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Ötillö swimrun 1000 Lakes

Navigation in open water swimming

Listen to race director Michael Lemmel talking about the Ötillö world series race 1000 Lakes in Rheinsberg, Germany.


The 1000 lakes swimrun just north of Berlin is a fast-flat course through forests with almost no underbrush. It has trees growing all the way up to the edge of the water, so there are almost no waves. Running in the forest feels like running through a tunnel of trees.

Michael Lemmel

Travel

Traveling to the race is quite easy. For participants who aren’t local. We suggest that you first travel to Berlin, and from there take the train to Rheinsberg. The train ride takes about 1,5 hours. You can also rent a car and drive approximately 70 kilometers. Book your train tickets here.

Accommodations

Accommodations range from expensive hotels to hostels. There are options for everybody’s taste and budget. A word of advice though. Book as soon as possible. This period is a busy time in the area because of its fantastic nature. 


Going to the place, think about that this used to be part of eastern Germany, and it hasn’t been commercialized. You won’t find a coffee shop in every corner. This is how the world used to be. Also, take a second to feel the energy of the forest.

Michael Lemmel

The race-course is flat and fast. And is accessible for spectators. Rent bike’s to follow the race. Don’t miss out on the Schloss Rheinsberg, where you can take in some local history as well as the race. 

Navigation in open water swimming


Many racers remember the castle from the first year due to the cold. That year the race was six weeks later in the year. Nowadays when you get out of the water and look at the castle with its fantastic sculptures, you can feel the warmth of the old atmosphere.

Michael Lemmel

Training advice for Ötillö 1000 Lakes

Training for this race, you should focus on long intervals. It is a flat course, with long runs, long swims with few transitions between the disciplines. Also, don’t forget to pack all your essentials! Download our Checklist for your swimrun race day.

Lovisa Jönsson will travel to the race together with Anna Karlsson as team TOT Swimrun. They are looking forward to an adventure, and to see the town. “And it will be so much fun cheering on the sprint the day before,” Anna says. “Also, trying the highly recommended vegan burgers” – Lovisa adds.

TOT Swimrun before traveling to Germany for Ötillö 1000 Lakes
Lovisa Jönsson and Anna Karlsson after a local swim competition

A special memory from the race was when the team went out at five in the morning looking for wild boar and listening to the red deer. Just having a break from the race and enjoy nature was spectacular.

Michael Lemmel

Are you up for an adventure? Let us help you reach your training and racing goals. Register your information to get your individual training plan for your next swimrun season!

Input form for an individual plan
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  • In case we need to contact you for follow up questions.
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  • Enter the date you think you are ready to start with structured training.
    Date Format: YYYY dash MM dash DD
  • A rough guide: Getting started (4h), Experience / Super-sprint (4-6h), Sprint distance (6-10h), Full distance (8-14h)
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  • If you have not yet decided, enter an approximate date.
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Triathlon vs swimrun – The wetsuits

triathlon vs swimrun wetsuit

Wetsuits are a science all by them selfs. What difference is there between different wetsuit, and can you wear a triathlon wetsuit for a swimrun or a swimrun wetsuit for an open water swimming race? In this article, we try to explain the differences and walk through the neoprene jungle.

What is a swimrun wetsuit?

Swimrun wetsuits have the zipper on the front end of the suit, and sometimes they have two zippers – one in front and one in the back for easy dressing/undressing. It is also nicer to have zipped down in front during running, both for cooling down and the breathing. 

Legs are cut above the knees, and the material at the hip is often very thin and soft to enhance the running. Arms on the wetsuit can be long or short, or even detachable. To each their own.  These suits are designed not only for swimming but running in them as well. Therefore, they are not solely optimized for swimming. They often have pockets where you can carry your mandatory equipment.

What is a triathlon wetsuit?

Wetsuits used in triathlons are the same as wetsuits for open water swimming. There are multiple types of suits depending on what type of swimmer you are, more or less buoyancy and mobility depending on the model and your needs. Rules stipulate that a wetsuit used in a triathlon or open water swimming can’t be thicker than five millimeters.

