In this guest blog post, MySwimPro Ambassador Craig Frederiksen shares his journey from collegiate swimmer to nationally-ranked open water powerhouse.

My name is Craig Frederiksen, and I’m a swimaholic. I’m an avid open water swimmer and US Masters Swimming All American living in West Bend, WI. 

When I’m not swimming, I work as an Occupational Safety Manager at John Deere and enjoy spending time with my wife and two kids. 

My Swimming Story

When I was young, my parents put me in swim lessons, and I eventually started swimming with a club team. I competed for my high school in Moline, Illinois, and went on to swim in college for Western Illinois University.

Related: How I Train for Marathon Open Water Swims

After collegiate swimming ended I transitioned to masters swimming. Our local club only had pool time for one group workout per week, so I ended up training solo most of the time. 

In 2017 I won the men’s open water marathon at US Masters Open Water National Championships. Later that year, I attempted to cross the English Channel. In short, I was unsuccessful. I’m pretty disappointed with the result of that particular endeavor, but I’m equally thankful for the experience.

Related: 5 Secrets to a Faster Open Water Swim Race

Preparing for the English Channel totally abolished what I thought my physical limitations were, and I’ve trained more intentionally ever since. Each passing season I’ve grown more confident and consistent in training and competition, and it has paid off.

I was the first place male in the 2018 Swim Around Key West, and have won quite a few shorter open water races in my area. I have over 20 top 10 finishes for my age group in US Masters pool competition, too.

How I Train Alone

When I first started training alone, I often made up my workouts on the spot. Sometimes I swam with a workout buddy, but even during those workouts I usually made up a set off the top of my head.

MySwimPro changed that. Now, the app helps me create diverse Workouts with interesting structures. I like to modify the Workout of the Day to align with my current micro-cycle volume targets. 

Related: The Best Way to Track Open Water Swims with the Apple Watch

Growing up I was reliant on an analog pace clock, or if we were lucky, a programmable IST digital clock. The workout was often scribbled on a white board using some coach’s form of math equations or logic. 

Now, I sync MySwimPro Workouts to my Apple Watch to guide each training session. Although there was comfort in the nostalgic simplicity of handwritten sets and pace clocks, I can never go back. Guided Workouts paired with MySwimPro’s Advanced Analytics add so much value to the process. 

Historically, racing was the primary measure of my training effectiveness. MySwimPro gives me meaningful leading indicators about my training effect so I don’t have to wait around for my next race to determine if I need to adjust my plan. 

Looking Ahead

In the coming years, I want to continue to train for various marathon swims around the world, and compete in the pool a bit, too. I’ll keep training with a specific purpose in mind, keep improving my technique, and enjoy the journey!

If you’re interested in trying swimming, start by setting a goal to work toward, and set milestones to measure your progress. Embrace the suck on those challenging training days, and remember that it’s all part of the process. 

Follow Craig on Instagram at @craig.frederiksen. Use code CRAIG20 for 20% off MySwimPro ELITE!