Facts about Andrew:
Name: Andrew Horsfall-Turner
Wetsuit size: Medium
Personal bests/records: 47m03s Swim Split at Ironman Wales 2019 (Fastest oft the day by 25seconds). As a swimmer 4m03s for 400m Freestyle.
Favourite place:Paros Island, Greece
Favourite Superfood:Risotto (Chicken & Chorizo)
Favourite Powerdrink: Beta Fuel by SiS/KomFuel
This is a workout/training I love:In Swimming I love a long aerobic pull session with a pull bouy, band and hand paddles. An example of this may be:
2 x 500 off 6:40
3 x 400 off 5:20
4 x 300 off 4:00
5 x 200 off 2:40
6 x 100 off 1:20
This is a workout/training I hate:In Swimming, anything with sprinting in/ lactate burning. Something like 10 x 50 Freestyle Max effort on 1:30!
This is what makes me happy:Spending time with my partner, family and friends, and being able to spend time outside training and feeling physically healthy.
This is what I don't like:Definitely waking up early in the morning. As a swimmer for 15 years, 5am wake ups where a 6 day a week thing. As I have matured into a triathlete I appreciate the effect a good nights sleep can have!
This is my strength:As an athlete and person I feel my strengths include being very motivated and having a relentless work ethic. I truly commit to everything I put my mind to. I will always give my best effort to achieve what I set out to do. This motivation I feel helps me stay focuses even when there are long periods of training before the next race. I enjoy the process and that’s what fuels me.
Hi Andrew. First tell us something about your sporting career, what have you done so far?
As a swimmer I competed at a domestic national level in the swimming pool. Competitive swimming really suits the anaerobic animals, and unfortunately, my physiological make up is more built for endurance and strength rather than speed and power! In open water I competed at an Invite International level, competing at mile events and longer against some of the very best in the sport of swimming!
When I shifted to Triathlon in 2018 I found some success competing my first 70.3 Ironman, and then the following year competing Ironman Wales 2019 where I was the quickest swimmer of the day 47m03s, out splitting triathlon swimming legend Dylan McNiece by 25seconds.In that event I went on to secure a slot for the Ironman World Championships which hopefully will go ahead October 2021!
What fascinates you about triathlon? What motivates you?
Triathlon specifically fascinates me as it’s a challenge. As athletes we are always looking at something that scares you, coming from a swimming background the cycling and running aspect did just that. The fear excites you to work hard and embrace adversity. When looking at Ironman Triathlon it’s the same, however, the motivation grows more as I know it suits me as an athlete. It is one big tough training day and that suits me!
So your strength is clearly swimming. Where do you see your greatest development potential in triathlon?
When I started triathlon from being a swimmer I somehow picked up cycling really easily (possibly from a little mountain biking I did as a very little kid). My power was naturally quite high, I just needed to learn more about the craft of how to move fast! Running on the other hand has been a tough one. Coming from a sport that is not weight bearing, running has played havoc in terms of little niggle, injuries etc. When I started the sport I could run around 21/22minutes for a 5km, in the space of just over 2 years I am already running a 15minute 5km. I think my biggest development will be consistency of running over a few years where I believe & hope I may be able to run a 2h40m at the end of an Ironman!
What were your highlights in 2020, were there highlights despite Coronavirus?
Unfortunately, 2020 didn’t turn out the way athletes had planned in terms of racing and events. However I believe I had 3 major highlights that I think will make 2021 a great year.
- Competed top 10 at Outlaw X half where I was able to match up against the Top British Middle distance athletes and showed that my Swim-Bike Combination was at a world class level.
- I embraced open water swimming as not only a way to “train”, but a real passion. – I spend a lot of the summer in my Helix just enjoying being in the clear waters we have in South Wales, experiencing the sea life.
- Made big strides in my training, especially my running. I ran more volume and more consistently in 2020 which showed by running a 5km best time!
