“It’s been a very interesting year, to say the least,” reports Luke McKenzie, and with good reason. Early in 2014, the Australian-born professional triathlete settled in California with his partner, fellow triathlete Beth Gerdes; in June, their daughter Wynne entered the world. Now, on a sunny November afternoon, “we got the pool going in the backyard, so I couldn’t be happier!”
The pool is an Elite Endless Pool®. The 33-year-old McKenzie wanted the most challenging swim current, and the Elite’s twin-propeller system has already proven to be more than up to the task. After documenting his inaugural swim on Instagram, he commented, “I tried setting it on 1 min/100-yard pace and almost got blown out the back of the pool!” For the record, that’s nine seconds shy of the Elite’s top speed.
The couple got the initial inspiration for their Endless Pool in Hawaii, where McKenzie finished second at the 2013 IRONMAN World Championship. “Beth used one in Kona about two years ago to do some stoke analysis” with swim clinician Karlyn Pipes; “it’s always been in my head since.” While he considers the Endless Pool “a very good tool for stroke analysis,” it offers them additional benefits.
McKenzie finds the Endless Pools current particularly well suited to triathlon training. “One thing I definitely don’t do enough of here is open water swimming,” he admits, “and the Endless Pool gives you that open water feeling. That’s the advantage of having the Endless Pool as opposed to regular lap swimming.”
The backyard Endless Pool will also allow them to work on the all-important first transition from swim to bike; mastering the potentially chaotic T1 can shave critical seconds – even minutes – off a triathlete’s completion time. “Quite often, we’ve gone to the local pool, and we want to jump straight on our bikes, and it’s never really smooth as it can be. Now we have the ability to jump straight on our bikes. That’s going to be a great tool as well.”
“It’ll also save us a bit of commute time,” he adds, “that’s key with a baby.” He’s already anticipating “the convenience of … being able to pop out and have a swim between feedings and naps.”
One day, soon enough, Luke plans on bringing his daughter into their Endless Pool. “We have the ability to teach her to swim [at home], which is exciting to me.” Should she choose to follow in her parents’ footsteps, expect to see Wynne on the Kona podium somewhere around 2044.
This article was originally published in November 2014.