How to Qualify for Kona - THE SWIM

Few have been to the far side. The man below, young Nick Stephenson, is one of those. Although he was on a plane from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg at the time, his name was called up for a *Kona Slot* in the 40-44 year old age group following his insane 10.14 at this year's Ironman South Africa.

The beauty of it all is that he only decided to enter IMSA, on the very last day of entries being open. Unfortunately, unaware that the slots would roll down to his name, he was unable (in a stoopid plane of all places!) to claim the coveted entry to the Big Dance on the day after the race. Next year my boy.

Here is the alternative no-frills old-school approach of How To (Train &) Qualify for Kona at IMSA2012 broken down into palatable chunks for your reading enjoyment .


Sets were very straight forward, on my own after work. Mondays swam in the morning and evening, but only 1,500-2,000m each. Wednesday’s were awful as the 4,000m set, which took so long. Fortunately only did 3 of them. Very little messing around though when you’re on your own and you fly through the sets. 15 second breaks. Didn’t use any swimming ‘aids’ like pull buoy of paddles. 10,000m per week maximum.

Race Day Strategy
• Find a spot on the right, looking toward the sea.
• Take it easy and avoid conflict.
• Try to have a wee while swimming.

Race Nutrition Strategy
Salt water :o)

Race day actual
Got to the beach early and found my spot 3 rows from the front on the right. The swim was pretty uneventful, other than stupidly missing a rogue wave (it was dead calm) coming into the beach on the first lap and one guy body surfed on top of me. I ended up chewing sand and telling the guy he was a *#^$%! I took it as easy on the 2nd lap as I didn’t want to send my metabolism on a trajectory I couldn’t maintain through the day. One, of my 2 part “strategy”. Take the swim easy. Swim position: 113th

Ideal World
- Mini Swim squad
- More drills, especially kicking (10% of set)

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