Saturday, October 18, 2008

Bettering your Swim

Over the years I’ve come to realize that, for a myriad of reasons, the swim portion of a triathlon is often the most daunting even for the most experience athlete. If you watched the 2008 Olympics, and especially Michael Phelps, you’ll notice that his stroke is long and relaxed. He glides through the water and makes it look effortless. This is efficient swimming. As triathletes, efficiency is the utmost of importance. After all, we have a bike and a run to do after the swim.

Ok, so we can’t all be Michael Phelps, but there are many things we can do. And what a better time to work on your swim than in the Pre-Season.

You want that longer more relaxed … and more efficient stroke. My first tip is to find a swim clinic for adult athletes. They are usually 5-10 hours, over a weekend or once a week for several weeks. These clinics are great for breaking down bad habits and rebuilding with new ones.

Next I suggest swimming with a group. An organized Masters Swim program is great and there are Triathlon specific swim groups popping up all over. If a group isn’t available in your area, make your own. You may not get the benefits of having a coach bark orders from the poolside, but you will gain the benefits of training together not the least of which is companionship, competition and inspiration.

Third is practice. Pool swim is essential for being a good open water swimmer. Do those drills regularly. Put in the endurance and speed sets.

And lastly, take your swim to the open water, weekly once you get your base from the pool.

I truly believe that anyone who wants to improve their swim can. Following the above tips is the best place to start!!

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