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Setbacks are opportunities to use creativity, grit, and determination to swim stronger. It takes a special person to turn adversity into successful learning and improvements.  There are many forms of setbacks, whether they be an injury, illness, limited pool availability, race cancellations, and more.

Over the years, we’ve been fortunate that Vasa athletes and coaches generously submitted their amazing, inspirational success stories and reviews.  Here are some recent submissions from athletes that have used their own setbacks to swim stronger. If you are dealing with a setback, we hope these stories will motivate and inspire you to come back stronger.

College swimmer uses setbacks to swim stronger than before shut down

In March of 2020 when the COVID pandemic caused our college team to shut down our pool I found much more time in my life and yet less access to a pool even for myself. As soon as I could, I carried one of our Trainer Pros home. I started by adding 5 minutes of time on it per day as part of my other workout regimen. Over months of progressive training I was doing upwards of 30 or more minutes of a combination of freestyle and backstroke on it.”  – Tim H.

 US Olympian Alex Meyer on Vasa swim-specific dryland training
US Olympian Alex Meyer integrates time-efficient, dryland swim-specific training on the Vasa Trainer Pro

“Stronger, less fatigue, and a PR in my Ironman swim”!

“When the pandemic hit and pools closed down I bought a Vasa SwimErg so that I could continue my swim training. I trained on the SwimErg 3-4 times per week. When I was able to begin swimming in the open water again in 2020, I was amazed at how strong I was in the water and how I felt much less fatigue on long swims than was the case in years past. The true test came in 2021 when I was able to return to racing 70.3 and Ironman distance triathlons and posted a PR swim at Ironman Maryland of 1:02 despite it being one of the harder swims on the Ironman circuit. I also felt that the swim took much less out of me than previous Ironman swims leaving me fresher for the bike and run. I credit much of this to training on the Vasa SwimErg.” – Dana G. 

Ironman Open Water Swim Training
Vasa Trainers and SwimErg’s strengthen and improve freestyle swimming for triathlon and open water races

Masters swimmer beats injury to win the USMS 10K Postal Nationals

“In 2017, I broke my tibia and fibula and had to be out of the water for 12 weeks. I used the Vasa Trainer Pro as part of my rehab, and 6 months after returning to the water, I placed 3rd at USMS Long Course Nationals in the 1500 free, in large part to the Vasa. In 2018, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Chronic Kidney Disease, having lost 80% of my kidney function. As part of my recovery, I used my Vasa Trainer Pro to get my condition back and WIN the USMS 10K Postal Nationals in 2021”. – Randy R.

Masters swimmer uses setbacks to swim stronger and win the USMS 10K Postal Nationals
Randy Rogers at USMS Long Course Nationals

Editors Note: Vasa had the opportunity to interview Randy about training, overcoming injuries, and staying motivated both in and out of the water. He is a great example of how to use setbacks to swim stronger.

Setting school records at University 

“We bought my daughter a Vasa Trainer in 2011, it was her 16th birthday present. We drove up to Vermont and actually met Vasa owner/CEO Rob and bought her a trainer. Fast forward to this year when she graduated from Adelphi University. Every summer she would go back to training with her club team at 6 am, before going to work as a lifeguard. She would then come home and train on the Vasa. She leaves Adelphi as the school record holder in the 200 free, 500 free, 1000 free, and 1650. As well as being on 2 record-setting relays. During the time she was at Adelphi she had 3 coaches. The only consistency was her Vasa and I feel that it gave her the strength and endurance to get her through a long season of 2 a day workouts with no injuries. I don’t swim but I use it also. It allows me to do resistance exercises, even though I have bad knees and shoulders. This is a great machine and well worth the money. Thanks again”.    Daniel D.

College swimmer sets school records after overcoming a setback by swimming stronger with Vasa
Swimmers rely on Vasa to connect better, more powerfully with the water, to sustain proper high elbow catch freestyle, and prevent fatigue in races.

Athlete uses setback to come back stronger after a shoulder injury

“A few years ago I sustained a shoulder injury during a 70.3 race on the bike leg. After that, I did not have the same range of motion or strength in it. Fast forward 2 years later and I still did not get it back to where it was. I ended up purchasing a Vasa Trainer to help strengthen my shoulder, work on technique, and substitute pool time. The investment paid off since that season I had some of the fastest swim splits I’ve ever had. The Vasa Trainer helped me increase strength in my shoulder in a swimming-specific way and truly develop a high elbow catch that I struggled with trying to learn in a pool. I’d recommend this product to any swimmer for dryland land training and even to replace time in the pool”.  Rich P.

Improvements in technique and ability to sustain higher power output learned while training on a Vasa is highly transferable to putting it all together in the water for a stronger, better, more efficient stroke.

Adult-onset swimmer motivated by improvements 

“I am an adult-onset beginner swimmer trying to improve my technique. I have taken swimming lessons, but I have been frustrated by the lack of improvement. Searching the web I found out about Vasa and bought the SwimErg after feeling frustrated at not knowing how to improve my swimming. I started the 3-Week Introductory Swim Training Plan for the Vasa SwimErg and after seeing how quickly I started to improve motivated me to create the Vasa workouts in TrainerRoad. I haven’t really worried about how much faster I am swimming, but last week I had the opportunity to swim for the first time after the pandemic, and could feel I was swimming with less effort. My improvement so far is being able to use correct hand placement and stroke path using a high elbow catch and acceleration of the pull. I am also not crossing my arms on the centerline anymore. So far I used the Vasa Trainer Pro for two months and then started to use the Vasa SwimErg ANT+ for the last 5 weeks working on technique. I highly recommend both after my early experience”.  Eduardo I.

Triathletes and swimmers use Vasa to not only overcome setbacks, but also fix common stroke flaws, especially Early Vertical Forearm and the catch.
Triathletes and swimmers use Vasa to fix common stroke flaws, especially Early Vertical Forearm and the catch.

6 months of no pool or open water… no problem.  

“After six months of training using the Vasa SwimErg and having no access to a pool or open water, I managed a 5k open water swim with zero trouble. The Vasa SwimErg lets me focus on proper muscle engagement as I don’t have to deal with the natural flight-or-fight response that the primitive human brain has to be in the water. It properly correlates the resistance through each phase of the pull which is something resistance bands cannot do”.  LB Lincoln – USAT L1, Youth & Junior Certified Coach

Open Water Swimmers Use Setbacks to Swim Stronger
Vasa helps athletes who are time-crunched, can’t get to the pool often enough, or who want to improve freestyle swimming technique, sustained power, and endurance to swim better, faster, and with greater confidence.