Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Dr. Peter Attia is one of the most brilliant minds in the open water swimming world.

Dr. Attia is a scientist, surgeon, business consultant, surgeon, engineer, educator, entrepreneur, self-experimenter, and author of numerous medical and research papers.

When he writes, lectures or speaks, we listen because he doesn’t say or write anything without deep thought based on objective, scientifically-based reasoning,” said Steven Munatones. “In this week’s message, Dr. Attia talks about the Kipchoge Number which is the distance Malcolm Gladwell defines as the distance a normal person can run at Eliud Kipchoge’s marathon pace. Kipchoge is a Kenyan runner often described as the greatest marathoner of the modern era who was the gold medalist at the 2016 Olympic marathon run and the 2003 world champion.

Gladwell says that the average person has a Kipchoge Number of 20 meters.

So what is that equivalent in the marathon swimming world?

If we take the fastest winning times in the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim at the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympics [see below], the women’s open water swimming world has a Van Rouwendaal Number:

2008 Olympic 10K Marathon Swim Medalists [in the Beijing rowing basin]
Gold: Larisa Ilchenko of Russia – 1:59:27.7
Silver: Keri-Anne Payne of Great Britain – 1:59:29.2
Bronze: Cassandra Patten of Great Britain – 1:59:31.0

2012 Olympic 10K Marathon Swim Medalists [in London’s Serpentine man-made lake]
Gold: Éva Risztov of Hungary – 1:57:38.2
Silver: Haley Anderson of the United States – 1:57:38.6
Bronze: Martina Grimaldi of Italy – 1:57:41.8

2016 Olympic 10K Marathon Swim Medalists [in Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana Beach]
Gold: Sharon van Rouwendaal of the Netherlands – 1:56:32.1
Silver: Rachele Bruni of Italy – 1:56:49.5
Bronze: Poliana Okimoto of Brazil – 1:56:51.4

Van Rouwendaal’s average pace when she won gold in the turbulent 10,000-meter geometric course in Copacabana Beach (without flip turns and with feeding stops off the rhumb line) 1:56:32.1 at the 2016 Rio Olympics was 1:10 per 100 meters (or 5.1 km per hour, 1:04 per 100 yards or 3.2 miles per hour).

If you can swim at a 1:10 pace for 300 meters, then your Van Rouwendaal Number is 300. If you can only swim at a 1:10 pace for 50 meters, then your Van Rouwendaal Number is 50.

What is your Van Rouwendaal Number?

Copyright © 2008-2018 by World Open Water Swimming Association