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Jessi Stensland - Adventures in Endurance Performance

6 Posts tagged with the swimming tag

It wasn't hard to come up with this year's list.  The smarter the world is getting in the world of human performance, the more options that are being created to facilitate all the right stuff! More options has made for quite a long list. Enjoy!

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Get IT | SLEEP!

 

Before hydration, nutrition and movement strategies should come great sleep strategies. My favorite definition: "The suspension of consciousness when the powers of the body are restored."

 

Gear to go for: The Zeo Sleep Manager


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What gets measured gets improved.  Think of it as a power meter for your  recovery.   Like a power meter for the bike, the tool itself it won't make you sleep more or better, but by having quantitative data to measure, track and analyze, you can get to know more about your sleep habits and implement strategies to make quantitative improvements in your sleep and ultimately your performance.

 

 

I first heard about the Zeo Sleep Manager from Dr. Allen Lim who was using it as a training tool with the riders he was working with.  He spoke about how on  any given day, the squad might have an A, B or C ride (differing in  distance and intensity.) Which ride the riders were allowed to do on a particular day was dependent on their quality of sleep the night before as indicated by their Zeo Sleep Score.   Something else he mentioned that stood out: if one gets one more hour  of sleep per day in the week before a race, they will perform better in the race.   How great is that.  Sleep to perform better? I love learning things like this.

 

Zeo Sleep Manager has both a bedside unit (above) and the new mobile version (below right.) On the left is a sample of a graph you'll get every morning of your sleep patterns along with an overall sleep score.  My PR is 155! I love sleep.

 

 

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Work IT | Happy, strong feet!


The human foot is a masterpiece of engineering + a work of art. - Leo da Vinci


So true IF you let them be themselves.

 

"Phalangeal Freedom + Phalangeal Fitness = Phalangeal Fun"


...says Mark Verstegen of Athletes' Performance.

 

Gear to go for: Vibram 5 Finger Shoes


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Forget about running in them for a moment.  Forget about fashion and think function. There are so many  things your foot, all of it, would love to do with you:  walk, strength train, skip, hike.  There are numerous muscles of the foot and they want to be loved and put to work.  Most shoes force the foot into an unnatural shape (similar to a cast.)  They can limit mobility of the certain joints necessary for natural motion and they often soften the forces the foot has to withstand during activities thereby allowing some muscles to weaken and others to have to compensate, often unhappily.  Just like bigger muscles you can see and feel like glutes, quads, biceps and triceps, the muscles of the foot must be strengthed gradually to handle increased loads.  Depending on your level of phalangeal fitness, Vibram Five Fingers may be an even better option than simply going barefoot as they also help spread the toes.

 

I'm amazed I have seen only one, ONE, other person doing their movement/strength training in my local gym in Five Fingers.  Running shoes, cycling shoes, casual shoes more the norm.  Let's move it!

 

Your feet are a huge part of your performance.  You wouldn't wear mitts when swinging a bat, club or racket would you?  Have fun with them this year.

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Get IT | Smooth, supple muscles.


How?  By hydrating, eating right, massaging tight tissues and activating, strengthening and stabilizing other muscles.

 

Gear to go for:  Self-Massage Tools

 

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Self-massage tools should be just that: tools. Not crutches. Trigger Point Performance has lead the way with their tools and concurrent education.  I go no where without my GRID, Quadballer and Massage Ball.

 

A new kid on the block that I immediately put to use and is now a permanent addition to my gear bag is the Myorope.  Although I maintain my movement so well I rarely need to spend much time with the tools, they are an important part of my pre-covery and recovery strategies.

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Move IT | Whenever, wherever.


Wherever you are, be there.


Gear to go for:  Gaiam's Travel Yoga Mat


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Why I love it: It takes up virtually no space.  Great for adding to a gear bag so you don't have an additional item to carry.  Also perfect for the frequent traveler who doesn't mind others turning their heads while he or she indulges in some pre-flight movement preparation (or post-flight when waiting for a ride while everyone else is in line at Dunkin' Donuts OR when one misses a flight and has to spend a night in the airport in which case it pairs well with the TP Therapy GRID as a head rest.)