Triathlon vs swimrun wetsuits

So what is the difference between a triathlon vs swimrun wetsuit? In triathlon, there are rules regarding the thickness of the materials used, and the suit can not be thicker than five millimeters giving the swimmer an unfair advantage due to the buoyancy. Since there is no governing body in the swimrun world. Suits can be designed with float panels as thick as you like. Ranging from no extra float aid to maxed out suits with 8 millimeters of neoprene. 

Can I use one wetsuit for both sports?

Can I use my swimrun wetsuit if I want to participate in a triathlon? Sadly, there is not a yes or no answer to this question. Instead, you have to look at your swimrun wetsuit. There are rules regarding some aspects of a wetsuit used in a triathlon. The first is: Is your swimrun wetsuit thicker than five millimeters? If so, it is not allowed. Triathlon wetsuits can’t be thicker than five millimeters. Today, most swimrun wetsuits are thinner than that, but there are still models that cater to the swimmer who likes more buoyancy in their wetsuit. 

I personally have seen people use swimrun wetsuits at races without being disqualified, and if you are not competing for the podium, and instead are in it for the fun of racing. The race marshalls won’t say anything. But to be on the safe side, call the race organization beforehand and check if they are ok with it. I bet that they are more keen on seeing you on the starting line and having a great experience than turning you down because of your wetsuit.

Are you interested in training for a triathlon or swimrun race? Fill out the form below!

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Mandatory equipment for swimming

Mandatory equipment for swimrun

Mandatory equipment for swimming? Almost all races have mandatory equipment for the swim section. And here are some of the usual things to bring. Be sure to read the race information beforehand. 

Do you want to be sure that you have everything you need for your big race? Download the equipment for swimrun – checklist and/or the Triathlon race day checklist

There are differences between sport. In swimrun for example, you will need more equipment due to safety. Since you and your racing partner need to be able to help yourself and each other waiting for aid to arrive. In triathlon, you are seldom far from safety boats or land. Here we take a look at the equipment that usually is part of the mandatory equipment for races.

Mandatory equipment

First aid kit

  • The first aid kit consists of a pressure bandage and adhesive dressing (as a minimum). There are swimrun marketed options if you don’t buy that kind. Take some time to waterproof your first aid kit. If the situation calls for its use. Be prepared! 

Whistle

  • Calling for help can be difficult at sea or when in pain in the woods. It is easier to blow a whistle to get attention. Therefore it is crucial to have it within reach at all times. 

Compass

  • Compass for swimrun. Some races have it as a piece of mandatory equipment (the ÖtillÖ World Championship for one). Some modern sports watches carry a compass function. But check with the race director or athlete contact before you arrive if that is an option. 

Wetsuit

  • Covered in a separate post.  

Swim cap

  • Supplied by the race organization, must be worn during all swims. If you need to wear an extra swim cap or neoprene headband, wear it underneath.  

In triathlon, however, there is less equipment that is mandatory and more regulations around the actual equipment that is allowed. But, there is still some equipment that you will need. And that is that you wear your swim cap for the whole swim, and recommended is the use of a wetsuit. The wetsuit is as said not mandatory but recommended by the race organizations. Wear it between 15,9 degrees Celsius and 22 degrees in ITU races, and up to 24,5 degrees celsius in Ironman races

In swimming races, the mandatory equipment is at a bare minimum. Use the swim cap supplied by the race organization. And often, it is not written, but mandatory because of decency is a swimsuit covering your privates.  


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Ötillö swimrun world championship

swimrun racing

The Ötillö swimrun World Championship is held the first Monday in September every year. It is to swimrun what Kona (Hawaii) is for triathlon. This is the original swimrun, the mother, the monster…the magical race!

“If you are lucky enough to get a spot at Ötillö World Championship, take your time to open up to the atmosphere and the energy of all the racers. The swimrun community is filled with good emotions and energy, try to feed off that!”

