Looking forward to 2021

Since I am hoping to get another eight swims and even a few Crossfit workouts in this year I am not ready to summarize 2020, but I am keeping my fingers crossed that I stay healthy and can keep my motivation up for next summer.

I only have on goal for 2021, and that is swimming the first 42km Viking Swim in Värnamo on Aug 13th to the 14th. Or if the weather looks good, maybe we start at midnight so the entire swim will be on the 14th. This year I swam 42km in 14 hours with short stops every 3km. Next year with the start being around midnight I will most likely need to get in an energy stop every 40-45 minutes, but only for 45-60s to avoid getting cold, or starting to cramp. Since I will be swimming with a partner, our biggest challenge this spring/early summer will be planning those feeding breaks and what to give the kayaker to hold for us.

Looks like we will get new caps for the race.

And I am not sure if they have decided on the design for the finisher shirts, but I am really looking forward to wearing something like this in just over 8 months.

1,000,000m Swimming and Covid-19

I found it interesting that I did not write about this, but based on my OW season totals I thought I would be able to pass 1,000,000m swimming around the 20th of Sept. But getting sick on Sept 1st did not help. I eventually surpassed the 1 million meter mark on Sept 30th.

Unfortunately, my run for 1,000,000m came at a cost. I am not sure if it was because of my 42km swim on the 16th of August, or if it has more to do with me being on path to double last years swimming totals. Either way, the move back to the pool from OW has not been good for my shoulders. In Oct I was ready to call it a season and start to rehab and get ready for 2021. But then I was persuaded to go to Swedish nationals. Luckily for me it was cancelled because of the Covid-19 restricttions. But it was hard for me to accept that I still needed to rehab if I was going to be able to perform at all in 2021.

Luckily for me, maybe not for everyone, the new Covid-19 restrictions just came to our region of Sweden. This means no team swimming for the next three weeks. It means I will most likely not go to any crossfit workouts for the next three weeks. But it opens the door for me to go to the pool to work on my technique, swim at a slower pace, swim with no programming. I can go to the gym during off-peak hours and work on lifting basics. Heck I can even start going on walks that might lead to me starting to run again.

As negative as I can be when it comes to change I am really going to try to see the positives that can come out of this.

PS I am not affraid to get sick, I am not concerned about my family getting sick, but if me sitting on the sofa fighting with Jeanette about whether we watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D or a documentry on Swedish Queens for the next three weeks means we can get closer to a normal situation faster then I am ready to wrestle Jeanette over the TV control 🙂

A Vansbrosimningen (3km) a Day Challenge

I understand that a lot of swimmers got upset this summer. I was more than upset. On April 29th I along with 13,000 other swimmers got an email that this years Vansbrosimningen was cancelled. It was to be expected that we would not be able to race since Sweden had just implemented a rule forbidding more than 500 people to gather. So to be honest I was not so upset about the race being cancelled, but I was upset about the way they informed us and the way they proceeded with the cancellation.

We were given three choices. You could swim at home and submit your time, for their “Home Edition”, You could chose to donate your starting fee to the local sports club, or you could ask for 50% av your starting fee to be returned. For those that signed up to swim one of the many races in Vansbro that might have seemed like a good deal. But for me and my daughter that signed up for a combined 14 starts, we were talking about 900 USD. I would have prefered to be given the chance to move my start to 2021 as so many other races did this summer. Not in the mood to be giving I requested half of my starting fee back.

Then I started to think about the “Home Edition”, and what a good idea it really was for those that felt swimming 1000m, 1500m, 3000m or 10,000m was a challenge. Local teams around Sweden would offer help to find a suitable course, and in some cases hold a “Home Edition” event so people would not have to swim alone. It was nothing for me personally, but the idea of helping others when it comes to swimming and especially OW swimming was something I could not pass up.

So I help my swim team organize a “Home Edition” event, and helped spread the word about our swim course in the lake where you could swim 1000m, 1500m or even 3000m. On the day of our event it was bad weather so we only had about 15 swimmers. I have no idea how many swam in the lake on our course over the summer, but I did meet a few during my regular training sessions.

So how could I use the “Home Edition” to motivate me and my swimming. It came to me just a week or two before the start of the Vansbrosimningen Home Edition. They offered people to swim their races at home from Saturday the 3rd of July until the 31st of August. So what better challegne then for me to swim one Vansbrosimningen a day every day from the start to the finish of the “Home Edition”.

