April 2007 Swimming CHAT

author : Tri Swim Coach
comments : 0

Questions and answers on sleeve vs sleeveless wetsuits, benefits of bilateral breathing and practicing it, technique drills, sighting practice, paddle use, weight training and flip turn help.

[Tri Swim Coach] Hey everyone!


[chirunner134] Question, who would win a swim race, you or Michael Phelps?
 

[Tri Swim Coach] LOL, Phelps by a hair :)

[chirunner134] Ok, more important question: which is better sleeved or sleeveless wetsuits?

[Tri Swim Coach] Sleeved, for sure. No reason to go with the Farmer-John wetsuit (un-sleeved).  Problem with the sleeveless is you get less buoyancy and it does not keep you nearly as warm.  I learned after trying the sleeveless. Trust me, sleeves are where it's at.

 

[tbatt] Wouldn't the rotation of your arm be a bit free'er though?

[Tri Swim Coach] That's what I thought too, but they make the sleeved wetsuits very flexible.

[kaqphin] What about in places where the water is reasonably warm?

 

[Tri Swim Coach] When wetsuits are allowed, even if the water is warm you will usually want to wear one. That extra buoyancy will allow you to go faster and preserve energy.


[kaqphin] Coach - what do you think is the best way to get yourself bilateral breathing....I know how to do it but I'm lazy? It's so hard since I haven't done it for years...I kind of drown on one side


[Tri Swim Coach] If you have a weaker side, practice kicking on that side. Even use fins (like Zoomers). This will improve your balance on that side. Then start by breathing bilaterally (every 3) on warm-ups and warm-downs. Then slowly incorporate it into your workouts and open water practice. For sprints, the one side breathing can be fine.  Definitely ease in to bilateral breathing. Don't force it! It is ideal to breathe bilaterally but NOT necessary!


[Josh_Berman] Hey, Coach - Do you have a set or technique to help set training and (long) racing paces? Do you like Gale's (3x300), or something different?

 

[Tri Swim Coach] Hey Josh, there are a lot of combinations you can use...can you explain your question further?

 

[Josh_Berman] I'm looking to come up with something like Daniel's vdot for running - a set of paces I can use for pacing (for 'easy', 'lt', etc, and how to translate those for race day paces.

 

[Tri Swim Coach] Definitely check out my website www.triswimcoach.com - I offer a lot of workouts in the Complete Guide, and free ones in my newsletter!

[bookend] Coach, I just learned the Total Immersion front crawl 2 years ago. I suck at swimming, should I consider learning the butterfly and whatever swim technique to get me from point a to end of swim?

[Tri Swim Coach] First, stop saying that you suck! You FORMERLY sucked! You are now a good swimmer. Stick with freestyle, keep working on the basics- kicking on your side, shark fin drill - before you advance to doing lots of yards.


[bookend] Thanks, I will work on technique before I do repeats of the same swim pattern. I must say I may not have been fast, but I had lots of energy to pass them all on the bike.


[Tri Swim Coach] General question everyone: What is your biggest challenge with the open water?

[Lucy] Sighting.


[sappho96] Not freaking out.

[chirunner134] My biggest challenge is trying to touch the bottom.


[kaqphin] Swimming in a straight line.


[Lucy] Navigating.


[tbatt] Mine is sighting.


[bookend] Sighting.

[Tri Swim Coach] The consensus seems to be sighting! It's best to follow someone - just have an idea of where they are and swim directly behind them. When you sight, peak your eyes forward then roll to a breath.  Practicing sighting and racing is the best way to get better at it. Some say to lift your head every 4-6 strokes but many experienced triathletes can do a lot less than that. One important aspect of sighting is, when you lift to look, then breathe, make sure to bring your head back in the water looking down.


[bookend] Coach, do you recommend drills with those hand fins?

[Tri Swim Coach] No. I'm not super-familiar with them but I don't see what they would help. For paddles I highly recommend the Freestyler by Finis- the only paddle I know of that helps improve your stroke and isn't hard on the shoulders.


[MikeJ] By improving your stroke, do you mean the strength of the stroke?
 

[Tri Swim Coach] Not the strength, actually technique- these paddles give you the feel of a longer stroke and gliding.
 