Michael Lemmel

Watch our interview with race-director Michael Lemmel

Michael is one of two race-directors, together with Mats Skott he arranges the Ötillö swimrun world championship and the swimrun world series. In this interview, Michael shares his thoughts about the race, the course and his favorite place alongside it.

“The original Ötillö racecourse is a monster. You can’t wrap your head around it. There are 24 islands, that are all different. And the swims vary from nice and calm, to really messy. It is the ultimate swimrun racecourse.”

Michael Lemmel

Starting in Sandhamn, and the very quiet and focused run to the first swim, this is the start of your journey towards the finish line at Utö Värdshus. The first swim, sighting towards a stroboscope on the next island is magical! Swimming as the sun rises and you know you have a fantastic day ahead of you in the Stockholm archipelago is a thrill. The Ötillö swimrun world championship takes you through varied terrain and scenery, everything from the small uninhabited islands to large islands like the infamous Ornö. Where the racers will do the longest run, just shy of a half-marathon.

“Ötillö is such a massive place, and massive course, and massive experience – It changes people’s lives. One thing we should bring with us is that all the emotions, the community and the essence of swimrun emanate from ÖtillÖ World Championship.”

Michael Lemmel
Swimrun team ötillö
Jenny Ramstedt and Anneli Wall at the Ötillö swimrun Utö.

Ötillö is a fantastic combination of a race, just like swimrun is as a sport! The variety of nature, the length of the race and everything that can happen between start and finish.
For me personally, my mood changes as much as nature along with the course changes. I look forward to some parts of the course, embraces changes
Most important always –  to do your best as a team and have fun with your partner! 

JENNY RAMSTEDT

Follow the race live

As a spectator of the race, it can be difficult to follow. You need a boat to get around the massive racecourse. But, thankfully, Ötillö broadcast the whole race live with fantastic commentators! So if you are not one of the lucky enough to be able to race the swimrun world championship. Be sure to follow it via this link. The Ötillö swimrun world championship is something extra, and a great watch!

Individual swimrun training plan

Are you as hyped up as we are for this? Do you want to get into the fun of swimrun? Sign up for a free individual swimrun training plan!

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  • Enter the date you think you are ready to start with structured training.
    Date Format: YYYY dash MM dash DD
  • A rough guide: Getting started (4h), Experience / Super-sprint (4-6h), Sprint distance (6-10h), Full distance (8-14h)
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Individual swimrun training plan

Swimrunners transitioning from water to land

For your training to become relevant, motivating and also help to prepare for an upcoming swimrun race, you will benefit from an individual swimrun training plan.

Whether you are a beginner and ask yourself – How to start swimrun training – or, a seasoned endurance athlete. We know that you want to make the most of your training effort.

How to structure swimrun training?

We help you to structure your training and racing season. Our coaching is based on your previous experience as an endurance athlete, your current .physical capacity and your training goal. With this, we provide you with a periodized swimrun training schedule.

This plan will guide you in how much, how often and how hard you should train.

Sign up for your swimrun training plan

If you want our help to structure your training, register your information in the form below. We will then send you an individual swimrun training plan for free.

If you are a triathlete, use this form instead.

  • Background

  • In case we need to contact you for follow up questions.
  • Training

  • Enter the date you think you are ready to start with structured training.
    Date Format: YYYY dash MM dash DD
  • A rough guide: Getting started (4h), Experience / Super-sprint (4-6h), Sprint distance (6-10h), Full distance (8-14h)
  • Racing

  • If you have not yet decided, enter an approximate date.
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What is swimrun? A sport on the rise

This is the sport of swimrun

What is swimrun?

What does swimrun mean? It is a sport where you alternate between running and swimming without stopping to change gear during transitions. I.e You swim with your shoes on and run in your wetsuit. Sounds strange? Remember the joy you had as a child of jumping in the water with your clothes on? That feeling is great even as an adult!

The origin of swimrun?

