Sam Sheppard: ‘I love to race’ so ‘challenge yourself, race with me’

Australian Dolphin swimming sensation Sam Sheppard invites you to challenge yourself and race with him at Williamstown Beach on December 16 in the Williamstown Open Water (WOW) Challenge and Victorian Open Water Championships 2018.

Sam Sheppard is no stranger to the chop at Williamstown, having also competed in the Rip View Classic at Point Lonsdale, Rock2Ramp at Anglesea, Danger 1000 at Torquay and Big Bay Swim at Port Melbourne. He is also a 7-time winner of the Pier to Pub at Lorne.

Speaking with 2XU and offering some advice for open water swim races, Sam Sheppard said it’s important that you understand water conditions and how to tackle them with slight changes to your stroke, which will save you time no matter what the ocean throws at you.

“So, when you turn up to an open water race on the day, there’s going to be very variable conditions. It could be dead flat glassy like a pool or it could be choppy rain hail and poor visibility and you need to be ready for that mentally,” he said.

“When it’s dead flat it will be like a pool and you’ll be quite happy with it, but when it’s choppy it is disgusting, no one really likes it, but you’ve got to adjust your stroke for it. My best tip is you really want to have a high early catch.”

In any open water swim race, every second counts, and Sam Sheppard said how you enter and exit the water can provide you with a distinct advantage over your competitors, even the open water swim stars.

Sam Sheppard invites you to Williamstown Beach for the WOW Challenge and Victorian Open Water Championships 2018.

“Porpoising is when it’s too deep to run but too shallow to swim. That just involves diving in, grabbing hold of the sand and pushing back up on a 45-degree angle. Just doing that a few times, then it will be the right depth to start swimming again,” he said.

Mr Sheppard also said how you enter the water can set your up for a good open water swim race and how you exit the water can save you heaps of time. He believes that porpoising is faster than swimming.

Getting the most out of the waves and swell during a race could also see you crowned champion of the chop. Sam Sheppard said if you swim fast through a break and propel yourself to the finish line, you could be leaving your competitors behind.

“Most swimmers finish with a bit of swell, and to catch a good wave you need to have 6-beat kick to get on it, and then to stay on that wave, it’s really small, just put your head down, hold it streamline at 6-beat kick and that will get you right to the beach,” he said.

The Victorian Open Water Championships is the second race in the Great Victorian Swim Series, which continues to bring in international swimmers to challenge Victoria’s best who compete in open water swimming races which are open to everyone including juniors.

The event provides an opportunity to compete with Olympians at the elite levels of swimming, but there is just as much action on shore, with massive crowds cheering on competitors, having fun and enjoying all the entertainment on offer at the beach.

For more information on how you can challenge yourself and swim with Sam Sheppard, world record holder Chloe McCardel, Olympian Kenrick Monk and other international swimming superstars, visit the Swimming Victoria website.

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