The pace of the top-level swimmers is getting faster and faster at each major championship – and the number of swimmers vying for medals continues to increase.

To understand how close the top competitors are at the 2013 FINA World Championships, we can look at Chad Ho of South Africa (shown with teammate Troy Prinsloo). The 2008 Olympian placed fourth in the 5 km only 1.5 seconds out from a bronze medal and eighth in the 10 km only 7 seconds out from a bronze medal. That is less than 10 seconds over nearly 3 hours of racing from earning to medals.

I had only one day rest after the 5 km but during the 10 km I was feeling good and mentally prepared. But I could definitely feel I had raced 2 days before because my arms just about caved in with 300 meters to go.

For the 5 km I thought the pace was pretty slow until I saw the time went (53:37), so that [pace] was a big shock for me. And even though the times in the 10 km (1:49:26) were slower than the 5 km, I felt the 10 km pace was faster and there a lot more swimmers attacking to be in the front.

The 10 km was very physical; it was the most physical it has been in years. It doesn’t help having such a narrow course. The turns were a nightmare; it’s not easy trying to turn when you have more than 60 guys swimming over you. But the conditions were very flat, apart from the few waves from the boats around us. A little waves are always good, but I didn’t feel any currents. Of course, when you swimming in a huge pack like we do, it’s difficult to feel a current
.”

Copyright © 2013 by Open Water Swimming