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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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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1/4 of the way to 1,000,000m

So we have made it through the first 3 months of the year. Feb-Mar 2020 will not soon be forgotten. Everywhere you look there is something about the Coronavirus. Luckily for me Sweden is taking a more scientific approach and leaving politics out of the decision making. So while many of you are on lockdown and not allowed to go to your local pool or gym, I am coming off one of my best swimming weeks since moving back into the pool in September 2019.

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How my taper effected my million meter challenge

So I did it, I managed to keep my taper plans. It took more will power to follow through with it considering there was no Swedish Nationals to taper for. But luckily for me, my swimmers were up for some practice races and I managed not only to reduce my swimming, but cut back in all of my normal training over the last two weeks.

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1,000,000m update thru Feb

Since it is easier for me to report updates based on Monday to Sunday, February’s update includes the 1st of March. For the first time since I started this challenge I skipped my fifth swim of the week. I had already reached my feb goal and I knew I would reach my week goal after this mornings swim. So I saved that workout for another day.

Second month over the 83km mark

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Week 7 – “halfway” thru Feb

It’s a leap year, which means and extra training this month, and we’re just over halfway thru February. It’s been three weeks with with two hour Sunday swimming and I’m starting to feel the effects of my long training weeks. My shoulders are sore and swimming doesn’t feel as good on Sunday’s as it does during the week.

February

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