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Reduce and Reuse IT | For yum on the run.


Gear to go for:  To-Go Ware RePEat Utensil Set


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I have saved the lives of more plastic forks, spoons, knives and even chopsticks than I can count since I started carrying these with me.  Not only great for the environment but for convenience as well.  They are incredibly handy, wash easily and are just plain bamboo cool.

 

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Create IT | Au Natural Beauty


If you wouldn't want to eat it, why would want to smear it on your face?"


...says Supermodel Sunny Griffin in this video from The Cool Vegetarian.


Gear to go for:  Organic Body Care Recipes


Organic Body Care Recipes

 

Stephanie Tourles offers a better solution to  everyone frustrated with  the endless cycle of expensive, synthetic,  famous-name cosmetics that  often fall short of expectations. With Organic Body Care Recipes you  can take control of beauty treatments  with homemade products that use  safe, nourishing ingredients to pamper  the body and soothe the senses. Click on the book to read more about  Organic Body Care Recipes.

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Prepare IT | Athlete Food Fast


"Skills in the kitchen, rather than skills on the bike,  were such a limiting factor for so many of the athletes I was working  with.” - Biju Thomas


Gear to go for: The Feed Zone by Allen Lim and Biju Thomas


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I'm a huge fan of Biju and Allen's work.

 

Get a glimpse of their genius in the videos below:

 

Dr. Allen Lim's Beet Juice

 

Dr. Allen Lim's Rice Cakes

 

 

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Get After IT | Be great. Train great. Race great.


Get after it with...


A week of individualized performance training + nutrition with Jessi

 

A week of training at Athletes' Performance in PHX, Dallas, LA or Gulf Breeze

 

A race entry

 

A mountain bike skills clinic

 

A Functional Movement Screen

 

A massage

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WHATEVER YOU DO...GO GET AFTER IT.


BE YOUR BEST YOU!!!

 

Jessi Stensland | Elite Multisport Athlete | MovementU

1,372 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: running, cycling, swimming, triathlon, nutrition, endurance, performance, multisport, holiday, jessi_stensland, jessi, stensland, functional_training, movement, self-massage

Yesterday I twittered:

 

"Killer  wrkout @ gym incl cardio system developmnt on treadmil. HR in 190s.  Hadnt committed 2 that n a while. Felt gr8! #bustinguphomeostasis."

 

kristmjo replied:

 

@JessiStensland what is cardio system development? Sounds awesome...

 

I  tried my best to respond in 140 characters but it was impossible to nail  the scope of it so I decided a blog post, even if brief, was a good  idea.

 

"Energy System Development (ESD) is the cardiovascular component of Core Performance training programs" says CorePerformance.com. I tend to call it Cardio  System Development in public because it gives people a better idea of  what I am referring to.  In the rest of this post I will refer to it as  ESD.

 

There is a comprehensive article on the Core Performance website here and I recommend the read.  For the purpose of this post I will relate  ESD, its relevance and application, specifically to endurance  performance.

 

Think  of it this way. Cardio capacity (including cardio strength, endurance  and power) is only ONE component of swim, bike and run performance.   Other components include: muscular strength, stability, joint mobility,  flexibility, elasticity, nutrition, sleep and mindset to name a few  (major ones.)  In purposeful performance training then, the idea would  be to maximize your body's ability to perform each and every one of  those elements and then coordinate them into a movement pattern that is  your sport.  For example: the ability to stabilize the spine in the  neutral zone and maintain pelvic neutral requires core, or PILLAR,  strength and stability.  Every minute of life, save for sleep maybe,  requires it (to stay free of chronic pain and to be able to perform any  action you want.)  Every individual movement, including the incredibly  dynamic action of running (which is simply a series of coordinated  movements) requires spinal stabilization and strength in order to be  properly performed, let alone produce power when and as needed.   Training your ability to do that, as many people have experience who've  done some sort of core training, is easier maximized by doing movements  that focus specifically on that element of performance, allowing us to  bring that strength and stability and posture to our daily life and  sport.  Said another way, its hard to work on, and certainly near  impossible to maximize, core strength while running, no matter how hard  you try.

