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An Interview With Jubal Dais: A Triathlete’s Inspiring Story Of Hard Work & Dedication

“I’m not a fish and probably never will be, but hard work does pay off”.


After reading Jubal Dais’ posts on the Slowtwitch Triathlon Forum we contacted him and requested an interview. He graciously responded and was willing to share his story with the Vasa community. We wanted to learn more about his use of the Vasa Swim Erg and the substantial improvements he attributed to using it. Jubal is 38 years old from Long Island, New York, and works as an IT Project Manager. As you can see from the photo above, he’s also married with three adorable children. When Jubal isn’t busy working or spending time with his family, you can find him training for triathlon at home on his Vasa Swim Erg, bike trainer and treadmill. His triathlon experience involves finishing two Ironman competitions, four 70.3 Ironman races, as well as some Olympic & Sprint distance races. In Jubal’s response to our questions, he shared his Swim Erg workouts and a brief timeline of the progress he has been making. Below, find our inspiring Q&A interview with Jubal.

Q: Why Triathlons and where do you find your inspiration & motivation for the sport?

Jubal: Originally I started with cycling, then decided to run a half marathon, which led to longer events and eventually triathlon. It was always about challenging myself and promoting a healthy lifestyle for my friends and family.

Q: What is the single best piece of advice you have received that helped you in Triathlon (training or racing)?

Jubal: Have a plan and stick with it. Almost any plan can get you where you need to be. It is all about being consistent with your improvements and committing to the journey.

Q: Recently on the Forum, you described making significant improvements in your Ironman swim time – like dropping 20 minutes after only 4 months of using the Vasa Swim Erg in your routine. To what do you attribute that incredible improvement? In what ways has regular training with the Vasa Swim Erg transformed your triathlon swim?

Jubal: My limiting factor has been my pull form and strength. The Vasa Swim Erg has allowed me to focus on those key limiters without having to worry about other parts of the stroke. One of the key things for me is convenience. I can knock out a 20-30 minute workout without having to leave the house or even get dressed. I’ve found that the dry-land training translates very well to in-water swimming. My technique on the Vasa Swim Erg is what I focus on when I am in the pool. I’ve made big steps in my muscle strength and endurance, so now I can pull stronger and feel fresher coming out of the water in races.

Q: What influenced you to get a Vasa Swim Ergometer for swim training at home?

Jubal: I wanted to be able to do more swim sessions, but didn’t have the time to get to the pool 5-6 times a week. Having the ability to train strength in the pull (my weak link) in a short amount of time was essential. I already had an indoor bike trainer and a treadmill, so it is more convenient to have something in your home if you have the space.

Q: Why & how do you use the Vasa Swim Erg?

Technique & skill development
*I primarily do these 3 types of workouts: Technique, Speed, and Strength. Each, once a week. I model my workouts similar to how I train on the indoor bike trainer.
Training & consistent swim training
*During the offseason, I am on the Vasa Swim Erg 3x a week and go to the pool once a week.
*During the season, I am on the Vasa Swim Erg 3x a week and go to the pool 3x a week. I will increase the # of sets and reps on the Vasa Swim Erg as the season progresses.
Power Meter data
*I do not have the ANT+ power meter head unit, but plan on getting one in the future to track my workouts better and my progress.

Q: What are your favorite workouts for developing…power; endurance; better technique; triathlon swim start first 400 m; swim-specific strength; core stability? (answer any or all)

Technique: 3-5 Sets on Door #7 of 50 reps EVF 1st half pull, then 50 reps 2nd half pull with 30 seconds rest
*Speed: 5 Sets on Door #7 for 1-2 minute high RPM with 60 seconds rest
*Strength: 5 Sets on Door #7 for 3-5 minutes low RPM with 60 seconds rest

Q: How do you integrate the Vasa Swim Erg with in-water training?

