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2013-09-16 8:48 PM


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Subject: Beginner swimmer - how to improve speed
I'm new to triathlon and just did my first sprint in August. I live in upstate NY so no more open-water swimming for me this season, but I'm pool-training for triathlon season 2014.

I'm an OK swimmer, but quite slow, and trying to get faster. Part of it is just swimming more, but my time is severely limited, to not much upwards of a half-hour. My goal is to be able to swim a mile, or 1600m, in a half-hour. Currently, I can do 4/5ths of a mile, or almost 1300m, in a half hour.

I'm female and short (5" 1'), so 1. is this a feasible goal, and 2. what can I do to attain it?

I have good upper body strength. My swim technique is far from perfect, but not very obviously flawed, perhaps a weakish kick although I do not tend to sink at the hips and do body roll OK. I'll try to have a pro evaluate my swim for pointers as soon as I can get to it.


2013-09-16 9:53 PM
in reply to: #4857193

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Subject: RE: Beginner swimmer - how to improve speed
The biggest thing you can do is take improvement lessons with a coach looking at you and your technique, making suggestions as you go. Masters classes are also helpful.
2013-09-16 11:15 PM
in reply to: pteranodon


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Subject: RE: Beginner swimmer - how to improve speed
One on one coaching.

Try to get the coach to video you.

The best money you can ever spend on triathlon is not gear or nutrition or a better bike. It is professional coaching.
2013-09-17 4:16 AM
in reply to: pteranodon

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Subject: RE: Beginner swimmer - how to improve speed
Originally posted by pteranodon

I'm an OK swimmer, but quite slow, and trying to get faster. Part of it is just swimming more, but my time is severely limited, to not much upwards of a half-hour. My goal is to be able to swim a mile, or 1600m, in a half-hour. Currently, I can do 4/5ths of a mile, or almost 1300m, in a half hour.



You need to do longer workouts, not just more frequent, but longer, in fact I think you will benefit more from longer workouts than from more frequent workouts. I don't know what limits you to 30min in the pool, but if the problem is that you only have the lane for 30min, then show up early and warm up on the deck to get more from your workout. And, as mentioned by others, get a coach or join a masters class once a week to get some feedback.

Is it realistic? That's impossible to answer, but consider this: Most likely you're normal, as is everyone else. So, if other swimmers in your age group do this, then so can you given enough time and dedication. Whether you can give enough time and dedication is entirely up to you.
2013-09-18 3:24 PM
in reply to: pteranodon

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Subject: RE: Beginner swimmer - how to improve speed
Get your stroke evaluated. At 2:20/100m pace which is what you described for a 1300m and you will need to go about 1:50 for a 1600m swim in 30 minutes, you need to drop roughly 30 seconds a 100m. At that pace, 30 seconds isn't that tough to achieve. The one thing standing in your way is your ability to get in the water.

Is 30 minutes the amount of time you can spend per day or per week in the pool?

Ideally, you would want to be in the water 4-5x a week for an hour and a 30 minute 1600m swim would be no problem. If you only have 30 minutes, you can do it, but the you are going to have to train at a much higher intensity. It would be the equivalent of doing a track workout like effort in the water every practice.

The other aspects of your training you might want to look at it would be looking at training with a stroke tempo of around 1.3-1.4 per stroke cycle. I'd recommend it for you since you mentioned your height at 5'1''. You would really want to get the tempo up a lot higher.

If you have any other questions, please let me know.

2013-09-18 7:21 PM
in reply to: pteranodon

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Subject: RE: Beginner swimmer - how to improve speed
Height is not a factor in being able to swim a 1500 under 30 min. Lots of kids who are under 5' can do this. I did 21:25 and I was 4'10" or 4'11" at the time (I was 11 at the time.) Technique and sport specific strength/fitness are more important. I suggest you look at USMS.org and find a masters club. Failing that your swim sessions

should consist of 25s, 50s and 100s for the next few months.


2013-09-18 7:50 PM
in reply to: pteranodon

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Subject: RE: Beginner swimmer - how to improve speed

I'd suggest you find more time to swim.  A masters class or coaching probably won't help you as much as it should since they would likely require more than 30 minutes of your time to be effective anyway. 

As mentioned by a previous poster, you could see some improvements if you concentrate that 30 minutes with some high intensity swimming, but is it really that hard to squeeze in another 15-30 minutes?  I understand that swimming usually takes up a lot more "real time" than biking or running because we normally have to commute to the pool...but it's all about priorities.  If improving your swimming is a priority to you, you'll find a way to swim more.  It may take some shuffling around in your schedule and sacrificing some other things you usually do...but nothing good comes without sacrifice right?

2013-09-19 1:23 AM
in reply to: pteranodon

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Subject: RE: Beginner swimmer - how to improve speed
Originally posted by pteranodon

I'm new to triathlon and just did my first sprint in August. I live in upstate NY so no more open-water swimming for me this season, but I'm pool-training for triathlon season 2014.

I'm an OK swimmer, but quite slow, and trying to get faster. Part of it is just swimming more, but my time is severely limited, to not much upwards of a half-hour. My goal is to be able to swim a mile, or 1600m, in a half-hour. Currently, I can do 4/5ths of a mile, or almost 1300m, in a half hour.

I'm female and short (5" 1'), so 1. is this a feasible goal, and 2. what can I do to attain it?

I have good upper body strength. My swim technique is far from perfect, but not very obviously flawed, perhaps a weakish kick although I do not tend to sink at the hips and do body roll OK. I'll try to have a pro evaluate my swim for pointers as soon as I can get to it.


hey, did I write this?

I also have only 30 minutes in the pool, I am also female an 5"1' and I would also like to get faster. I have only been swimming 3 times so I am still improving (first time I did 32 lengths in that half hour, second time 40 and yesterday 46), but I will soon reach a point when it this upward curve stops.
So I am very interested in this thread.
2013-09-19 5:03 AM
in reply to: Rollergirl

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Subject: RE: Beginner swimmer - how to improve speed
What I have been doing in those 30 minutes. Is first 16 lengths at an "average" pace (not too slow, not too fast). Why 16 lengths? because 400m is the distance I will have in my first sprint triathlon next Spring. After I've done that (the first time in 12min, the second in 10 and the 3rd in 8 and a half), I do intervals, once length at full speed, one recovery one. I am thinking about changing that to 2 at full speed and one recovery in a couple of sessions, to get me to the next level
2013-09-19 6:22 AM
in reply to: Rollergirl

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Subject: RE: Beginner swimmer - how to improve speed
Have you considered growing 5-6 inches? It may help in body positioning and staying horizontal in the water.
2013-09-19 6:24 AM
in reply to: Jpro19

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Subject: RE: Beginner swimmer - how to improve speed
good idea!


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