Category Archives for "Swim Training"

Triathlon Swimming: Drafting on the Swim


“Want to swim faster? Want to try drafting on the swim? Check out these Triathlon swimming tips now!”

Do you want to swim faster with less effort? Do you want to exit a triathlon swim fresh and ready for the bike? Do you want to focus less on navigating all over the course, and more on looking for fishies while you swim? If so, draft.

Drafting in a triathlon swim is something ALL the pros do, and almost none of the age groupers do. Its 100% legal, and makes a huge difference in your swim speed, and how cooked you are after the swim.
Just to reemphasize. Drafting in the swim is always legal. No passing zones, no time limits. Go crazy.

How do you draft effectively in the swim:

  1. Don’t try to draft for the first few minutes after the start- its too crazy, and you probably wont draft the right person
  2. Focus on drafting in draft friendly conditions- crowded swim courses, not too wavy, and with good visibility in the water so you can see everyone else.
  3. Go really hard for the first few minutes before drafting. Remember you will rest once drafting, and going extra hard at first makes sure the person you do draft is a good swimmer
  4. Once you are tired from going for say 5 minutes hard on your own, find the right person to draft
  5. You want someone from your swim wave (you can check their cap color) who preferably is making a lot of bubbles so you can keep track of them easily, and is swimming in the right direction and who looks like they know what they are doing enough that they wont grab the next buoy or swim way off course. Ideally a bigger swimmer is best, as they make for a bigger draft.

OK so now you Swim Draftingknow WHO to draft, but HOW do you draft?
“Behind Drafting” (this is the easiest)

    1. Swim right behind your draftee. Look to see their feet, and use their bubble trail to follow them. Feel for the swirl in the water that their kick makes with your hands
    2. Once close, get in the optimal position- you want your hands as they enter the water to go slightly to the outside of their feet, and at full fingertip extension you want to be either just behind them or have your hands wider and overlapping with their feet.
    3. Relax. You will suddenly have to ease way up on your effort, and go the same speed. It will feel like the swimmer in front of you slowed way down. They didnt. THis is the whole point of drafting- going really fast wtih no effort
    4. Every few minutes if you think your swimmer is slowing down, you can swim a bi to the side of the swimmer you are drafting to prove to yourself that they haven’t slowed down. You will feel the resistance go up suddenly. Once you have re-convinced yourself that the swimmer is going fast enough, get back in that draft
    5. Spend the rest of the swim leg in that spot. Relax. Mentally prepare for the bike. Focus not on swimming hard, but on swimming right in the proper spot.

More at Triathlon Swim Tips: How to Draft on the Swim

You can also watch this video for more Triathlon Swimming tips:

More Reading for Triathlon Swimming here:

Swimming Training: Swim Workouts for Triathletes

“Your swimming training must be done specifically  for the triathlete in you. Check out these swim workouts now!”


Some  Masters swim programs don’t include workouts geared specifically for triathletes, instead focusing training toward Masters swim meets. I’m sad for those triathletes because a good coach and Masters group can make swimming more enjoyable. In addition to the fun-factor, a good coach can help your swim efficiency and improve your pace.

If you use a coach and the workouts in the column look fun, take a copy to your next swim practice. If you don’t swim with a Masters group–no worries–you can still do a couple of my favorite workouts on your own or with your swim buddies.

First, read through the workout and notice that there is no designation for yards or meters. Use the measurement system associated with your pool.
For this entire workout, keep your perceived exertion at easy to moderate.

Looking at the first swim of the main set, the 900 is more fun if you swim it with three to six other people that swim roughly the same speed as you. You will rotate the lead position in a single lane. When the leader completes 75, they’ll stay on the right side of the lane wall to allow everyone else to swim past. They’ll then join the group as the new last person.

Rotating the lead position makes the time go by faster, helps you practice drafting and usually creates a higher average pace than if you swim 900 by yourself (given the same effort level).

After the 900 is complete, take a one to two-minute rest interval (RI) (but no more than two minutes) before beginning the 600. You can continue rotating the lead during the 600 or select one leader for it and each of the remaining sets. During the 600, do three repeats of: 100 closed-fist swimming then 100 regular swimming.

Don’t cheat on the fist swims. Folding your fingers down and keeping an open palm does not count as a fist. Closed-fist swimming done correctly forces you to use your entire arm to catch water and can help increase cadence. When you open your hands after swimming with closed fists, it feels like you’re wearing paddles.

