Coach Cassie,  Top Tips

As a 68-year-old, how can I prepare for a 1 or 2-mile swim?

​Our resident Olympian answers your swimming questions​

I want to do a 1 or 2-mile open swim next summer. I am 68 years old. I am currently swimming about 1500 yards three times per week. I try and mix up my workouts by short, medium and long swims. How can I prepare for this swim?
Larry Froede

Larry I think you are a total legend! It sounds like you have a solid base of training behind you so this is great. I always ask people if their goal is completion or competition? If you always swim slow and steady your goal might be just to complete the swim. However, if you are looking to be competitive and aim for a time this is when you need to mix up your training. You’re completely right by doing one longer distance slow and steady session. But you should also include sprinting (swimming as fast as you can for short distances) as well as training on slightly longer distances but with a raised heart rate. There are coaches online (myself included) who will set you a session, which you then complete yourself.
One final thing to bear in mind is the conversions between yards and metres. A mile (1600m) is 1750 yards so I would say as you approach the swims to increase your distances to a mile or just over if you can. Also, get yourself to your local open water lake for some open water acclimatisation, (this is always my favourite part, as I love being outdoors). Let us know how you get on in your swim!

“Swimming was my whole life for over 20 years. I poured every ounce of enthusiasm into it. I am so fortunate to have found these new outlets for that enthusiasm.”

Cassie Patten won bronze in the first ever Olympic 10km marathon swim, in the Beijing 2008 Olympics. Cassie now coaches and is a frequent commentator at open water events.


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