After 56 days since swimming pools lock down, we were cleared for open water swimming; today I swam 1,5 miles at a pace 10-12 seconds per 100m slower than my usual. In the past 8 week I did a mix of strength training with stretch cords, chin up bar, dumb bells and body weight, 3 times a week; I think it helped keeping me afloat
I've been Vasa only for 8 weeks. I'm eager to see what kind of progress I've made, if any. I've certainly gotten used to the convenience of hitting the Vasa in the basement...
While I can see you were swimming a slightly slower pace than usual, once you get your sea legs back do you feel like you made any progress being out of the water, or more like just maintained?
I'll jump in here, having used my Vasa a lot through various situations.
For me, the Vasa alone (no pool for like 2 months) does NOT get me faster in the water, meaning getting me to hit faster pool paces than I ever have. Sorry, I said it. So forget about jumping into the pool and throwing down some huge PRs. Not gonna happen.
It's just reality that the Vasa mimics the power phase of the stroke, but obviously doesn't help with body position, hydrodynamics, breathing, timing, etc. all of which are crucial skills to swim faster. You obviously cannot learn to swim if you don't know how to and just use a Vasa crazy hard for a year. You will still nearly drown. Similarly, all that muscular endurance in the pull you develop on the Vasa will be hidden if you do not have the technique, stroke timing, or drag reduction to let it express itself.
Now the upside - the Vasa really does work for what it does. It allows you to maintain and even improve the power phase of your pull, which is your single biggest determinant of speed once you're past raw beginner level. So if you've got all that power, it's just a matter of getting the rest of the swim pieces to catch up. For a half-decent tri swimmer, that may take only a few pool swims, or only a matter of weeks. I actually strongly suspect that the better swimmer you are, the more effective the Vasa will be, as you will have already developed the other limiters (which come back a lot faster than gaining more pull power.)
And if you were a pretty decent tri swimmer prior to the lockdown, I'd expect to lose very little if you've been good about using the Vasa. I've taken 2 months completely out of water on Vasa due to local pool shutdowns - the first goaround without Vasa I lost so much that it took nearly 4 months to even get back to that level. I bought the Vasa shortly after that and I've lost very little even after 2 months of nothing but Vasa.
In my experience, best-use case is doing the right mix of pool swimming + Vasa erg, where the erg helps you amp up that crucial power phase of the stroke, and the pool gives you enough to get the rest of the stroke to match it. I absolutely swim muy fastest and best when my combined Vasa+pool swimming is on point - I've tried going all pool but it doesn't quite match for me, likely because the time costs of going to the pool are so huge that I can get 2x the time on the Vasa in comparison. Volume counts!
Let us know how it goes, though!