OPEN WATER STROKE RATE
Swimming fast depends on two key factors: stroke rate and distance per stroke. Frequently triathletes focus on the latter without attending to the former.
Top triathletes typically have a stroke rate between 80 and 95, whereas age groupers might find themselves in the 50’s and 60’s.
How do you find your ideal stroke rate for open water? And why does it matter?
Use the method developed by Coach Brenton Ford. Perform 7x 100m, increasing the stroke rate and recording your stroke count in each set (using a FINIS Tempo Trainer makes this easy to track).
You’re looking for your best combination of stroke rate, speed and perceived exertion. This will be a good estimate of your 70.3 or full distance race pace.
As your fitness increases and technique improves, so will your “sweet spot” stroke rate, so consider conducting this test once per month.