After the 600 is a 400 pull with a buoy and paddles. The 400 is followed by a 200 pull with a buoy and no paddles.

For the main set grand finale I like to work a few different muscles by adding backstroke.tri

300 to 500 freestyle, 200 to 400 kick, 200 freestyle (alternating drill 25/swim 25)

Main set:
900 steady swim, change who leads the lane each 75
One but no more than two-minute rest interval (RI)
600 steady consisting of 3 x 100 fist/100 swim
One but no more than two-minute RI
400 pull (paddles and buoy)
One but no more than two-minute RI
200 pull (buoy, no paddles)
One but no more than two-minute RI
6 x 50 backstroke on 1:10
Goal of the main set: 2400 yards or meters of steady swimming at an aerobic pace.

Cool down:
Swim an easy 100 to 200 yards, choice of stroke

Total distance: 3200 to 3700

I just love negative-split workouts. These workouts help athletes learn to meter their energy and not go too fast at the beginning of the workout.

Before beginning this workout, first determine the highest average pace per 100 you can hold for a set of three repeats of 300, with only 30 seconds rest between each swim (3 x 300 w/ 30 second RI). Call this your T-Pace. More at 2 Top Swim Workouts for Triathletes

You can also watch this video for more tips for your Swimming Training:

Learn to Swim

Learn to Swim: Swim Training Tips from the Pros

“Want to learn to swim and looking for training tips? Let the pros help. Read their tips now!”

Learn to Swim

Learn to Swim

Quality, not quantity

It’s better to swim 6 yards executing top-notch strokes than mash out a hundred sloppy laps. Why? Because if you put all of your effort into finishing a certain number of laps or getting through the mileage without nailing down the movements, you’re teaching your body poor habits that will stick, and you’ll burn out fast in competition. Concentrate on form first and distance later.

“Swimming only rewards hard work when it’s coupled with technique,” says Dave Sheanin, assistant coach for the University of Colorado Triathlon Team.

Work with a coach

“If you want to cut out 90 percent of the issues that will make it harder for you to be at your best, then a coach is the way to go,” says Mike Ricci, founder and head coach of D3 Multisport, which offers triathlon coaching. “At the very least, it gives you someone to be accountable to, and there will be follow-up and progression. You work on something this week, and then see how it looks the next. Then you add the next, natural piece, so that you’re building on a solid base of good form.”

Of course, private coaching is great, but not everyone can afford it. “Even one lesson can be invaluable, because we can do a lot of great things in a short period of time,” Ricci says. “But if you can’t go that route, find someone who has expertise. Join a masters program. Go to the Y(MCA) or rec center, and don’t be afraid to say, ‘I’m a beginner and I need help.’ These days, there are so many people out there with good experience in a triathlon, and you just have to ask.”

Videotape your form.

Underwater video doesn’t lie, and coaches say that using it to pinpoint issues can improve your form faster than any other training technique.

“I can tell an athlete, ‘Put your hand like this,’ and they will say, ‘Oh, I’m doing it right,’ and that’s the end of the discussion,” Sheanin says. “Or I can videotape them, and sometimes I don’t even have to say anything; they’ll look at it and say, ‘Oh, yeah, I should be doing it this way.'”

Veronica Penney, a senior at the University of Colorado who has been a member of the college’s Triathlon Team since her sophomore year, says that the videos Sheanin has shot of her over the years have been critical to her progression. “You can know what you should be doing, what the right way is, and not be doing it,” she says. “Then you see it on the video, and the next time you swim, you visualize doing it right, and it happens.”

Don’t forget you’re in a fluid

You’d think that would be easy to remember, right? But Olympic gold medalist Sheila Taormina, who competed in swimming, triathlon and pentathlon in four Olympics, says that understanding how your body reacts to water can change, and improve, the way you move in it.

“Knowing how you gain traction, or friction, that can change how you use the power and strength of your arms and feet,” Taormina says. She recommends doing a little reading on an off day to get some insight.

“It can be overwhelming, because there are three major theories about swimming and propulsion, and even scientists who have been studying it for decades don’t agree. But knowing some of the basics can be very helpful in getting a picture of what is happening between your body and the water.” More at Try a triathlon: Swim training tips from the pros

Check out this video for more Learn to Swim tips:

More Reading for Learn to Swim here:

1 2 3 7