I already had plans to swim alot this summer to help me reach my 1,000,000 meter goal. But at the same time I had said that I would not let swimming effect my family’s time off over the summer. However, it would not be as big of an issue as I thought since our activities were limited because of the Covid-19 situation. Sweden never closed down, but we followed the guidelines to help lower the curve. All of our adventures this summer were either near water, or we didn’t have to leave home until after 0900. So I swam as early as 0600 and as late as 2100 to get my swims in.

On August 2nd I managed a 21km swim with friends and that spawned the idea to test the 42km distance, another race that was cancelled. The idea of swimming 42km alone was not fun. So how to attracted some company in the water? I decided to break it up into 14 Vansbrosimngen. Starting a new 3000m every hour for 14 hours. On August 16th I did just that. 14 Vansbrosimningen in one day.

On August 31st I jumped into the lake forthe last 3000m or more swim of this challenge. Little did I know at the time, but it would be the last day I would remain healthy. Tuesday afternoon I started coughing, and that caused me to miss 8 days of working out. Me previous day off from training was the 8th of May since I was travelling by train from 0600 until 2100.

So thanks to my #envansbrosimningenomdag challenge I managed to swim roughly 467km during June-August 2020.

2020 OW Virtual Grand Slam

Back in April as the world was shutting down I was contacted by Mark Johnston about an online event that he was putting together. It didn’t take more than a day or two and then the event was online, and I was registered and started to recruit others in Sweden and the US to join in.

The idea of being able to compete in a time when all IRL races were being postponed or canceled felt like a really good idea. Nothing beats the heat of the moment, but knowing someone somewhere else was trying to swim faster than me was going to have to be enough this summer.


The program was simple. We were to swim four different triathlon distances, one a month for four months. You had the option of racing in a wetsuit or not, and it was possible to race in both categories. The rules were simple. One swim equals one race result. so you could not swim 3860m and take the splits at 800, 1500 and 1930m. You were allowed to submit two times per race per category. In order to be ranked for the individual races you needed to submit a time for the 800m by end of May, the 1500m by end of June, the 1930m by en of July and the 3860m by end of August. If you missed a deadline you could still submit your times for the total series results. Second time submissions could also come at a later date, but only times submitted before the deadline counted to that distances results.

The first race, the 800m in May would be one of the tougher races because the water temperature was colder than what I would like for skins swimming. But the last weekend in May I jumped in the lake to swim the wetsuit time. I wound up winning my class with 10:02. and having the 4th fastest time overall. I was lucky to be able to race again Hampus. Two days later, the water was much colder, but we had to try to the 800m skins. It was probably my slowest swim of the summer, but again I had Hampus to chase after. The cold water really made it hard to breathe, but it was done and I would be able to try again at a later day. But my 11:16 was enough to win my class, but 15th overall.

Next up was the 1500m. The day I decided to swim the 1500m in a wetsuit it was really choppy water. So instead of the usual swim around the course, we swam to down and up the lake. I felt really good swimming and was not really happy with 19:36, again I won my class and was 3rd overall, but then a few days later I did the skins in 21:25. I only placed 2nd in my class and was 11th overall. It felt like it was going to be a pattern all summer. 10% slower with my skins swimming, and falling in the overall placement.

In July I really picked up my swimming. From 120km in June to 166km. But I was not only swimming more, I was starting to swim faster. Even when I thought that I would take it easy I was swimming faster than I did during the summer of 2019. The day I swam my official 1930m, I wasn’t planning on swimming fast. I was rested, the water was calm, and as I turned around the 450m buoy I saw how fast I was swimming, and thought, lets see what happens. At 1500m I had 19:01. faster than my wetsuit time from June, and I felt great. So I kept pushing myself and as I pass 1930m I have 24:35. That would give me 1st in my class and 2nd overall, only Hampus beat me. But I was really not tired, so I decided to finish my 3 laps around the lake. After i finish I looked at all my times. The second 1500 was 19:05. I only last 3 second. That gave me a Vansbro time of 38:06 and a full distance Ironman at 49:08. A while later I did the skins swim and again lost 8-10% but managed to swim in at 26:57. That was good enough to win my class, but again I dropped in the overall ranking to 6th.

