We challenged two self-confessed fitness junkies, accomplished in different disciplines, to a series of swimming races to decide once and for all.
In the blue corner – well, blue swim cap – top amateur cyclist Chris Hovenden is flying the flag for two-wheelers everywhere. A cyclist for Arctic Tacx RT Race Team and a contributor to Cycling Weekly, Chris is confident his experience in the saddle could make all the difference when he’s in the pool. Chris is a real all-rounder, having competed in the past as a hockey player, triathlete and footballer, so knows a thing or two about blurring the lines between his chosen sports to get the best results.
Chris’s opponent in the red swim cap is fitness journalist Max Anderton, who loves nothing more than hitting the gym for work and for pleasure. Despite having worked for Men’s Fitness, Max admits that competitive swimming is a bit of a leap into the unknown. However, Max is confident that his superior strength and fitness knowledge will see him triumph. He’s used to lifting weights, but will he be able to carry the expectancy of his fellow gym bunnies on his shoulders?
To set the challenges and to ensure a fair fight, we invited Stephanie Proud, British international swimming medallist, to referee the races.
First up, it was a kick race that saw our two competitors use nothing but their legs to swim a length, followed by a breaststroke race to put our boys’ brute force to the test. Then, an endurance medley decided the champion.
Before the races, Stephanie shared her thoughts on who she thought would perform well: “When you take two competitive people and put them together, it’s bound to be a good day. I give the edge for the kicking race to Chris because it’s a good test of leg endurance, while I think the breaststroke will favour Max as it’s more about power and strength – and they’re qualities I associate with crossfit. At the end, it might come down to who has the most energy left. It’s going to be interesting.”
With the rivalry gathering apace, there’s only one thing for it: click above to watch the videos and discover for yourself our champion swimming star. Will it be Chris in the blue cap, or HIIT specialist Max in the red cap? Will wheels or weights win in the pool? Who's your money on?
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