Jubal: Even with the convenience of the Vasa Swim Erg, we race in the water. Dry-land training focuses on form, speed, and strength in short workouts. Longer workouts are for the pool. I always try to visualize my form that I use on the Vasa, while in the pool.

Q: What advice you would have for other athletes for ensuring they get best results from using the Vasa Swim Erg?

Jubal: All training tools have a purpose. The Vasa Swim Erg is the perfect tool to increase your strength and efficiency out of the water and will translate to your endurance swims in the water.

Q: We’ve heard many athletes say the Vasa Swim Erg is “their secret weapon”. Why do you think that is so? And why do you think they don’t tell many people about it?!

Jubal: The Vasa Swim Erg is the swimming Computrainer! It is my secret weapon. I tell everyone I know and let them give it a try.

Q: Describe any unexpected benefits and gains you’ve experienced from using the Vasa Swim Ergometer.

Jubal: Honestly, I didn’t think I would improve as fast as I did. I’m not a fish and probably never will be, but hard work does pay off.

Q: Are there any particular videos or training resources by Vasa that have helped you make improvements in technique or for training more effectively? Please be specific on which ones.

Jubal: It was actually the Vasa videos (Triathlon Swim Training At Home & How To Improve Your Freestyle Swim) that motivated me to purchase the Vasa Swim Erg. Everything looked very simple when you breakdown the stroke. I felt that the more you embed this in muscle memory, then the more efficient a swimmer you’ll be.

Q: Triathlon open water swims can be daunting. How has consistent swim training with the Vasa Swim Erg increased your confidence?

Jubal: Anxiety in the open water happens to all weaker swimmers. I think it can be alleviated by practicing different pacing and intensity. In a pack swim it is hard to get into rhythm. Sometimes you will have to swim hard to get around another swimmer and other times you can cruise on someone’s feet or get trampled by swimmers passing you. On the Vasa Swim Erg, I do hard intervals on Door #7 to build up the strength and muscle endurance. This helps me stay calmer in the water, knowing that I have trained for these harder efforts. This helps me not to panic in a race and allows me to control my efforts without blowing up.

Learn More About Jubal:

“I got into triathlon back in 2009 after I ran my first marathon. I was not an experienced swimmer and was always into cycling but wanted to expand into other sports. Purchased a treadmill to run indoors and had a indoor bike trainer. Back then I didn’t realize the benefit of dry-land training. I am an adult onset swimmer and never really took swim lessons, just read some books and watched some videos. I’d just hop in the pool and try to swim as best as I could. Not the best strategy, so I took a Master Swim that focused on form. When I started getting a little more serious with my training I added paddles and a pull buoy and got a waterproof MP3 player to keep things interesting. I always found that even though I did the work in the pool, I was always exhausted coming out of the water in an OWS. Next step for me would be to increase strength in my pull and muscle endurance. Searched on Slowtwitch for what everyone else was using to improve and I found out about dry-land training. This brought me to stretchcordz, which I used for about a year but it was not a perfect tool especially since you have to stand hunched over. It helped me with my pull form. Searched some more and found out about the Halo bench, so I could be horizontal. I read some of Sheila Taormino’s books and almost pulled the trigger, but then I found the Vasa. I wanted something convenient I could use in my home, leaving no excuses to miss a workout. Perfect for the time crunched father of 3 (kids age 8,6,5). Now I had to decide between the Vasa Trainer of the Erg. At double the price it was a very tough choice. Decided on the Erg because of the solid structure, power output, and no sliding up/down. It has really changed my approach to swim training. Strength, Form, and Speed workouts are on the Vasa Erg and endurance swims in the pool. My wife wasn’t too happy about the size of it in my basement next to my bike and treadmill, but she saw my times drop and was amazed. Maybe in the future I will upgrade the Vasa computer to ANT+ so I can save my workouts in Garmin Connect.”

We want to thank Jubal for sharing his great story with us! If you liked his success story, please share it with your friends. If you have an inspirational story and would like it published, send it to us at [email protected]