April 2008 Swim Training Chat with Coach Kevin Koskella

author : Tri Swim Coach
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Discussions on increasing your swim pace, free golf, bilateral breathing, paddle or fin usage, to kick or not to kick, dizziness, ocean swims and sighting.

[Tri Swim Coach]  Ok everyone in the Swim Chat!

[Invigilator] Hi, I have been working through the 0 to 1650 program fairly well, but my pace is unchanged. Once I finish this program, what sort of work can I do to work on increasing my pace?

[Tri Swim Coach]  Invigilator, good question!
 

1) Keep doing drills, but add in a little more straight swimming each week as you bump up the yardage. 
 

2) Work on drill/sets like Free Golf: i.e. 6x50's, take your time and stroke count on each one, add them together...and try to lower your "score" for each 50 until you can't go any lower.
 

3) Add in interval training, and every other week or so see if you can decrease your interval by :05 per 200 or thereabouts.

[Invigilator] Would something like that be better placed before or after my main set?

 

[Tri Swim Coach] It could be part of main set or after.


[kimmitri408] I have a question. I am an extremely slow swimmer. My yardage is increasing, but I am still very slow - around 24 minutes/500m. I'm doing well well over 25 strokes/length. How can I increase speed along with yardage and decrease my strokes/length?

 

[Tri Swim Coach ] I also recommend Free golf (could be part of main set or after) as described above. However, at this stage, don't be afraid to use fins and working a lot on your technique...never sacrifice technique for speed (you'll get neither if you do!)  Essentially, I would take a step back and focus on drills/technique for much of your swim sessions, then add free golf/intervals/yardage as you progress.


[Invigilator] Question: how valuable is it to be able to breath bilaterally? I am getting better at it, but my left side falls apart about half way through the workout?

 

[Tri Swim Coach]  Very valuable, but not essential. You will want to learn to breathe bilaterally (every 3 strokes), to balance out your stroke and have an easier time navigating in open water...but don't make that your #1 priority when you are working on technique. It's more important at first to just be able to get air. If that means breathing every 2-4 strokes, so be it.

[G8RSAX] Question: Are the use of paddles and/or flippers valuable and if so, when?

 

[Tri Swim Coach]  Good question! YES, I highly recommend fins for beginners. Pick up a pair of the Zoomers Z2's mainly for doing drills. You can get 20% off at www.swimyourbest.com by using discount code 'aggies' on checkout!  On paddles- I don't like a lot of paddles out there, because they put too much pressure on your shoulders. However, the Freestyler by Finis can really help your stroke and they are much easier on the shoulders. You can also get these at swimyourbest.com

 

[G8RSAX] I feel like I'm cheating with fins. I fly through the pool and use very little arm stroke.

 

[Tri Swim Coach]  Don't use fins when you swim. You ARE cheating! Use them to get the drills like "kicking on your side" and the "shark fin drill". They allow you to not have to focus on kicking hard to keep on top of the water, so you can perform the drill properly.

 

[Ten9T6] Ok...to kick or not to kick? I see some that kick like crazy...then in the TI drills it looks more like a single kick to rotate the body.

[Tri Swim Coach]  "To kick or not to kick" THAT is a good question. Here it is: As a triathlon swimmer, you NEED to have a kick to get you through the race. Kicking helps you balance and rotate as well as to stay closer to the surface of the water.  HOWEVER you do not need a powerful kick by any means as a triathlete swimmer. In fact, it is usually sprinters who have powerful kicks in swimming (50 and 100 meter races). Kicking too much and too hard on a triathlon swim WILL wear out your legs. However, the last 100 yards or so of the swim, I would pick up the kicking intensity a bit to get your legs warmed up for the bike.

[Invigilator] I am getting started with a number of short sprint tri's. How short does swim need to be before a wetsuit offers no noticeable advantage?
 

[Tri Swim Coach]  Wetsuits give you that artificial flotation that everyone loves. The answer is it really depends on how strong your swimming is. Most of the time, a wetsuit will be beneficial for a beginner swimmer no matter how short the race is!


[Invigilator] Good to know. This year my race swim legs vary between 600 to 1000 meters.

 

[SoManyGoals] Is it common to feel dizzy/nauseous when doing side drills (with or w/o fins)?

[Tri Swim Coach]  I've heard this before (dizziness), but never experienced it. There was a discussion on this on my forum a couple weeks ago, let me get you the link.

[Ontherun] I OWS most of the summer. I have a pool sprint next month. Should I spend time working on flip turns for a C race?

[Tri Swim Coach]  Yes I would spend time working on flip turns for your pool tri. You'll save around .5-1 second for each turn if you learn to flip!
 

[G8RSAX] What about surviving a salt water IM swim?

[Tri Swim Coach]  #1- PRACTICE in the ocean! If you just do pool workouts and jump in the ocean for your race for the first time, you will literally go into shock! Shock from the cold, waves, people, etc.

#2- PRACTICE in the ocean!

#3- Learn the course on race day BEFORE the race starts. Know where all the buoys are and where you need to turn.

#4- Visualize your race the night before. See it going perfectly! This will keep you relaxed among all the chaos in the race.

 #5- Stay to the outside at the start. Getting pole position on the first buoy will do you NO good in your race and you may get pummeled. Find some clean water and swim your own race. The competition for you does NOT take place on the swim!

 

[G8RSAX] Is it worth it to stay in the MOP to stay caught up in the draft?

[Tri Swim Coach]  You can usual get a draft from someone no matter where you are positioned (unless you are out in front!)

[Ten9T6]  I don't know if you saw my statement about experiencing vertigo in a cold OWS. This was the first time that has happened... and was very scary..... I had no idea that could happen. Any other BIG things I need to know about...? Besides the sharks?
 

[Tri Swim Coach] Try to keep your head a fixed point in the water and only turn it to the side when you need to take a breath. A lot of extra head movement in the water can make you feel like you just got off a rollercoaster.

 

[Tri Swim Coach]  Alright! Well meeting adjourned then. Thanks for being a fun crowd with fantastic questions! Feel free to stay in touch at www.triswimcoach.com

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date: May 6, 2008

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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