Going into August the water is starting to get really warm, too warm for a good wetsuit swim. But not only did I have two 3860m swims I was planning on a 21 and 42 km swim. So my monthly total would again go up. I started the month with a few skins attempts since it was no fun swimming fast in a wetsuit when the water was so warm. My best result that I submitted was 53:28. Considering I swam my first Ironman race in 2014 in 55 minutes in a wetsuit i was happy considering it was without a wetsuit. It was enough to win my class, but again dropping to 9th place overall. Because of all my fast swims in July and several times down around 50 minutes in the full distance I was really excited to give the full distance a solid effort. I swam with Hampus, and we pushed each other. Or I guess I forced him to swim harder since I was in front of him for 98% of the race. But having him in the lake at the same time helped me keep focus on swimming. 48:41 was my time. I won my class, and again only Hampus beat me, so I was 2nd overall.

After the final submissions I was lucky that we had a club championships in OW, 1000m. In that race I managed to improve my 800m time from 10:02 down to 9:48. I also managed to get a better time in my 1930 at the beginning of August with 19:09.

Out of 160 points possible I got 157 points. 80 in the wetsuit races and 77 in the skins.

When it was time to summarize the summers races, I was 2nd overall in the wetsuit category behind Hampus, with a combined time of 1:42:14. But in the skins I only managed 5th place too many fast “old” guys 🙂 with 1:53:07.

Then in the double Grand Slam combing all the times from all 8 races I finished 2nd with 3:35:22 over 16.180m swimming.

Some fun facts about the Grand Slam. Of the 211 swimmers, 143 (68%) completed at least one of the Grand Slams, with 50 (24%) completing both the Wetsuits and Skins Grand Slams for the DOUBLE GRAND SLAM!

Thanks Mark for the Challenge. Thanks Hampus for pushing me all summer.

42+km swimming, yes swimming

Last year in October I was one of 14 swimmers with the honor to be able to sign up for 42+km swim. The race was called The Viking, and was a two way swim of Vidösternsimmet (21+km). The 14 of us would start at night Friday the 7th of August, calculating average swim speed in order to get to the start of the return no later than 07:00 the 8th. I went all in for this race. I had one of the strongest swimmers I know (Hampus Carlsson) as my partner for the first half night swim, and I started pushing myself on our Wednesday distance workouts like never before with our super distance coach Nedal. In January I took on the 1,00,000m challenge to help motivate me to get the distance training I would need for this years goal.

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Halfway through 2020

2020 is not the year that anyone saw coming. I am just happy that I live in Sweden and we have not closed down society or had a lock down.  Sure we have restrictions to follow like stay home when you can (ie only essential travelling), avoid contact with the elderly, working from home if you can, not more than 50 people at gatherings, high schools and colleges closed for home schooling as well as lots of companies had to send their employees home with materials for production could not be delivered. Swedish Nationals for Seniors, Juniors, Youth and Masters have been canceled. One by one open water races, bike races, runs, triathlons have had to cancel because of the travel restrictions and/or the max 50 people per gathering rule in place.
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The Perfect Swim that never was…

Monday after work I go home, make some chili and rice for dinner, but don’t have time to eat before my planned 18:00 swim. So while I am cooking dinner for the girls I make two hot dogs as a snack to make it through swimming.  I had skipped lunch by mistake and knew I needed something in my stomach to be able to swim 4500m.

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Karl-Oskarsimmet 2020

Saturday the 13th of June was the first time in the history of our local OW race that I actually was able to participate. In 2016, it was a very very small race with two distances; 925m and 1850m. I spent all morning helping to get the race area set-up, then all afternoon on a boat keeping an eye on the swimmers. The distance 1850 came from the year that Karl-Oskar and Kristina left Sweden on their way to the US. A masters swimmer and local artist helped up create our logo from a photo of the two. I really like the way it turned out.

Logo made by Mona B Klöfver

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Beyond Expectations, the month of May

So I recently wrote about missing lots of swimming because of a business trip. But it looks like I was able to bounce back nicely, thanks in part to the start of Open Water swimming and my teammates that show up day after day to swim with me. In the graph below you can see the plateau when I missed 3+ swims. I managed to build back up my buffer by the end of the month.

Progress against the 1,000km target pace

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Rough start to May

My first business trip since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak. I knew that I would eventually have to travel again, and I has 100% aware that it was not going to be easy from being at home for the past five months working out on average 12 hours a week to nothing for upwards of six days. But having the last 3 trips cancelled or postponed I was kind of hoping that this one would be push up too.

Due to the limited access to public transportation and the roughly 1300km distance I had to travel to get to site, I wound up traveling by car for nearly 13 hours on Sunday the 3rd of May with two colleagues headed in the same direction. Everything in the town I was visiting had shortened hours. Most things closed between 1600 and 1800 daily. This limited my options for food and the hotel we stayed at had no fitness room.

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