Ah, the swim… everyone’s favorite!
Triathlon swimming can be nerve racking to many, but there are lots of
ways to make it easier, less stressful and even fun!
The first step is to become comfortable in the water – practice, practice,
practice. If you are entering triathlons with no swimming background at all
then take some lessons, you don’t need to know all the fancy strokes or
even how to flip turn. But a few solid lessons will set you up with the basics
of freestyle and some tools for training.
Once you are comfortable you can start improving your form and
becoming more efficient. There are many drills that will help you in this
process, it’s an on-going one. Form drills will help every swimmer, speed
will come because as your form improves you will become more efficient
in the water and be faster!
Open water swimming:
Most triathlon swims will take place in open water, lakes, oceans, canals…
It is important to train in open water to get used to the difference
between a lit pool with a guiding black line and a lake!
For safety go with a buddy and take a flotation device (tow it behind).
Practice sighting, before you start pick out a landmark (a tall tree, house,
tower) lift your head to sight after a breath every 5-8 breaths – see how on
course you are! Like most parts of swimming, maintaining a straight line
- Cap (for the long haired folks)
- Wetsuit, this is not strictly necessary but if you live in a cool climate
(NE!) it is great to have a wetsuit, you may even find some races
require wetsuits. Choose a triathlon specific wetsuit, they are
designed for swimming and are thinner in the arms with more
floatation in the lower body. If you are not a confident swimmer you
may find a wetsuit to be a great help, the added buoyancy helps
keep the body in a more hydrodynamic position in the water and
you can float without working.