It all started with a drunken bet. In 2002, four gentlemen sat at Utö Värdshus and talked about the distance from Utö to Sandhamn. They agreed that in teams of two, they would race from Utö, with three stops along the way. At these stops, there are restaurants where the second team would pick up the tab.

Said and done, the two teams set out on what would become a movement, and a monumental first go at the massive 75-kilometer course (the wrong way, ending with the long and cold swim between Vindalsö and Sandön none the less). That time, it took them more than 24 hours to complete the full distance.

Why is it called swimrun?

In 2006, the original swimrunners (albeit they didn’t have a name for what they were doing) approached the two experienced adventure racers Mats Skott and Michael Lemmel asking if they thought possible of making a race out of it.

They saw the potential of the experience and started what is now the name synonym with swimrun: ÖtillÖ (island to island in Swedish).

One of the early adopters of the sport, Erika Rosenbaum came up with the name we use today, saying that you should just call it swimrun.

The evolution of a sport

From the early days of swimrun, when what is now the world championship was the only race, a lot has happened.

In the first years, participants needed to wear life jackets during the swims, and to make it to the finish line before it got dark, they rode 3-speed bikes over the infamous Ornö. And winning times have shrunk from 24 hours to just over seven and a half hours.

One of the reasons the sport has evolved so rapidly, is because the rules are quite relaxed. Main rules to follow are:

  • You compete in a team of two, and can not be further than 10 meters apart.
  • Always help a team in need.
  • Leave only footprints, don’t throw trash in nature.

Your swimrun gear differs from that in swimming or triathlon, where there are strict rules about how the wetsuit can be designed, and when to wear it. Instead, the rule is, what you have on the starting line, you need to carry to the finish line. If you want to use paddles, pull buoy or anything else – Go ahead!

Today swimrun is a sport for everyone

From the early days, when people ran in wetsuits designed for open water swimming. Starting to redesign the suits them selfs and putting a zipper in front for an easier way of ”cabbing down” (taking the suit off on the upper body during the run). Today, multiple brands design swimrun wetsuits, and there are even brands dedicated solely to swimrun. Lots have happened.

And although the sport is starting to get refined, you still see lots of homemade gear at races, and the evolution is still rapid! ­

And it is no longer a sport over really long distances. Swimrun is now for everybody. Swimrun for fun, to people who want to take it as their main sport.

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Swim technique training for triathletes – 10 swim drills

Swim technique training for triathletes

There are many advantages to incorporating swim drills in your training regiment.  In order for you to be able to cope with the training load. your body needs to be strong and resilient. And these 10 Swim technique training for triathletes will help you building strength, technique, and endurance. So that you can work out, compete and be injury free.

Focusing on technique in swimming instead of relying on muscular power will take you further.

Be careful

Take it slowly and methodically with the technique exercises. Feel how the body moves through the water. Be aware of where you have your head, hip, and heels. Where are the legs? Where are the arms? How do I keep my head? Do I breathe? Or do I hold my breath? There are many things you can think about when swimming, but focus on one thing at a time! The films below are excellent examples of swim form you can visualize when you do the technique exercise yourself!

The films have voice-overs in Swedish, but we have transcribed them in English beneath.

10 exercises for your swimming

We recommend that you put drills in every swim session, it doesn’t have to be a lot but a little goes a long way. Below you have 10 exercises. We like to do it as 25 meters swim drill, followed by 25-meter freestyle with focus on the purpose of the drill we did prior.

Train your weaknesses

Do drills both that you like, and drills you feel are hard. That way, you can keep your spirit up, even though training feels hard. Try to do two hard drills and two fun drills.

Catch Up

How to: 

  • Place your arms in front of you, with your hands shoulder width appart.
  • Do one stroke and recovery, while your other arm is leading you, resting forward.
  • Don’t exaggerate the kick
  • Repeat.

Focus:

  • Your elbow should be as close to the surface as possible (within your range of motion). Don’t let it sink towards the bottom.

Good for:

  • Your direction
  • Shoulder strength
  • Timing of your stroke

Superman drill (Single arm)

How to:

  • Stretch your lead arm forward. Reach for the end of the pool.
  • Swim with the same arm for a whole length.