 

Cardio capacity can be considered in much the same way.

 

Swim,  bike and run are all very different movements, though all requiring the  same strong spinal stabilization and strength.  Similarly they also  require similar cardio strength, cardio endurance and cardio power.  The  only major difference between sports is the dynamic movements required  to do that activity.  Additionally, it is also important that one's  cardio capacity is able to withstand, and complement, the demands of the  leg speeds, leg power and core power that each sport requires.

 

If you  only ever do swim, bike and run training for the sake of putting in  miles and minutes as many endurance programs do, without regard to the  precision and efficiency of each element going into the performance, it  is quite impossible to maximize each element they require in order to  reach true performance potential.  For example, you can get much better  elastic qualities of the muscles in specific plyometric movements (squat  jumps, hops, bounds and particular running drills, for example) than  you will in just running.  Training muscles and movements to be elastic  as a component of a training program is key to being able to bring that  elastic component to running. Ideally, one would then train their  movements in order to be able to also control that elasticity where/when  and as needed throughout a dynamic action such as running.

 

Similarly,  our cardio system needs to be maximized.  VERY VERY often I'm finding  now, athletes training for endurance are far from maximizing their  cardio system development.  They tend to hover around that threshold and  never bust through it.  Busting through that threshold (think sprint  interval training) - serves to INCREASE one's anaerobic threshold (AT)  thereby allowing an athlete to do more work at the same effort.  Sure  one's threshold will increase somewhat over time with some basic  endurance training and increased fitness level, but not often pushed to  its maximum potential. Simply stated when you go harder, over your  threshold, especially WAY over your threshold, your muscles are  screaming for more oxygen carrying blood and your body WILL respond to  that request immediately.  Muscles will develop to  be able handle those  demands, and over time it won't be so "hard" for you to get the  required blood flow and oxygen to those muscles.  Your body will soon be  able to do it quicker and more efficiently.

 

Think  of it this way.  Wouldn't you rather your heart beat at 180bpm than  160bpm for the same amount of effort...getting that much more blood and  oxygen transported to your muscles helping them do more work?  Energy  system development aims to do just that with purpose-driven sprint  interval training:  bust through that threshold often, thereby  INCREASING IT, and maximizing your performance potential.  Similar to  the elasticity example mentioned above, in which you may end up with  more elasticity than is needed for a sport or distance, you can then  choose how much of it you use instead of never having enough. The same  goes for cardio capacity.  If you increase your threshold to 180bpm from  160bpm (I say this because that is what I did in 2004 over a 3 week  period,) running at 160bpm feels quite a lot easier.  That is where  sprint interval training with the purpose of increasing cardio capacity  and anaerobic threshold can make a positive impact during a longer  endurance race, say a half marathon or marathon distance.  Incorporating  this type of training has the potential to play a major role in  maximizing efficiency and overall performance.

 

In a  lecture I attended last week, a study was referenced in which it was  found that 2.5 hours of sprint interval training produces biochemical  changes in the muscle equivalent to 10.5 hours of endurance training,  when looking at the markers related to endurance performance.  I  experienced the immediate and positive impact that purpose-driven  cardio system training can have when i was introduced to it within  the Core Perforamance methodology back in 2004 while training for the  Olympic Trials in triathlon.

 

Consequently  doing this type of training also allowed me to have much more time to  work on my strength, movement, recovery, things that most endurance  athletes don't think they have time for since they spend all the time  they have swimming, cycling and running many minutes and miles, often  with little purpose other than because that's what their training  program said and that's what everyone else is doing.

 

Side note:  ESD also involves download periods of recovery sessions as well.

 

There are any number of types of methods, intervals, times, etc. that can be used in cardio system development.

