WaterAid: Swim Marathon 2021

Earlier this week I got information about a fund raiser for WaterAid, and I felt like it was something that I could really get behind.

The idea is set up for anyone who can swim and has time can attempt to swim a marathon 42.4km during a period of 12 weeks. Since I have been averaging about 25km/week this year, and will racing in a 42km race on August 13th I signed up to help raise money for WaterAid.

My intention is to try to swim as many kilometers as I can from 1 August until the end of October. But my main challenge will be swimming 42km starting around 23:30 on the 13th of August and hopefully finishing on or before 14:00 the 14th.

It would be great if you would join me in my support of WaterAid and donate to my effort.


My Latest Tattoo

I know that my mom finds it funny that I can handle getting a tattoo since I have a hard time getting shots or sitting in a dentist chair. But I had been planning on getting a new tattoo after last summers Viking Swim that never happened and during the fall I decided to get something else. So last Monday (the 1st of March) I got my 10th and 11th tattoo. Only ten are still visible since my nineth tattoo covered up my third.

Inspired by Kevin Costner in the movie “Water World” as well as all the other sci-fi movies I have watched in the last 46 years, I decided that I wanted to have gills. I figured that I swim enough, that it would make sense to my friends that know how much I swim and it would be something that I find interesting. If nothing else, it would be a conversation starter. After alot of searching on the internet for images of gills and people with tattoos of gills I decided on shark gills. Then it was a question of where to put them. I am personally not fond of having visible tattoos when I am at work, so behind the ears or on the neck were not going to be an option for me. So under my arms or on my ribs seemed like the most logical location close to the lungs and a large area to work with.

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Winter Break or “Sport break” as it is called in Sweden

In the area of Sweden I live, week 8 is our winter break, or a direct translation from swedish is sport break A large portion of the people in sweden use week 7,8 or 9 to go skiiing every year. The country splits up this week off so that only 33% of the country try to go up north skiing each week during the winter break.

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Masters Lane 1

I don’t usually write about specific workouts here on my blog. Maybe that’s because I have a training journal that I document everything I do on Jogg.se. Since the fall of 2018 our Masters group has been greatly improved by the presence of a former Syrian distance swim coach Nidal. During his first fall session with us he was there to help our newer swimmers with their technique. Watching everyone in the pull and offering tips on how they could improve their technique. That kind of one on one feedback was greatly appreciated. Then I am not sure how it happened, but with all my traveling in 2019 he took the initiative to offer our distance swimmers a distance workout on wedensdays as an option to the sprint workouts I was writing. With only three lanes, that group swam in lane 1. Up until 2019 we rarely swam anything over 400m at practice, and when we swam what I thought were hard series it was usually base pace for the shorter series and base pace +5 for the longer series.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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