Focus:

  • “catch” the water.
  • Keep your elbow high, near the surface.
  • Feel how your body rotates when doing the drill.

Good for:

  • Body rotation.
  • Stretching your arm forward, finding where to catch the water

Paddles

How to:

  • Paddles are used to build strength and endurance.
  • Paddles come in different sizes, start out small!

Focus:

  • Paddles will exaggerate everything in your stroke. Good or bad. So focus on technique!
  • Try to use the paddle as an extension of your forearm, not your hand.

Good for:

  • Swimming strength
  • Swimming endurance

Pull buoy

How to:

  • Using a pull buoy is a great way to learn how to rotate your body as a whole.
  • Place the pull buoy between your legs, and gently squeeze.

Focus:

  • Rotate your body as one package.
  • Your rotation drives from the hips and core, not your shoulders.

Good for:

  • Focus on your stroke
  • Body rotation
  • Letting your legs rest

Sculling

How to:

  • Have your arms extended forward.
  • Use your shoulders to move your arms forward, no bend at the elbows
  • Use a light kick

Focus:

  • Catching water in your palms.
  • Feel the water

Good for:

  • Finding your catch
  • Core stabilization 

Freestyle with fins

How to:

  • When using fins (or kicking in general), kick from your hip.
  • Don’t overreach, do your normal short rapid kick.

Focus:

  • Focus on using your big muscles around your hip.
  • Having a tight core.

Good for:

  • Building endurance
  • Building swim strength
  • Speed work

Head position

How to:

  • Try to start swimming with your head lifted and eyes forward. Then lower your head and look down.
  • Feel the difference in drag.

Focus:

  • Head, hips, and heels in line and close to the surface.

Good for:

  • Body position
  • Balance
  • Efficiency

Kicking with kickboard

How to:

  • Hold the kickboard in front of you.
  • Hold your head just above the water, looking forward.
  • Try having your hip close to the surface

Focus:

  • Kick from the hip. 
  • Active core, don’t let your lower back arc.

Good for:

  • Developing your kick
  • Hip strength
  • Building your endurance

Kicking with fins

How to:

  • Arms forward, and head down.
  • Breath forward.

Focus on:

  • Kicking from the hips.
  • Hips close to the surface.
  • Relaxed wrists.

Good for:

  • Building Strength
  • Building endurance
  • Sense of speed

Kicking on the side

How to:

  • Lay on your side, with the lower arm forward.
  • The innactive arm should have the shoulder above the surface
  • Keep tension through your core

Focus on:

  • Keeping your balance
  • Kicking from the hip
  • Feel the water

Good for:

  • Balance
  • Strengthening your legs
  • body position
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Equipment for swimrun – Checklist for race day

equipment for swimrun - race day checklist

This is the checklist that we use for equipment for swimrun going to races. It can also act as an inspiration for what type of equipment you may need going forward in your commitment to the sport of swimrun.

You have probably trained a lot for your race, and with that commitment to swimrun, it would be a major stress to realize just before the start that you have forgotten something at home.

All in check

Having a checklist is a great way of taking control of the nervousness that comes with racing. So that you can stop thinking about what gear you might have missed. This checklist will help you pack all the things you will need.

You can never control everything, the weather can change or the race course maybe has to be changed!?

But by using our checklist for the race day, you can rest and be assured that you have done everything that you can do. As it says on The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – DON’T PANIC

Do you want to be sure that you have done everything that you can do before race day? Check out our training program for swimrun

Your checklist for race day

Register below for your swimrun gear checklist and minimize your stress when it comes to race day.[/vc_column_text]

  • If you have not yet decided, enter an approximate date.
    Date Format: YYYY dash MM dash DD
  • Our recommendation in the choice of training level is *Experience / Super-sprint, select Swimrun 4 - Swimrun 6 * Sprint, select Swimrun 6 - Swimrun 10 * Full Distance, select Swimrun 8 - Swimrun 12
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