 

Yesterday my set was simply:

 

3 x [ 4 x (1min @ 10mph + 1min @ 6mph) ]

 

I  chose 10mph hoping I'd be able to hold that for all of the 1 minute  intervals, and I was.  My heartrate was getting up in to my "red" zone:   185-192bpm.   ESD has only 3 zones:  easy, hard, hardest. Red =  hardest.  I was recovering down to 155bpm during the 1 minute recovery  at 6mph.  I was way over my threshold on those 1 minute intervals.  My  goal is to be able to run 10mph at threshold as my race pace (5-10km.)   In other words: my goal is to be able to do the same amount of work for  much less effort.  A few more weeks of consistent ESD and that'll be no  problem.

 

Here's another example of ESD which I did on a client that gives some more insight into the power of  pushing through the 'threshold' of mind and body when it comes to  maximizing cardio capacity in endurance performance.

 

One  final note.  Notice in that twitter mentioned above I finished with the  phrase:  busting up homeostasis.  That I quoted from Nick Winkelman  during his brilliant lecture on periodization last week at Athletes' Performance's Phase 4 Mentorship. He mentioned, quite emphatically, that a goal of performance training is to bust up homeostasis.

 

According to Wikipedia, homeostasis is from Greek: ὅμοιος, hómoios, "similar"; and στάσις, stásis, "standing still".

 

Busting  up homeostasis therefore means to me the opposite of staying the same.   Creating change.  In performance training that would mean making an  improvement. I have seen DAILY improvements in my training, in one  element or another and often more than one at a time. I aim for daily  improvements in my strength, stability, coordination and cardio capacity  to name a few.  In that sense then, my threshold of today is higher  than my threshold of yesterday. Said another way: today's 100% is  tomorrow's 99, which means I can, and will, go harder and do more work  for my 100% effort than I did the day before.  It's a simple concept  that I hope will be more widespread in mainstream endurance training  programming sooner than later.

Much more where that came from, but there you go.

 

Go bust up homeostasis!!

2,343 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: training, running, cycling, swimming, triathlon, endurance, performance, cardio, jessi_stensland, stensland

Introducing MovementU

Posted by Jessi Stensland Oct 31, 2009

Created to combat mediocre mechanics that more often than not lead to chronic injuries or at the very least prevent athletes from reaching their true performance potential, MovementU aims to enhance the understanding of the body and what it requires to perform injury-free, energy efficiently and powerfully in life and in sport.

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INTRODUCTION TO MOVEMENTU


MOVEMENTU IN ACTION!

 

I was inspired to create the aptly named MovementU after seeing a need in the world of human performance.


“Mediocre movement has become epidemic, and even worse, acceptable.  Not coincidentally so has poor health, sub-par performance standards and chronic pain and injury in life and in sport. It became obvious to me that the problem was not the availability of solutions or the motivation to achieve.  Instead, it was in the inability to choose and/or implement the proper and most efficient day to day solutions for optimal health and sports performance, due to a lack of a basic level of knowledge about the body and what it requires to, quite literally, run.

 

MovementU’s goal?  Motivation through education. The U stands for university and a U-turn back to basics of human form and function.

 

It is important for people to realize that their health and performance is in their own hands.  It’s not about spending more time, but about spending your time efficiently.  Take right now for example. Stand or sit just a little stronger and taller with better posture.  It takes no more time to do that than to slouch.  If you don’t relate your inability to maintain proper posture directly to your day-to-day health and sports performance outcomes including injuries and finishing times, you don’t know enough about the body.  It’s not rocket science, but it can be as powerful.  And once you get it, you get it for life.

 

MovementU provides a practical and interactive education-based resource consisting of a website and workshops focused on communicating to athletes and non-athletes alike the foundational principles about the body and what it requires to perform to its potential in health as well as training and racing.  MovementU is not a training program, methodology or system.   It aims to make simple scientific principles of biomechanics and physiology relevant, relatable and retainable.  As one participant put it, MovementU “gets to the point of the point.”

