View Full Version : Rank beginner

August 26th, 2004, 03:58 PM
Hello All,
Another bonehead beginner here with tons of dumb questions.
I'm a 34 year old runner who would like to complete a triathlon next year. The only swimming I've done in my life was done mainly as a kid in my neighbors backyard pool. The only exeption now being annual trips to the beach. To say the least, my technical knowledge is pretty nonexistent.
So, where do I start? Most of the drills and workouts I've come across assume that I'm already beyond the beginner level. I need technical guidance that is really basic and really specific. ie., hold your hand this way, do this with your legs, positon your arms here, and so on.
Can you guys give me any such advice or point me to websites or books that will give me this most basic information. I guess I need a "Swimming for Dummies" book.:D

August 26th, 2004, 04:28 PM
Try hooking up with a local masters swim team with a coach. There are some threads in the forum that talk about 1:1 with a coach or even try swim clinics...
good luck!

Fly Free
August 26th, 2004, 06:39 PM
There really is no substitute for a coach. Usually there are plenty of swim coaches who have triathletes training with them, some of whom are also true beginners.

All though, I think there really is a "Swimming for Dummies" book out there. Go in the sports section of any book store and look for authors with a history of coaching, and the book should have LOTS of pictures.

old dog
August 26th, 2004, 09:53 PM
Try the search part of this site--it is great!

August 27th, 2004, 06:41 AM
Thanks for the replies. I'm going to join the Y today and hope they offer lessons for folks like me. Or can point me in the direction of a coach as Alicat and Fly Free suggested. I had no idea there was an actual "Swimming for Dummies" book. That is hilarious.
Where did you all learn your technique?...high school, masters, private lessons.....swimming for dummies book....?

Fly Free
August 30th, 2004, 05:23 PM
Actually, I never took a swim lesson before. I was raised on pool decks from day one, thanks to my mom who has coached for as long as I remember. So I learned the basics just by watching from the pool deck.

The technique part, well, that's always a work in progress. Any progress that my strokes have made are definitely thanks to many hours of practice, and the bare minimum of remarks from a few coaches I've had. If you go the coach route, find one who is not afraid to give suggestions to "older" swimmers. My current coach doesn't seem to think we older people need it, but there's always room for improvement and coaches should understand that and help us out.

August 30th, 2004, 08:42 PM
I have never had a lesson beyond the basic 5 year old class - you know the one - hold onto the edge of the pool and kick hard. I also have never had a coach.

My swimming probably reflects that too!:(

But I have been swimming seriously for almost two years. I read a lot on this web site and others. I have also read Emmit Hines' Fitness Swimming and Phillip Whitten's The Complete Book of Swimming . I try the things I read and I experiment some with things on my own. That is what makes swimming much more interesting to me than running. There is always something new to try.

My speed has increased steadily, as well as my endurance. I know that there are some things I do well and others that .... well I just plain stink at. But overall, I continue to improve. I seem to have moments where it all seems to "click" and something new that I have been working on kicks in.

Bottom line is that you can improve without a coach. (Although not as much as with a coach.) Read as much as you can, watch videos (there are a lot of clips that you can download on the net), and experiment with things in the water. And do drills.

Also, try using intervals. I really believe that it helped improve my swimming.

Good luck with the tri. I completed my first a month ago. Now I plan to train for doing several next summer. You will love the feeling once you are done.

August 31st, 2004, 06:45 PM
I've also been using Phil Whitten's book and have found it very helpful. There's a whole section of workouts in the back that you can adapt to your needs. I've also gotten a lot of help and encouragement from the people on this board.
Adding intervals has really improved my swimming and I've only been doing them for about a month!! I used to swim 2000 meters, non-stop and I thought I was doing pretty well. Already I'm doing the same 2000 meters in less time and my form has improved as well by breaking the distance up into kick and ladder sets.
I'm still hoping that someday I can afford to join a Master's team, because I know a coached workout would help, but in the meantime there are resources out there for those of us training alone.

September 2nd, 2004, 07:15 AM
Thanks for the book suggestions. I'm gonna try to find those.
I've joined the YMCA and intend to take a class there as well.
I have another newbie question that'll probably have you veterans rolling in the floor.
Here goes. Just about everything I've read so far says I need to get goggles and a cap. So I ordered one of each. The goggles fit ok. It'll just be a matter of getting used to them. So then I put on the cap and the darn thing comes down below my eyes . What do I do about that? The place I ordered from didn't have different sizes. Do I roll the edges up or under or what? Do caps come in different sizes?