[tbatt] Kevin, how should your arms be angled as you pull under the water??

 

[Tri Swim Coach] Let's start with the hand entry- slice in and foreword, extending your arm. Then bend your elbow with your hand pointing straight down. Pull straight back and push the water back towards your feet at the end.

 

[tbatt] How much of a bend though?

 

[Tri Swim Coach] Not a huge bend. hard to describe, it's easier to see on a video.

[bookend] Kevin, do you encourage counting strokes when doing laps, and would that be useful with sighting?

[Tri Swim Coach] Definitely! Count strokes and play some free golf. i.e. 5x 50's, count strokes each 50, check your time, and add those 2 #'s together. Each "round", attempt to lower that "score."


[chirunner134] Any suggestions for those of us looking to do our first 5k swim race?

 

[Tri Swim Coach] Well, you will need to be training at least 3 swim workouts a week to prepare. Build up to the distance of the race, and do a taper- but don't taper too much!

[jknapman] I do have a question on swimming, my friend does a 8 mile organized swim that he was trying to get me into, not likely that I'd do it but how would you train for something like that?


[Tri Swim Coach] You need to train a lot in the pool! Work on building up your yardage, and working on interval sets like 20x100's

[sappho96] What rest intervals on those coach?

 

[Tri Swim Coach] Start with something you can reasonably make with around 10 seconds rest or so. Then bump up the interval when your rest becomes 15 seconds or more.


[MikeJ] What about weight training? Right now I do bent arm pull-downs and seated rows, three sets each once a week. Should I increase to twice a week, or add other exercises, or do you think that is sufficient?

[Tri Swim Coach] Weight training is important for triathlon, but should not be your #1 focus. Two times a week is plenty. Focus on core exercises instead of building specific muscles like triceps. A strong core will help you in all 3 disciplines!


[sue7013] Timing for flip turns, I can flip but my timing SUCKS coming into the wall.


[Tri Swim Coach] Watch that black line on the pool bottom. When you get to the 'T', notice how many strokes it is to the wall. usually it will be one stroke, glide, and flip. Also, you can take a quick peak as you take that one stroke to time it perfectly. Flip turns are 99% practice!

[jknapman] TSC: Is it really necessary to do flip-turns when tri-training in a pool? I did them all the time over the winter with the swim team but I always thought that it expended a lot of energy so I've gone back to not doing them.

[Tri Swim Coach] It's not necessary, but it will help. Not doing flip turns means you get a nice long break at the wall - and your flow is disrupted. Learning to flip will actually help improve endurance and will be that much closer to actual open water swimming.


[nathane] I've been training now for 3 months and my first triathlon is one month away, what would you say to concentrate on for swimming: technique, stamina, speed, etc...??


[Tri Swim Coach] Always concentrate on technique. Start with the basic balance drills. You only have 1 month so you have to set your expectations properly! However, it would be MUCH better to work technique for a month and have a slow swim than to try to get faster with poor technique just for 1 race. Think of this as a journey rather than a destination! Good luck!

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date: June 27, 2007

Tri Swim Coach

I'm at http://www.TriSwimCoach.com- a resource for beginning through intermediate level triathletes looking for help with swimming. The site features a free email newsletter offering tips and articles on triathlon swimming. I have also written an electronic book titled “The Complete Guide to Triathlon Swimming” and created "The Essential Triathlon Swimming DVD", both available on www.triswimcoach.com.

For a 20% DISCOUNT on Zoomers Z2 fins and Freestyler paddles, go to www.finisinc.com and use discount code ‘aggies20’ at checkout!

avatarTri Swim Coach

I'm at http://www.TriSwimCoach.com- a resource for beginning through intermediate level triathletes looking for help with swimming. The site features a free email newsletter offering tips and articles on triathlon swimming. I have also written an electronic book titled “The Complete Guide to Triathlon Swimming” and created "The Essential Triathlon Swimming DVD", both available on www.triswimcoach.com.

For a 20% DISCOUNT on Zoomers Z2 fins and Freestyler paddles, go to www.finisinc.com and use discount code ‘aggies20’ at checkout!

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