Going swimming with the Caveman


When I visit my parents on their farm in Mpumalanga South Africa, going swimming does not happen very often, – for reasons you’ll soon find out- but going swimming is usually a lotmore fun than it should be…

While the Caveman built 25m home pool is under construction, swimmable water requires travel….


Kitting up to go swimming. Putting on layers and layers of protective motorcycle gear (and I wear every piece of protection known to man) in December or February heat, is an endurance sport in itself.  Here my dad is finishing up (he does not need much of an excuse to go riding) while Liezel is working up a sweat. We’re on the KTM 950 -the orange beast on the right- and my dad on the cute little BMW GS800 on the left. For reasons not entirely known, there are no 2 groups of people more divided than BMW and KTM adventure bike riders…


So the 50km trip to the swimming location is the key ingredient to the fun factor of the ride. The “road” starts out small and scenic. Cant go too fast here because of the traffic. The wildlife traffic that is. If you hit a fully grown Kudu bull at any speed, you WILL lose. Actually, hitting a just a teenage Kudu bull at any speed will cut short any swimming for quite some time.

For non African readers, this is a Kudu bull: There is no matchbox in the picture for scale, but its not a dainty antelope.


Ok, you dont get to hit Kudus (or swim)  if you cant cross the river. Heavy rainstorms may delay swimming for days on end…


If you manage to escape the perils of the 15km dirt road (although the dirt riding is my favourite), you get to whoosh around hair pin bends and scenic straight aways, up and over the 20km long Watervalsrivierpas. (Water falls river pass- also great for cycling)  Dont “whoosh” beyond your talents, as you may become a roadside cross…


Make sure to enjoy the views and smell the acacias in bloom- you only live once- may as well make it count.


Finally, the swim location. Did I mention that Lydenburg does not have a swimming pool? It does have a beautiful dam though.


I have already written about this topic twice in “Caveman’s semi secret swimming protocol” and “Champions training- different stroke for different folks” but a revisit is always good:

After neglecting my swimming a bit last year, I decided to Super Size my swimming performance with a tried and tested recipe: No, not the Colonel’s recipe, but Mikael Mendonca’s receipe:

1) Underwater video stroke analysis.

A good swim stroke is by far the most important aspect of swim performance. Whatever this (below) is, its not going to go fast- anyone can see that. Got some serious work to do… (and fortunately, gains to make)


We video my swim stroke often to ensure progress. This one taken by my wife with GoPro camera. In fact, most of the still pics in this blog were taken with a GoPro action camera. The ones NOT taken with GoPro, I marked with * in the lower R corner.

2) Customized training program.

Cycle through sessions 1-3 in numeric order, with at least one day off between swims. That makes for 5.8km a week or 6.7km on a big week, depending if you start on a monday.

Mikael prescribed a lot of hypoxic* swimming- which also helps with my asthma.

*Hypoxic swimming means holding your breath for a certain number of strokes. (3, 5, 7, 9)


by Mikael Mendonca

3) Practice, practice practice…





Happy swimming


Conrad Stoltz 4 x XTERRA WORLD CHAMP » Conrad Stoltz wins XTERRA Grabouw 29-02-2012, 10:34

[…] it or not, Caveman 1st individual out the swim. Must be that hectic swim training-click for […]

sk_burnett 13-02-2012, 10:50

what happened to the home pool?


(don’t need to remind us what happened to the sheryl crow speedo)


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