 

It’s first workshop:  Swim Bike Run: Movement Efficiency and Performance is being held across the US this fall in seven cities at top performance training centers such as Athletes’ Performance in Phoenix, AZ.  It is a full day interactive hands-on experience that discusses the roles and relationships of performance elements such as mobility, stability and strength as well as how they are directly related to one’s ability to move efficiently and powerfully in the sports of swimming, cycling and running.  It is designed to benefit all levels of coaches, trainers and athletes, from beginners wanting to start off on the right foot to seasoned athletes looking to avoid injuries or get an extra edge in their performance.

 

“We all left in awe,” says Keith Cook of Solis Performance in New Jersey who had brought a group of his athletes to MovementU in New Jersey. “We were taught how to go back in time and re-think.  We were provided the tools to re-train our bodies to perform efficiently and injury-free.  It was eye-opening.”

 

Upcoming dates and locations:

 

November 7, 2009 - Lake Forest, CA

November 8, 2009 - Vista, CA

November 14, 2009 - Phoenix, AZ

December 5, 2009 - Dallas, TX

December 6, 2009 - Austin, TX

 

I attribute my knowledge, understanding and ability to communicate performance to a few things.  Certainly my BS in Exercise Science from George Washington University didn't hurt but moreso I attribute it to my own inherent drive and curiousity to continue to understand my own body and push my limits of performance.  This ultimately lead me to Core Performance creator Mark Verstegen in 2004.  Since then I have worked extensively with his team to eliminate my movement inefficiencies in order to stay injury-free and performing powerfully.  It has given me a whole new perspective on my performance potential and that is what I'm driven to empower others with through MovementU.

 

USA Triathlon, USA Cycling and the American Council on Exercise have approved the course for continuing education credits.  A number of additional courses with a variety of focuses will be available in 2010.

 

For more information and details on the upcoming workshops, please visit the website at www.movementu.com or contact me directly at jessi@movementu.com.

 

Come join us and prepare to perform happily, healthfully and to your potential!!

 

3,029 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: training, running, cycling, swimming, triathlon, performance, racing, jessi_stensland, jessi, stensland, functional_training, movement_prep, multisports
Just arrived in Kona, Hawaii with the team at Active.com!  We're here covering the 2009 Ironman World Championships all week long.  It's my seventh time being in Kona for the event, third time doing video, and it never gets old.  We're going behind the scenes once again to capture the color, culture and craziness that is Ironman Hawaii.  Fashion trends (compression socks), food habits (Lava Java), downtime (very little), parties (schmoozing and showing off stuff), outlandishly outfitted race bikes, Ironman tattoos and on and on.

 

You can find it all on the IRONBLOG!  Tune in daily to keep up with our crew...we're gonna be going non-stop!

 

Keep you posted.

4,335 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: video, running, cycling, swimming, triathlon, ironman, endurance, jessi_stensland, jessi, stensland, ironman_hawaii

Here are a few movement preparation exercises that I do before hopping in the water to make sure my body has got the mobility it needs to get through my swim stroke efficiently.  Only takes about 3-5 minutes.  Click on names for link to video of the exercises.

 

1. Forward Lunge with Twist.

 

In place or walking.  Take a step forward into the lunge position and then twist your torso by reaching the arm of back leg across the body and down alongside the opposite lower leg.    Be sure to keep hips parallel to ground, abs and glutes engaged and hip/knee/ankle in line. 4-6 on each side.

 

2. Standing Ts.

 

To open up the chest and warm up/strengthen the rotator cuff.  Standing in a split stance (step one leg forward about 2 feet) raise arms out to sides, parallel to the ground, turn thumbs toward the back, and engage (squeeze) the scapula in toward the spine and slightly downward.  Hold for 1-2 seconds then release and repeat. 6-10 times.

 

3. 90/90 Stretch.

