in open water.

 

The swimmers triathletes should be emulating are the fast open water distance swimmers. John Weston's stroke is strong, choppy and doesn't look fast -- but he drops the sport's top athletes in the open ocean. They go redline and cry "uncle!" A kid named Dean Lindle whom I trained with a few times in the late 80's held the IMC swim course record of 46 and change for many years until the course changed -- his swim stroke was assymetrical, plungeing -- but he could ride a 4:45 off it. Strong kid, strong stroke.

 

I stand firm in my humble opinion that "the most bang for your buck" in swim training for triathlon is to be had working on the strength, tempo and reactivity of your stroke, in the context of time-deprived, new-to-water swimmers who rarely simulate race conditions in their training. [Post-note edit: Even then, I would say this applies all the way up the food chain to low- to mid-50's IM swimmers -- fitness and form comes through the largely strength- and tempo-oriented workouts you do. Anaerobic capacity and speed skills shouldn't enter the picture until a strong foundation of "strength under duress" has been established; by duress I mean distance, pace, conditions or any combination thereof.]

 

So as you improve your ability to hold form over longer distances, under rougher conditions, or at a higher pace, or any combination thereof, dedicated technique work and heart rate sets become more important if you are constantly striving to improve. Even then, it's always in context of the individual's desire, time available, resources, and end goals.

 

So if you are taking long periods of time off your swimming once or twice a year, what you worked so hard to achieve over months is GONE! Lost! You are back to where you started -- which means, rebuild strength, tempo, reactivity. Which means another cycle where heart rate sets and speed or high-focus technique work is inappropriate because the basic foundation is gone. If it can happen to Kieran Perkins in a few weeks of recovery after 16 years of twice-a-day workouts, it can happen to you. Miss a week's swimming, what do you feel like? Miss a month? A winter? Starting from scratch. All you got left is some basic aerobic fitness.

 

To get through a 1500m or an IM swim fresh, you gotta be a strong swimmer first, a pretty swimmer second.

 

“So relaxing your recovery arms in chop -- that is done in unison with increasing tempo (turnover). So distance per stroke decreases because you CANNOT hold a glide in adverse conditions and not be pushed around by the water.”

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For the Reactor...:-)

 

Ah MJK I think I love you.

 

Seriously though, THANK YOU!

 

There is so much gold in that post, it should be end of thread now. Anyone from the absolute newbie to front group swimmer should print that off and read and reread.

 

If you have two arms and two legs this will work for you.

 

Conor, you have no idea what you are talking about but think you do.

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Ah MJK I think I love you.

 

Seriously though, THANK YOU!

 

There is so much gold in that post, it should be end of thread now. Anyone from the absolute newbie to front group swimmer should print that off and read and reread.

 

If you have two arms and two legs this will work for you.

 

Conor, you have no idea what you are talking about but think you do.

 

I resisted at first, but it was time to share. :-)

 

Been on my desktop since 2004 that sucker!

 

I hope some folks get some value.

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I have made staedy progression in the swim at least for my last 3 IMWA's

 

IMWA 09 I was out the water in the 51's and it was done with the least amount of swim prep out of the 3

 

Did a lot of core work over the winter with Bulldog these session coincided with swim squad so no swimming over winter for about 3 months.

Getting back into the pool was nothing short of a joke, I was throwing cut lunches having lost feel for the water.

 

I concentrated my efforts into getting my technique back upto scratch, this meant going slow for a month and just thinking about proper catch and body positioning.

 

A typical session was a 1km warm up of various drills before the main set that was upto 4km's long

 

Drills consited of a mix of paddles and pull bouy, paddles, popov's, single arm, uncos, catch and scratch etc also paying attention to engaging the abs to get the body into position

 

The big change over previous years was the introduction continuous swimming with paddles (I use the Speedo Power Paddles they are massive) I would do these at close to race pace using a pull buoy (properly too, no kicking) these sets would go from 30mins to an hour. I imagine this to be similar to what Chappy was doing on a saturday?

 

The main reason for this was that I noticed that at certain times during long swims I would nod off and lose form etc.

The power paddles are so big that anything less than a perfect entry will be exaggerated and punished, your recovery must also be spot on to ensure the damn things clear the water.

End result is that you have to be switched on and thinking about your stroke the whole time, before long this will become habitual and feed through into your normal stroke

You also get a monster chest workout. This session became one of my favourite session as it always helped lift me up to the next level, by the time IMWA came around I was able to knock of 20*100m on 1.30 coming in on 1.15.

 

The main thing I notice with people new to swimming is that they place to much emphasis on staying with the group rather than doing the drills right, I notice quite alot of people in lower lanes overtaking me in the drills section and then getting blown away in the main set.

 

Swimming is about felling the water, body position and technique, unlike the other 2 sports, you need to start slow, get the technical side spot on and then work on getting faster, you will not get quicker by doing lots of laps if you have crap technique, you will only get frustrated and eventually injured.

 

Efficient technique is further emphasised in IM's where the leg only counts for maybe 10% of your day, but the energy the can be lost in the swim is massive if your technique is out.

 

Just a small note on the power paddles, start using them slowly and in moderation, they will rip your shoulders clean out of the sockets if you rush into them, but they are well worth it!

 

I will add that this was done on 2 sessions a week (4-5km a session), with ocean swims closer to the day

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For the Reactor...:-)

 

I work on a regular basis with a coach who's sent 24 swimmers to the Olympics and generated 6 elite ITU world champions. He coached Kieran Perkins for a time, is great friends with Darren Cotterel (Grant Hackett's coach) and has had Grant demo a killer set of 100's to him in the pool just to show him what he's got.

 

That would be Dennis Cotterell...a swimming insider would know the major players better than that.... :lol:

 

Interesting comments though

Edited by Coach@triathlon

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So if you are taking long periods of time off your swimming once or twice a year, what you worked so hard to achieve over months is GONE! Lost! You are back to where you started -- which means, rebuild strength, tempo, reactivity. Which means another cycle where heart rate sets and speed or high-focus technique work is inappropriate because the basic foundation is gone. If it can happen to Kieran Perkins in a few weeks of recovery after 16 years of twice-a-day workouts, it can happen to you. Miss a week's swimming, what do you feel like? Miss a month? A winter? Starting from scratch. All you got left is some basic aerobic fitness.

 

Most important bit IMHO :lol:

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Could someone remind me what the question was again??? wasn't it - how do you improve your swim time in an Ironman distance triathlon? (something like that!)

 

Seems like we've gone way off track here!

 

Triathlon swimming as a newbie is completely different to learning how to swim faster as someone who's already doing the endurance distances!

 

:lol:

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That would be Dennis Cotterell...a swimming insider would know the major players better than that.... :lol:

 

Interesting comments though

 

 

Do you mean Denis Cotterell?? :lol:

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Taking a break and getting back into swimming has always been a quick process for me. By a break I mean months.

 

In a matter of about 2-3 weeks, or about 5-6 swims and I will be back where I left off.

 

Thanks for the post MJK. Strength is definately my limiter. :lol:

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I personally think that anyone (average) can do a 1:15 swim at Ironman on limited training over 10-12 weeks swimming a few times a week.

 

But what does it take for said average swimmer to get down to 60mins?

 

Or just to take off 15 minutes.

 

Before slower swimmers reply this also applies for you. Getting from a 1:30 down to 1:15 etc...

 

My attempt to get this back on track;

 

 

  • Core work

     

  • Technique/Stroke work

     

  • km's using the new technique

     

 

 

I say this as I have always found that a smooth fast stroke does take a lot of power and control, it is a mission to get there but once the changes have gelled it will seem easy by comparison

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