Andrew Starykowicz: Fighting to Win

Andrew Starykowicz has been a professional triathlete since 2006. With world-record bike splits for the full and half-Ironman distances, he’s earned his status as the fastest cyclist in triathlon. As our guest blogger, he discusses his latest training tool, the Performance Endless Pool® he installed in his basement this winter.

In the off-season, every athlete adds tools to their arsenal trying to take their training to the next level. Yoga, Pilates, Insanity, P90X are just some examples of what I have tried in the past. This off-season, I took it to a whole new level – I installed an Endless Pool.

I first got to experience an Endless Pool at the Philly Tri because there was no place to swim in the days leading into the event. I found the current to be very similar to open water swimming, more than the time I spent in a traditional pool.

Now that I am in it full time, I have seamlessly taken my workouts from my book, For Swimmers 365 Main Sets, and adapted them to the Endless Pool. As a result, I’m getting workouts that are a lot more practical to how I race ... not in a 25-yard, not in a 25-meter, not in a 50-meter pool, but in lakes, rivers, and oceans. I also need to train my body to hold a blistering pace for miles on end, not just 30 seconds and rest 5 seconds as I flip and streamline off the wall.

 Some Endless Pools are glamorous showpieces skirted in Carrara marble. This Endless Pool, in professional triathlete Andrew Starykowicz's (left) basement, is pure efficiency. He uses it for the quality of the swim current, for the at-home convenience, and because “I support the people who support the sport.” Endless Pools’ own Adam Alper (right) helped install this Performance model.

Now, the idea of installing one at home started when I calculated how much time is spent driving to the pool, changing, showering, and coming home.

  • Let's just say it is 10 minutes each way to the pool.
  • Next is the 10 minutes to get changed, grab your kickboard, and figure out which lane is yours.
  • After you have to put away your equipment, shower, and by the time you towel off and get dressed, it is another 15 minutes.
  • Finally the 10-minute drive home.

So the whole process takes 45 minutes, 4 days a week, 45 weeks a year ... That's 135 hours that could be used doing more productive things at home, like fixing a nice dinner for your wife, spending time with family, and taking a nap. Plus it is never fun when a slower swimmer gets in your lane and futzes up your workout or when the pool is closed for some reason.

Since I have started training in the Endless Pool, I learned that it has become far more valuable than just training my body to swim long. Using the underwater mirror, I can watch my every stroke and have really been able to practice and appreciate the value of gliding before the catch part of the stroke. Watching my every move, I have been able to reduce my stroke count while swimming faster.

 The fastest cyclist in triathlon, Starykowicz is often overlooked for his stellar swimming. When swimming for Purdue, he was an All-American. He trains in an Endless Pool because it delivers “workouts that are a lot more practical to how I race ... not in a 50-meter pool, but in lakes, rivers, and oceans.” (Photo ©2013 Ali Engin)

The Underwater Treadmill option is priceless for a larger-framed athlete like myself who wants to log miles without destroying my body. When you run, the force on your lower body is said to be three times your body weight; now what if your body weight was cut by a third instead. You could run, run more, and not destroy your joints – that would be awesome. Since I am one of the heavier guys, outweighing most of the other pros by 30+ lbs, the underwater treadmill is a no-brainer. Let's face it: surgery is very expensive, and the healing process is long, frustrating, and not a guarantee.

I am really happy to have teamed up with the Endless Pools team and am truly thankful to have a tool that not only helps me get back to 100% this year but helps me get faster and faster for years to come.

And let's face it: we all like to swim naked ... it's only natural.

Fighting to Win & Punish,

 An engineer by trade, Andrew Starykowicz has been a professional triathlete since 2006. He holds world records for bike splits at both full and half-Ironman distances and was the first American to complete an Iron-distance tri in fewer than eight hours (7:55:22 in November 2013). Now training in his at-home Endless Pool, he looks forward to an even greater advantage for the upcoming season.

Training, Swimming
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