 

For rotational stability.  Lying on the ground on your side, with the lower leg straight, and the upper leg bent so the hip and knee are both at approx. 90 degrees.  Extend your arms out in front of you - to the side you are facing so they are perpendicular to your body and your palms are touching.  Press your bent knee into the ground and maintain it there while you take your upper arm up and over toward the opposite side, rotating the spine as you go.  Key is to engage your abs/glute to keep the knee on the ground so you can reach as far as you can with your spine (led by your arm.)  Ideally you will end up with both arms/shoulders and back flat on the ground, arms in a T, with the knee still engaged into the ground.  Hold for 1-2 seconds, return to starting position, and repeat x 4-6 on each side.

 

4. Quadruped rocking w/ back flexion/extension.

 

On the ground, on all fours, sit back into your hips while keeping your abs engaged.  Return to starting position, flex and extend your spine like a cat stretch.  Repeat 6 times.

 

Enjoy!

 

Swimmingly,

 

Jessi

2,038 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: training, swimming, endurance, jessi_stensland, jessi, stensland, functional_training, movement_prep

I love GREAT questions!  This time I'd like to highlight one I received on Twitter from MusikFan85, which was similar to one that also came up recently with a triathlete named Crystal, during my bike session with Breakaway Training here in San Diego.  I have been swimming competitively for 26 years now and have been through a lot with my stroke.  I too continue to learn how to swim more efficiently, but there are definitely a few foundational keys to being on the right track.

 

MusikFan85 wrote:  "I want to go swimming tomorrow too. (Getting in shape for a triathlon this summer.)  Any advice for a beginner in swimming?"

 

Crystal asked:  "How can I work on my rotation in swimming?"

 

So, here are my thoughts, in a particular order, on great swimming, beginner or not:

 

2.  TECHNIQUE:  Get yours evaluated, corrected, and then never stop working on it.

 

Swimming, as you may know, is so much about your technique in the water that one of the first things I always suggest is to invest some time (and even a little $$ if necessary) in some personal instruction on swimming technique and specifically YOUR swimming technique.  More often than not what you THINK and FEEL like your arms, legs and body are doing in the water are FAR from what they are actually doing. Having it pointed out to you and corrected by a trained eye can helpyou be safer in the water, swim more relaxed with less effort and very likely may take seconds, if not minutes off of your swims almost immediately. The best swimmers in the world still spend a good chunk of most if not all of their workouts doing swimming drills.  I recommend starting and/or finishing every swimming session with at least a few laps, if not an entire set, of drills.

 

1.  YOUR BODY:  I'm listing this suggestion second for a reason, but it is actually rule #1 (FYI: its not a typo.)  Do functional training.  In other words train your body to be athletic so it can actually DO whatever sport you would like it to do...in this case, swimming efficiently.  In other words get in the gym and work on your body's joint mobility, flexibility, strength and stability.  Why? For example, a coach may cue you to rotate your body and initiate the stroke from your hips, but that is going to be darn near impossible if you don't even have the ability and rotational stability through your mid-section TO rotate your hips separate from your upper body with any level of strength and power.  And you'll only really know whether you can or not, if you test it out on dry land first.  So for example, in regards to the Breakaway Training Athlete's question, I recommended one of my favorite rotational stability exercises -- the 90/90 stretch -- as you can see in the video here. Safe, efficient, swimming technique will be best achieved when your body can actually perform the movements required by those specific swimming drills being given to you by a coach or instructor.

 

3.  SPEED:  Swim different speeds.  Karlyn Pipes-Neilsen once told me that she trains in up to 7 different speeds.  Now, I don't remember exactly what each of the 7 were, but suffice it to say:  Mix it up!  Beginners may only have 2 speeds to start.  Easy and All Out (Hard).  Which means, even if you get in the water and swim most of your time in your steady pace, take a half of a lap or a full lap and go as hard as you can a couple of times.  You'll feel different in the water.  Your body position will change.  You may even like it better! Eventually, as you get more efficient, you'll be able to hold your 100% for longer AND you'll find you have a speed in between easy and hard, let's say, medium, that's something that feels like work, but you could hold that speed for a while.  Avoid having just one-speed.

 

Now go fishies, go!!!

 

 

879 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: swimming, endurance, jessi_stensland, jessi