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How to Swim

How to Swim: Improving Your Triathlon Swim

“Helpful tips on how you can improve your Triathlon swim. Read it now!”

How to Swim

How to Swim

Does this sound familiar?
You’ve done your laps at the pool diligently all winter long and have gotten into rather good shape; the best shape you’ve been in, in years! Sure your swim technique may not be the best, but still, you’ve done the work and can confidently swim a mile in the pool with no problem. You’re looking forward to your first Tri of the season. The gun sounds…

• Scenario #1. Fifty yards into the swim… “Oh my God the water is cold. Crap, my goggles just fogged up. I can’t see anything except the blinding sun. Oh, God, there is a lot of thrashing going on around me! That jackass just kicked me in the face. OMG the water is cold, even in this new wetsuit, which by the way is tightening around my throat. I can’t even extend my arms. The Velcro strap is tearing away my flesh. I can’t breathe! I need air… #*!#%*…. I’m going to drown. PANIC. Where’s the life guard? Get me out of here.”

• Scenario #2. Fifty yards into the swim… “I am so glad I warmed up. I fixed those foggy goggles and readjusted my wet suit; I got my heart rate up and my blood flowing. I am really feeling the buoyancy of this new wet suit. I am flying by all the rookies out here. There’s the first buoy. It’s time to churn.”

#1. Avoid panic by warming up.

Panic, a frequent complaint in open water swims, happens to some of the strongest and ablest of swimmers. The best way to prevent panic is to get an adequate warm-up. The swim warm-up is the most disregarded of the essential pre-race activities. Unfortunately, the nature of the venue or the size of the field sometimes prevents triathletes from warming up, but if at all possible, get in, get moving and get acclimated to the cold. Not only will you get your cardiovascular system ready for the impending start, but you can test your goggles and wetsuit for mechanical problems.

#2. Swim horizontally in a streamlined manner – Water presents incredible resistance. To minimize this resistance (drag) you need to be as straight as an arrow. Your toes should be pointed and legs should be high in the water and close together. Keep your knees and ankles bumping each other while they float behind in the slipstream created by your head and torso. #2. Swim horizontally in a streamlined manner – Water presents incredible resistance. To minimize this resistance (drag) you need to be as straight as an arrow. Your toes should be pointed and legs should be high in the water and close together. Keep your knees and ankles bumping each other while they float behind in the slipstream created by your head and torso.

# 3. Don’t kick so furiously. Please stop kicking, especially with bent knees (bicycle kick). A powerful kick will certainly help good swimmers swim faster, but without good technique, kicking will slow you down, deplete your oxygen, and, ultimately, make you hate swimming. I tell struggling swimmers to stop kicking altogether and to practice with a pull buoy to improve your horizontal position and to eliminate your legs from the equation. Almost immediately, you will notice that it’s much easier to swim without the added resistance of thrashing legs and with the extra oxygen normally lost to them. Once the proper horizontal position is achieved, try to develop a proper kick which begins at the hips with propulsive forces traveling down the leg like a whip. It’s OK to use fins, but I recommend the longer fins rather than the short ones. Your knees will bend some, but the less so the better.

#4. Rotation – Just as in swinging a golf club or baseball bat, the power stroke in swimming is driven by rotation of the hips and is transmitted through the entire body from toes to fingertips. In addition to making it easier to breath because your head rotates with your body out of the water, the hip (and shoulder) rotation powers the underwater stroke where propulsion originates. When your right arm begins the pull, your right hip and shoulder should rotate out of the water powering the stroke. If you are swimming “flat”, without rotation, you will have less power and your body will naturally bend sideways at the hips to assist arm recovery creating more drag.

#5. Eliminate the arm crossover – An efficient “catch” initiates the power stroke. It should begin directly in front of your shoulder, not in front of your head, or worse, in front of your opposite shoulder. First problem: crossing over causes lateral movement of the hips which destroys your streamline, and 2nd, during the power stroke with a crossover, you push water sideways rather pulling and then pushing water from directly in front of you to directly behind you. The opposite problem, equally bad, is pulling too wide. During a proper pull, the path of your thumb should trace your midline. Do this with a slightly bent elbow, fingertips pointing down, but do not cross over the midline.

#6. Keep your head aligned with your spine. Triathletes who struggle with swimming complain that their legs sink. And they do! To overcome this, work on proper head position and use a pull buoy. Push your chest down. Your eyes should be looking straight down at the black line, not where you are going. (Open water swimming requires some additional visual skills – see below). The water line should be on the crown of your head, not on your forehead. Keep your forehead in the water at all times and keep one goggle in the water during the breath. More at The Top Ten Ways to Improve Your Triathlon Swims

Check out this video for more tips on How to Swim faster:

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Tri Gear

Triathlon Checklist: Must Have on Race Day

“Do you have all your gears ready for your big race? Check out this Triathlon Checklist and find out!”

Triathlon Checklist

Triathlon Gear Checklist

Ensure you are prepared with all your race gear. Add  these ones on your list now!

GENERAL

  • Watch or heart rate monitor and band
  • Energy bars, gels and fluids
  • Sunscreen
  • Talcum powder (for shoes)
  • Vaseline (to prevent chaffing)
  • Race belt (if wearing a race number)
  • Race kit (swim cap, stickers, wrist and timing band)
  • Spare pair of shoes – remember you will learn your race ones in transition

SWIM

  • Swim suit or tri suit
  • Wetsuit
  • Plastic bags (to help put wetsuit on)
  • Goggles x 2 (or spare strap/nose piece)
  • Ear and nose plugs if required
  • Swim cap (part of your race kit)
  • Body Glide, baby oil or Vaseline (to help remove wetsuit)
  • Transition towel (brightly colored)

BIKE

  • Bike and helmet (Entry will be refused if not of an appropriate standard)
  • Bike shoes or runners
  • Socks (if required)
  • Sunglasses
  • Track pump (or check tire pressure beforehand)
  • Tool bag with spare tubes and repair tools
  • Water bottles x 2
  • Race wheels (if you are a speed demon!)
  • Electrical tape (to fasten gels and repair kit to your bike)
  • Bike computer

RUN

  • Running shoes with elastic laces
  • Socks (if required)
  • Hat (to keep sun off and to keep wet/cool)
  • Sunglasses (second clean pair if required)

POST RACE

  •  Clothing (dry, warm clothing for post race recovery)
  • Recovery nutrition

More at Triathlon Race Day Checklist

Check out this video for more on Triathlon checklist:

More Reading for Triathlon Checklist here:

Your Questions About Ironman Triathlons Us

George asks…

ironman triathlon?

like how long u run and how far u swim and how far u have to ride your bike

Mike Rich answers:

An Ironman triathlon is a triathlon sanctioned by the World Triathlon Corporation that adheres to specific distances for each part of the event. The Ironman World Championship is an annual triathlon race, possibly the most famous triathlon in the world. It is held in the US state of Hawaii. It features three endurance events: swimming, biking, and running. It is based in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii and involves a 2.4 mile (3.86 kilometer) swim (across Kailua-Kona Bay), followed by a 112 mile (180.2 kilometer) bike ride (from Keauhou to Hawi and back), and a 26.2 mile (42.2 kilometer) marathon along the coast of the Big Island (from Keauhou to Keahole Point to Kailua-Kona).

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