From Rock to Fish
Thebiggest gains I’ve made in my triathlon career have been in the swim. With my background as a competitive runner, the longer distance run of the 70.3 came naturally, and advances on the bike seemed to build on my run. But I wasn’t always a swimmer. It’s taken a few years to get my swim faster and I certainly have more to learn. Although I taught swimming lessons to young kids while in high school, I now know that what I taught them was wrong.
Over the years I’ve had a number of one- on- one coaching opportunities and have been a member of a variety of swim squads from northern B.C. to Boulder, Colo. Here are a few tips and tricks that have helped me become the swimmer I am now.
1Find a group that you enjoy swimming with. Swimming is the most difficult of the three sports for me to do on my own. I find it hard to stay motivated. Having a group that you meet a few times a week will help you stay consistent and honest with your effort. Even if it’s just you and your friend, swimming with others makes getting through workouts more fun, but also makes you accountable.
2The more days I swim in a week, the quicker my times get. The same can be said for any sport, but time in the pool helps your body gain confidence in simply feeling the water. Aim for three times a week as a minimum ( particularly if you have no swimming background).
3Once I had the basics of swimming down, I needed to fine tune my swim stroke. I hired a coach who specialized in swim mechanics to evaluate my swim both under and over the water. You can do this yourself with a friend and a video camera. Once you have a visual of what you’re doing underwater, try correcting only one aspect of your stroke at a time. The key is to know what you’re looking for. I’d recommend having a very capable swim coach begin this process with you.
Mix it Up
4I love butterf ly. I often add a few lengths of fly to workout for a mental break and a physical challenge. Throwing on a set of fins also adds a new dimension to your swim set and reinvigorates your workout.