July 2007 Swim Training CHAT

author : Tri Swim Coach
comments : 0

Discussions on open water swimming with waves, optimal breathing, practicing sighting, when to get up and run, using the back and breast stroke, dropping your stroke count and swim aids.

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[Tri Swim Coach] Anyone have a question about doing their first triathlon swim?

[stumax]  My swim form is bad but the endurance is there. I am use to swimming with my head above water.


[Tri Swim Coach] Great! At least you have part of it down. Unfortunately you have the easy part down!


[stumax] How many strokes should I be taking before coming up for a breath and how often should I look for navigation?
 

[Tri Swim Coach] Well since you are still working on form take a breath whenever you need one. If that means every other stroke, that's fine for now. For navigation, peak your eyes forward right before you go to the side to take a breath. Try every 4-6 strokes at first and see if you can lengthen that out.


[stumax]  I have my first OWS (open water swim) tri in September. Virginia Beach "SandMan."  It is an ocean swim.

 

[Tri Swim Coach] Is the water rough there or pretty mellow?

 

[stumax] It all depends on weather, but there is always 2'-4' waves.


[Tri Swim Coach] 2'-4' is big enough.


[stumax] The nice part is the swim is with the current.

 

[1st Timer in NY] Any tricks/tips for swimming in swells/white caps?

[Tri Swim Coach] Well one is bilateral breathing! Easier to get air instead of water. Just make sure to go under the waves as you go out and not try to go over, unless they are really small. The main difficulty is swimming out through the waves, and then swimming in to the beach. Swimming into shore is all about timing. You need to body surf to your advantage, and not get caught in the undertow.  The worst feeling is going backwards and watching people ride waves right past you!

 

[1st Timer in NY] How about if you can go longer....in order to maintain stamina...how many strokes on average between breaths?

[Tri Swim Coach] Every 3-5 strokes is fine.


[1st Timer in NY] So, bilateral breathing is recommended?

[Tri Swim Coach] Yes, definitely for open water. BUT, if it feels completely awkward right now, don't force it. Just stick with every 2 or 4 strokes and practice every 3 on warm-ups and warm downs.


[1st Timer in NY]
My upcoming tri swim is only 500 yds and I hear that you could probably walk first & last 200 yds.  At what point is it more beneficial to swim
then it is to run?

[Tri Swim Coach] Run until the water is about at your knees. At the finish, swim until you can touch the bottom with your hand, then stand up and run.


[stumax] When doing an ocean swim is the moving out to sea and coming back in counted in the 1000m?


[Tri Swim Coach] Yes, it should be!  If not you are doing extra.


[stumax] I know freestyle is the preferred stroke, does anyone do anything differently?


[Tri Swim Coach] Yes, some people will flip onto their back and do some backstroke just to catch their breath. Also, breast stroke can come in useful when you really need to see, just for a few strokes.  But free is by far the fastest.


[1st Timer in NY] My first OWS race I had to do breast and back because the water was so cold I was hyperventilating and could not freestyle until I caught my breath.  I'm sure it's personal preference but all else being equal.  Would you recommend sleeveless or full wetsuit?
 

[Tri Swim Coach] Cold water is evil!  I would recommend a full wetsuit all the way.  Sleeveless doesn't help much with cold water, and it's less buoyant.  I swam Alcatraz with a sleeveless in 53 degree water and still was in just about hypothermia when I finished.


[1st Timer in NY] I've yet to get the "glide" with the wetsuit that I get in pool.  Is that a practice and comfort thing?


[Tri Swim Coach] Definitely a practice thing. It does feel much different at first, but you'll feel it in time.


[stumax] What is the easiest way to drop stroke count in the pool?  I do drills but I am not seeing improvement.


[Tri Swim Coach]  1) Practice "Free Golf" (lowering stroke count and time on 50's), 2) practice swimming with your hands in fists, 3) Use the Finis
Freestyler paddles on long swims.  Also the basic balance drills like kicking on your side can help with lengthening your stroke.


[1st Timer in NY]  What do Kick drills do for me? I do them, but I feel like I am just wasting my time?

 

[Tri Swim Coach] If you kick on your side you will improve your balance in the water, therefore you will not have to work as hard to stay on the surface.


[stumax] How much kick is too much?

 

[Tri Swim Coach] The kick should be used mostly for balance and hip rotation. You don't need a powerful kick as a triathlete, and you definitely don't want to wear out your legs on the swim!

 

[1st Timer in NY] I guess this would then help with the roll?

 

[Tri Swim Coach] Yes, work balance first then implement body roll/hip rotation.


[stumax] Is it worth using fins?


[Tri Swim Coach] Fins are great- Zoomers are best. I mostly recommend using them on drills, but not in the swimming itself.

[1st Timer in NY] Pull buoys work great too STU....sorry to step on your toes Kevin, but I am new to pull buoys and love it.

 

[Tri Swim Coach] Noooo....I'm not a fan of buoys! The reason is it gets you used to having the artificial flotation help.   No worries on pull buoys though, coaches disagree with me too on this.
 

[stumax] At what point to you abandon swim aids? Is there a point when you just swim for endurance and not do drills or do you still do drills?

 

[Tri Swim Coach] I think it's important to always do drills, no matter how advanced a swimmer you are.
 

[1st Timer in NY] Isn't having a wetsuit like artificial flotation? 

 

[Tri Swim Coach] But if you practice without one it will feel SO good to be on top of the water in your race with your suit on!


[stumax] How much time/workouts is a good number when starting out training?

[Tri Swim Coach] Drills as much as you can stand.  At least 3 days/week.  Slowly build your yardage and full stroke swimming.
 

[Tri Swim Coach] Alright, I hope I was able to help tonight, thanks for coming!

 

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date: September 12, 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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