I would be willing to wager a huge amount of money that if you get the 6 months at 40km/week in, you will be in a elite front pack swimmer, say 17-18min 1500meter swimmer.
Why, because no one can survive 40km. week without MANY years of preparation and slowly building up there swimming. But in your progression, by the time you get there...you will be already fast. 40km week is almost 15h of swimming. Beleive me, in 15h, you will get all the drills in the world, all the form, all the fitness...... what you get is 15h weekly of expose time to the water.
I m very aware that it s not a practical recommendation to age grouper with limited time. But the advise still stand that when you get to the level of been able to surivive that kind of load...you will be able to swim at the front of the race.
And, to be honest, that level isnt anything specatcular in swimming therm....
I took me 6 years to survive the 6 months of swimming...... when from a 1:02 ironman swimmer to a sub 50
and for the record, life sucks big time when swimming 40km.week as a triathlete.... there is no life...
Well said, I can find very little to disagree with you. I think that you made some really important qualifications in terms of the fact that it will take quite a bit of time, indeed years, to work up to that level of training in a safe and effective manner. That notion has been nearly absent from this dialog (I think, of course, I have not read every single post on this bloody thread).
And as you and supersquid said, with that kind of time in the water, there is plenty of time for drilling. And that is the other part of this dialog, the notion of what constitutes "drilling" or "technique work" tends to be quite outmoded in my opinion. Coaches have developed a hell of a lot beyond finger-tip drag, catch-up free, and the TI canon. Things that in my way of thinking can only be regarded as "activities".
So, absolutely, spend years working up to where you have the wherewithal to nail 40k per week for 6 months (while still biking and running some). Shit dude, you should coach professionally.
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and Not just a bunch of drills - A Process.