You had a lot planned for 2020, among other things you wanted to break the swimming record in Kona. To what extent did the Corona pandemic and the associated restrictions affect your plans?
Until the race was postponed it did effect my ability to train. With all the pools in the UK shut, I did start to worry that the long period of time out of the water may effect my ability to reach this goal. What I learnt after a lot of open water swimming in the summer, and then when I was able to get back in the pool is that I could get my swimming fitness back fast (15 years of competitive swimming paying off!). Although we are currently back in Lockdown in the UK I’m confident that once pools re open and the sea warms up, I will be able to get myself in shape to break the swim course record in Kona in 2021.
Did you have to change your training?
Yes- during lockdowns where swimming is not possible I supplemented the sessions with some Strength and Conditioning work, including resistance swimming bands, shoulder mobility work and core strength. I also used the extra time to increase my running volume and gain the recovery needed.
Did you participate in virtual competitions?
I took part in a number of Zwift Races during the first lockdown. These where great, super exciting and made you dig lot harder than you would have if you were in a normal session! It was good to feel like you where racing again too, with the nerves etc.
What are your plans for the 2021 season?
Copy and Paste from 2020!
My event schedule is very similar to 2020 (what it should have been!) this is some of the races that I’m targeting:
- 70.3 Ironman Venice (2nd May)
- 70.3 Ironman Luxembourg (20th June)
- Outlaw - Ironman Full distance event (24th July)
- Ironman World Championships Kona (9th October) ->Target - Swim Course Record 46:29
We have noticed that the number of open water swimmers has increased a lot in 2020. Do you have any tips for open water beginners?
So great to see new people taking up Open Water Swimming! Some of the tips I would give to new swimmers are:
- Finding a good fitting wetsuit- The entry level sprint is a great option!
- Swim with others – This is a safety point as much as for enjoyment! Take friends with you and if you can go somewhere lifeguarded even better!
- Acclimatisation – Cold water can shock the body. Enter slowly, let a little water down the suit and adjust before you start swimming.
- Stay Shallow- If you have a beach, river or lake with a shallow area start swimming here first. This replicates the pool, and you can put your foot down if you need!
- Pace it – It important you start slower that you want to swim and then build into it. You’ll get much more enjoyment from this!
And while we're on the subject of giving out tips. Do you have some for open water swimmers who want to get faster?
A few tips for really maximising performance:
- Wetsuit again! Look at the more performance based suits like the Reaction and Helix. These are what I wear, and you’ll feel the performance gains.
- Train with faster swimmers than you.
- Drafting – Learn to swim on someone’s hip/ feet. If this is done effectively you can save energy, or swim faster than you would on your own.
- Sighting- If you’re looking to swim a faster swim split work on sighting to ensure you are swimming straight. The shorter line you swim the faster you’ll be.
Why did you choose B70 as your swimwear supplier? What is it that connects you to this brand?
There is two main reasons I chose to wear and work with Blueseventy. The first is that in 2012, I bought my first ever wetsuit (I was competing in elite swimming at the time). This was an old version of the Blueseventy Helix that’s around today. I could tell straight away what a great suit is was and found my open water performances where great from the very start. The second is that I have then followed them as I transitioned out of swimming into triathlon, It is clear to see that the innovation they have given to the swim suits over the years. The flexible panels that allow for maximum comfort and mobility in addition to performance is outstanding. I can wait to try the New 2021 iterations of the Helix and Reaction!
What does Andrew actually do when he's not training? What else fills you up? Or are you fully occupied with training?
Training really is a full time job with big training weeks around 25 hours, but I actually work part time as a swimming coach. I find coaching so rewarding, helping other achieve their goals and ambitions. When I’m not training and racing I fill my time with Netflix and coastal path walks with my partner Emily.
If you had one wish, what would it be?
If I had to have one wish it is that my body stays healthy and that I am able to continue to compete in Swim/Bike/Run events for many years to come!
Andrew, thank you very much for this interview! We are very happy to start a exiting season 2021 with you!