Andrew Page

Have you ever thought whether you can train differently, or cross train for events to both improve performance or protect against injury?

The Rottnest Channel Swim is a 19.7km open water swim from Cottesloe Beach to Rottnest Island.  Andrew has completed this swim 35 times and holds the record for the greatest number of solo crossings.

Having an interest in rowing he has been using the indoor rower and ski erg to help with his preparation.

Andrew takes up the story:

‘I bought the Marathon/100k Plan from Fletcher Sport science and have been working through this with the view of doing a 100,000m on the rower.

I have had some competing interests that have made me insert some other cross training into the plan as I have also been training for a 19.7km open water swim that is held annually here in Perth Western Australia (Rottnest Channel Swim).

In previous years I have trained conventionally for a swimming event …  by swimming. This year I was looking for something different for the variety and as well as injury management and attained this through using the Fletcher Sport Science rowing guide with the Concept2 equipment. I found the guide good as it gave me what I needed to do instead of going out to my training room and floundering around not achieving anything.

I also found the guide a sensible way to train as it was building endurance without excessive pressure on joints. The volume of training I was able to do, working through the program was much higher than I could have done if I had purely done swimming training and I will certainly train the same way again next year.

I only trained in a pool 10 times and the rest of my training was on the Concept2 Rower and more recently included the Ski Erg. I believed that the 100k plan was a comparable in terms of duration to the swim.

The swim took place on the 20th of February 2021 and I completed it in 7h49m42s. I approached it remarkably like the same discipline that is used for my stroke rate 18-20 at 100KP pace, which for me is 2.22/500m.

It was quite choppy, and many swimmers had to withdraw as conditions deteriorated. In the past I have found these conditions very fatiguing through my core but this time I was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable I felt in the water for the duration of the swim focussing on the swimming equivalent of the 100KP pace.

There really was a correlation in feeling/result between the two sports which pleased me as I did have some mild feelings of apprehension in the days before as I hadn’t done a lot of training in the water.

I am not fast on the rower, but I certainly believe that through training I can be quicker and will also become quicker in the water. I did complete some of the marathon training sessions in between the 100k training. Perhaps some more of these might make me a bit faster? I really noticed the difference in my heart rate and performance up to 75% of maximum heart rate.

This was my 35th Rottnest Channel Swim Solo Crossing and I was just looking for a different way to train that also reduced wear and tear on the shoulders.’

Andrew is hoping to complete his 100k row in the coming weeks after he has recovered from the swim.

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