What does it take to win Kona?

New Zealand Ironman champion, Braden Currie is putting his faith and Kona swim preparation in the hands of an 83-year-old Aussie legend, John Rodgers, more commonly known as ‘JR’ to help prepare him for the Big Island in October.
What does it take to win Kona?

The Currie family of four have settled into a twelve-week training camp in Noosa, Australia to get away from the New Zealand winter and target some specific performance improvements.

But what role does an 83 year-old guru have?

Swim performance is a focal point for Braden’s training block in Noosa, and JR has coached the very best, including Jan Frodeno and many Commonwealth and Olympic medal winners.

Braden has natural ability to make the front group when he races, and he hopes that working with JR will help him make improvements from the two to three-kilometer point in the race when the leaders tend to make their moves. He said:

“JR is a walking display of mental toughness and a key motivation behind always wanting to come back to Noosa. He inspires me on a daily basis and gives me s*** like no one else on this planet. He doesn’t accept weakness in any form, and I like that.”

“The swim doesn’t win you the race but puts you in a good spot and helps you play the race the way you want to. Coming out of the water not in deficit is key. I’ve been able to achieve bigger swim sets here by training with the Noosa squad who train with a commitment that comes from what the discipline of swimming against the best in the world.”

“There are two swimmers in the squad that will be racing the open water marathon at the Olympics. I’m now swimming hard for four kilometers without fatigue. I’m a big believer that by having a solid swim training load, the fitness and endurance benefits that come from this crosses over into other disciplines too, especially running.” 

“JR definitely knows how to get the most out of people because he believes in them. He has this strange ability to inspire, support and nurture you but then also be able to absolutely crush you. JR has a strong belief in high volume and intensity combined with traditional ethics of heart rate sets. A classic swim session might look like this - A 2km warm up, followed by 3*100’s on 120s and then a little recovery, followed by some really hard 50’s, 4*100’s dive sprints then 6* 200’s with a pull buoy and paddles to really tire you out. Other days I turn up and will be totally surprised with a 3km time trial out of the blue, backed up by something like 12* 400’s. In between sets he will consistently remind me of what Jan Frodeno would do.”

“It’s exciting to see Kona happening again. This is the goal for the season and my routine here in Noosa is what is getting me fitter, faster and stronger for it. I’m getting the work done. I believe it will all come together, and I’ll be ready to race in as good as form as I’ve ever been. I will have JR to thank for keeping me humble through the process and never cocky. There’s always work to be done, he will say with a crooked smile.”

Braden Currie trains and races in Blueseventy swimwear and equipment. Thank you to him and his team for sharing the above insight into high level training.

Image: Korupt Vision