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New Year's resolutions and an Escape from Alcatraz

We asked Julian Swan, one of the SwimAR creators, what's on his mind as he looks to 2018.

"I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions but I do like to take some time to plan my year ahead and review my bucket list. 

When it comes to sport related achievements, I know I have to set targets or goals, to keep focused on my training. Last year I didn’t sign up to any triathlons and this massively affected my training. There was always a work or social commitment that took priority here and there. Before I knew it, a week had passed and I’d not trained.

This year I want to improve my fitness and set myself some long-term goals. Bucket list stuff. So, whilst a list of ‘resolutions’ won’t work for me, the fear of not performing in a race will motivate me to make time to get to the pool, get me out on a run and put the miles in on my bike, whatever the weather. I start to work my other commitments around my training.
I particularly enjoy the big tri-events like Blenheim Palace & London Tri, as the crowd motivates me when it’s getting tough. There are not many opportunities to race on your bike on closed roads in London so these events are great for cycling and running in amazing settings.

Here are a few sport related challenges on my bucket list that I’m considering for this year which will require a lot of focused training.

Complete an Iron Man

I started out with the London Triathlon, sprint distance, in 2010. Stepped up to Olympic distance after that and now it feels like time to tackle an Iron Man. I’ve never run a marathon so it’s a big jump but with the right training I reckon I’ve got it in me.

Escape from Alcatraz

When I was passing through San Francisco, I was struck by the beauty of the bay and the iconic city. When I discovered there was a triathlon I could do there, aptly named Escape from Alcatraz that involved swimming off the island of Alcatraz as part of a triathlon, it went straight onto my list. 

Alpe D’heuz triathlon

I’ve watched the Tour de France since I was a young lad in Ireland. I’ve skied there as an adult, seen the names of my heroes on the roads and know the route inside out. The 21 hairpins are an iconic part of the road race, so doing them as a part of the Alpe D’heuz triathlon would be a dream come true for me.

The Hellespont Swim

One day I’d like to swim from Asia to  Europe across the Bosborus, following the Greek myth of Leander & Hero. Most Triathlons involve an open water swim and that’s opened up a whole new world to me. I find myself thinking about what it would be like to swim in a lake or the sea when I’m in a new place, which would never have crossed my mind in the past. 

But this particular swim is inspired by the stuff of Greek Legends. I first heard of it in an article celebrating Lord Byron who did it 200 years ago, just to prove it was possible and considered it one of his greatest achievements in life. Today there’s an annual organised event you can qualify to take part in, which is 4-5km depending on the route marked out on the day. 

Kona Ironman

It’s by invitation only. So, while I’m still dreaming, the Kona Ironman is always on the list.

Some 'design and build' items on my bucket list...

SwimAR heads-up training system

I have dreamt of making a product to help my swim training for years and finally this year we get to see it come to life. We are using high-tech Sony SmartGlass technology, to display live feedback for swimmers, that can be attached to your own pair of googles.

Getting to design, prototype and crowdfund your idea with the awesome team here at The Imagination Factory has been superb. it doesn't get much better than having to talk about triathlon and swim training at work.

Build a bike

I love looking at bikes and I think the Paris Galibier frame is beautiful and unusual and I’d love to build it. It's a retro bike but in carbon fibre, with an unusual frame from 1940’s. I’ve already designed it in CAD so we can 3D print the lugs and buy the carbon fibre tubes, then glue it together.

Robot Wars

My friend Munashe and I spend a lot of time chatting about how we would win Robot Wars so this is high on our list to do soon. The name of robot is yet to be decided. Sketches are top secret.


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