Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

There are very few athletes in the world like Bill May who has parlayed his unique aquatic skills to a successful professional career.

May is a highly acclaimed performer and former synchronized swimmer for O, the famed long-running and highly popular Cirque de Soleil aquatic spectacular at the Bellagio Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip.

May started in 2005, working 10 shows weekly from Wednesday through Sunday. The 36-year-old former Santa Clara synchronized-turned-open water swimmer describes his training regimen, “I remember getting up early for morning workout, but now my schedule is all turned around, getting to bed about 4:30 am and waking up like 11 am. But we have a nice workout group, and do a lot of anaerobic sets like no-breather 50s and other hypoxic work.

When marathon swimmers, channel swimmers and tough open water swimmers hear of a synchronized swimmer and performer doing a workout, being impressed is probably not one of their first reactions.

Until they read about May’s workouts.

Last week’s workout was typical. Typically tough in a 50m long course pool.

6,500 meters at a fast interval, swum at a fast pace where the 36-year-old synchro swimmer held sub-1:10s on all the 100s long course.

300 easy 4:30 + 2×100 1:20 strong + 2×50 :55
2×100 1:20 strong + 2×50 :50
2×100 1:20 strong + 2×50 :45
300 easy 4:30 + 2×100 1:20 strong + 2×50 :50
2×100 1:20 strong + 2×50 :45
2×100 1:20 strong + 2×50 :40
300 easy 4:30 + 2×100 1:20 strong + 2×50 :45
2×100 1:20 strong + 2×50 :40
2×100 1:20 strong + 2×50 :35

Cruise at a 1:30 per 100m base:
200 + 4×50 + 150 + 3×50 + 100 + 2×50 + 4×50 (1 on 50, 1 on 40, 1 on 50, 1 on 35)

Pulling set:
2×100 1:30 easy
2×100 breathing every 7 to 9 strokes
2×200 2:40 (descend 1-2) + 2×100 1:30 easy + 2×300 3:45 fast + 2×100 1:30 easy

2×50: 1 easy and 1 underwater

Bill May is shown above with fellow open water swimmer Lexie Kelly after a U.S. Masters Swimming 10 km marathon swim in Lake Mead, Nevada.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association