Thank you to Chris and Chipper, the Löw Tide Böyz ‘LTB’ and Mike Barnes ‘MB’ for sharing their experiences on finding a swimrun partner. A version of this article was first published in Triathlete Magazine.
Racing as a pair is a key principle swimrun was founded on and also a great joy of the sport, sharing the experience with one other.
And according to Mike ‘whatever you do it’s certainly not a good idea to race with someone else’ husband or wife, unless you’ve permission. Remember, there’s a race photographer!’.
What to look for in a swimrun partner?
LTB: You should have ‘similar race goals’, communicate openly and be ready for an adventure. Such are the demands of the sport, that events are unpredictable. Similarly, if your prospective partner doesn’t have a decent tolerance for ambiguity and the unknown, then the adventure might turn into an ordeal.
MB: Someone you can work well with, I know it sounds cliché but it comes down to teamwork and compatibility under stress.
LTB: The second thing to look for in a swimrun partner is similar fitness level. This doesn’t mean that you swim and run in lockstep, which is actually rarer than you might think. But if there’s a gross imbalance in abilities, this could lead to a less than fun experience for both teammates.
MB: I’ve only raced with two partners, both stronger swimmers than me, and both with good cardio engines. The distance and terrain are great levellers. Teamwork will only go so far however, there needs to be some degree of balance, feeling you’re pushing your limits, and each others is part of the attraction.
LTB: Finally, and maybe most importantly, can you stand this person for hours on end? Does every dad joke they make boil your blood?
MB: Camaraderie can pull you out of those dark spells better than an energy gel.
Where can I find a swimrun partner?
LTB: As a starter for 10, go to your current swimming, running or tri club if you are a member. There is probably someone just as crazy as you.
MB: Mike found his Swimrun partner, Mark by accident. Mike invited him, as a pool swimmer, to a 6am dip in the river “We’ll take it easy, some shuttles from the pontoon to a buoy 20m away”. By quarter past we were half a mile downriver in skins!
LTB: There are a bunch of very active facebook group and sometimes Race Directors can put you in touch.
The bottom line?
Pair up with someone you like and who is of a similar ability to you.