First Out of the Water: Eric Lagerstrom at Ironman 70.3 Oceanside

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First Out of the Water: Eric Lagerstrom at Ironman 70.3 Oceanside

blueseventy was first out of the water once more!

Ironman 70.3 Oceanside took place in Southern California a few weeks ago, unofficially kicking off the triathlon season here in the US. Thousands of athletes tested themselves in this classic race, which featured a new swim course. Instead of the original out and back course in the confines of the Oceanside Marina, this year featured a point to point ocean swim. Starting on the beach, swimmers would battle any surf, swim north along the coast and turn into the harbor, swimming south and exiting on a boat ramp to run up into transition.

First out of the water was longtime blueseventy sponsored athlete, Eric Lagerstrom. After the race Eric took a few minutes to let us know how it feels to run out of the water ahead of everyone else.

A strong open water swimmer, Eric felt confident going into the day that if he raced like he trains he would be able to come out near the top in the swim. "I just wanted to swim fast. I put a lot more swim volume in during training than most pros and I want to make sure I use it."

eric lagerstrom exits water at ironman 70.3 oceansideAfter successfully navigating the waves with well timed dolphin dives, Eric had a small gap as he rounded the first buoy 400m into the swim and worked hard to keep that gap for the rest of the course. He offers great advice to anyone nervous or struggling with beach entry swims. "For beach starts, you need to realize you can’t fight the surf, so you need to focus on slipping through it as smoothly as possible. It’s all about flow and working with the water. Dive down deep underneath the waves when they hit, and don’t fight your way up. Arch your back and sort of rise up as the moving water passes over your back. You’ll feel when it’s right. It’ll almost feel like you pop out the back of the wave."

 Managing to maintain the lead throughout the majority of the swim wasn't easy, but Eric held on and kept pushing. He never lost his gap and hit the boat dock 15 seconds before the next pro. "Being first out of the water was fun, and a bit of a rush, but in the overall scheme of this race, I knew it wasn’t a game changer, so I just kept my head down and kept rolling. It does make T1 a little smoother since there isn’t the franticness to keep with the group."

Unfortunately an old injury flared up which took a toll on the remainder of Eric's race. "I’ve been struggling with intermittent hip pain/numbness for a few years now, and it totally flared up on me shortly after getting on the bike. It makes it really hard to produce power, as my left glute and hamstring basically go numb and I can’t control them. The whole thing is a result of a larval tear, which I’ve elected not to have operated on. It’s frustrating and this happens from time to time, but I can usually still finish, albeit a ways back from where I could otherwise."

He finished 7th overall with a time of 4:00:37. 

Looking to race Oceanside 70.3 in the future? Here are Eric's words of wisdom on successfully training for the swim.

"I would do whatever you can to practice swimming through some waves. Even if that means driving to the nearest water park, it’ll be a good thing to experience. They only run the race if the waves are under 3 feet, so the most important thing is just to get comfortable with the water moving around you. Work on just continuing to swim, keep a level body position, and not giving into the urge to go vertical in the water."