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Thread: Help me improve triathlon swimming!!!

  1. #1
    Participating Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    New Orleans, LA

    Help me improve triathlon swimming!!!

    I have been doing triathlons for two years now, but my swimming is holding me back from really being a top competitor. I absolutely hate the swimming part and can barely get motivated to get to the pool. I would like a workout to help me swim 800 meters without dying and having to breaststroke or swim on my back.

    I generally have two days a week to go to the pool, but somehow it ends up being only one day. Someone please help! I could be a serious competitor in my age group if I can only improve my swimming. Thanks!!!

  2. #2
    Very Active Member Matt S's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Gurnee, IL

    At the Risk of Catcalls from the Peanut Gallery


    I am going to say two words to you: total immersion ( (OK, OK, three words, including the web address.)

    Although I have not seen you swim, and broad sweeping statements are a bit hazardous, from the sound of your post, I think I can guess what is your problem. As a triathlete, your work ethic is getting in the way of becoming a better swimmer. You are asking the wrong question; you want to know how you can work HARDER to improve your swimming. I'll bet you the entry fee for your next race that you need to learn to swim your races EASIER. (Thereby saving your energy, especially your legs, for the longer bike and run portions of the race.) That means improve your stroke mechanics, and to work on that, you need to swim fewer yards, on longer, nonaerobic intervals, using drills focused on improving skills. A good coach can help you with that. There are many methods available; however, total immersion (TI) is a focused, programmed course of instruction that you can teach yourself.

    TI is a bit controversial among some swimmers, as an approach for competitive swimming. However, even the critics admit it is an excellent method for those without competitive swimming experience to improve rapidly, and with less struggle. Granted, TI has turned itself into a cottage industry with many related products and seminars for sale. Here's a tip, read the free articles at the web site, and if you like the sound of the approach, go ahead and plunk down the princely sum of...$25 for "Triathlon Swimming Made Easy." You can buy into the other stuff, or not, as seems appropriate to your needs, your goals and your budget.


  3. #3
    Active Member u352's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003


    I bought the book and followed its guidlelines and went from swimming barely one length to crossing the Chesapeake Bay in two hours 37 minutes(4.4 miles) I started training in october and made the crossing on June 8th. It helped me.

  4. #4
    Very Active Member laineybug's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    You are also sending yourself negative statements... "I hate the swimming part"... that maybe true, but your body listens to what your brain is telling it. Try to change your thoughts about swimming to something positive... maybe like "I CAN become a better swimmer." You will find out that the more positive thoughts you have about swimming the easier it will be for you to get into the pool and practice.

    Best of luck!

  5. #5
    Participating Member JJJ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Salt Lake City, Utah

    Actual workouts to help you

    I would suggest changing how you train for the race. One idea is to figure out what your pace is or in other words, how fast do you want to go and be able to maintain that speed. If you are training for an 800, in a pool do 10x100 with a lot of rest. Your goal is to maintain the same time for all ten. You might want to have someone come with you to keep track of what your times are. The purpose of this is so that you know your pace and in the race you can keep your swimming consistent. This should help so that you don't go out too hard and then the rest of your swimming suffers as well as your bike and run. I would suggest doing pace work once every two weeks. As you are able to hold a pace better, you can begin to take less rest and try and hold a faster pace. Your training should have a goal or a reason and this pace workout should help.

    Good luck,

  6. #6
    Moderator Rob Copeland's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Fayetteville, GA

    How good would your running be if you only ran once a week? How about only biking once a week? So, donít expect to get better in the water swimming only once or twice a week. Swimming is the most technically demanding of the three disciplines and requires a lot of attention to details in order to improve.

    If you are serious about improving your swimming, you need to get with a coached Masters swim team or an open water trainer to first help you improve your technique and then work on developing open water endurance. You can find a swimming program in the places to swim section of

    The only way to get past dreading the swim is to get better and the only way to get better is to put in the effort.


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