The Third Job

By: • 10 months ago •


A lot of swimmers need help, but it is simple if you know what to do.

I grew up swimming in Slovakia and then studied in Russia for a year.

For 15 years I coached kids working on the planning and program. Over this time, I realised that with the right program, anything is possible once you set the goal. It didn’t matter if you wanted to swim 100 metres, 400 metres or the English Channel, the program works if properly followed.

In 2009, Louise Stevenson was my first long distance open water swimmer. She swam the 20 Km from Cotteslole Beach to Rotnest Island in Western Australia.

Then in 2011, I had my first swimmer cross the English Channel. We added cold water and difficulty training but she finished with no problems.

I have now had 37 swimmers cross the channel and have found that the best lecture is the swimmer as every year things are changing.

If I miss something in one swimmer, I have to find it in another swimmer. I’m always learning.

I have swimmers from USA, Slovakia and Australia who cannot attend coaching sessions. I coach these clients via email with advice on completing big swims.

Three mornings a week I have around 55 swimmers in the pool, all at varying levels. Some are working for short swims and others are aiming for one or more of the seven major open water swims.

What I stress to all my swimmers is that swimming is your leisure time.

Many are already coming to relax and escape their daily problems in the pool.

They are predominantly high-level professionals who need to change their life. Maybe they need to stop drinking or have an injury that prevents them from running but once they are in the pool, they are alone.

In the water, you are by yourself.

There is no phone, and no distraction other than what you take in.


It is definitely a form of meditation where the biggest problem is the one you bought with you.

Open water swimming is becoming huge, but I still get asked about shark attacks.

There has only been one shark attack on an open water swimmer in the last 10 years and that was because they were feeding the fish.

A swimmer has a very rhythmic motion and sharks are just not attracted to that rhythm. Surfers are more of a target with studies showing that sharks do not approach swimmers.

There is danger from blue bottles, jellyfish and other boats but the biggest danger is lack of preparation. A weak swimmer in a harsh environment is a very risky situation.

Today, in Australia, there is an open water swim nearly every weekend. People are looking for longer swims with 2, 10 and 15 Km swims becoming more and more popular.

If you are thinking of doing a long swim, you need to treat it as your third job. It takes commitment and you should enjoy the process.

I call it the third job because the first job is your family, the second is how you earn a living and the third is your time alone, in the pool, finding your rhythm and letting go of your problems.


Vlad is the founder of the Vladswim program, which provides all level of swimming services from stroke correction at beginner to elite level through to coaching of an open water swimming squad and plan for specific endurance swim events.

Vlad’s expertise lies in increasing interesting and effective pool and ocean swim sessions covering all levels of intensity and skills to help swimmers achieve their long-distance goals. He has a clear understanding of how to structure training programs and plan for specific endurance swim events.

Ocean's Seven


Ocean's Seven consists of seven long-distance open-water swims, and is considered the marathon swimming equivalent of the Seven Summits mountaineering challenge.

It includes

  • The Moloka’i or Kaiwi Channel: between Hawaiian Islands of Moloka’i and O’ahu, 27 miles (44km)
  • The English Channel: between England and France, 21 miles (34km)
  • The Irish or North Channel: between Ireland and Scotland, 21 miles (34 km)
  • The Catalina Channel: between Santa Catalina Island and Los Angeles, 21 miles (34km)
  • The Cook Strait: between New Zealand’s North and South Islands, 16 miles (26km)
  • The Tsugaru Strait: between the Japanese islands of Honshu and Hokkaido, 12 miles (20km)
  • The Strait of Gibraltar: between Spain and Morocco, 8 miles (14km)

Stephen Redmond of Ireland was the first person ever to complete all seven swims. 

Since then, six others have completed the septuplet.

An alternative definition of the Ocean's Seven is one channel from each of the seven continents, just as the Seven Summits refers to the highest summit on each of the seven continents.

For this definition, the list would include a South American channel and a swim in Antarctica. For example, Lynne Cox has swum channels in 6 continents and swam for 25 minutes in Antarctica.

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