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6 Swim Tips For Your First Triathlon

Jul 18, 2007 |

Janet Wilson recently wrote an article with 6 swim tips for your first triathlon:

Are you a triathlon beginner intimidated by the swim? Don’t feel bad – most beginners find the swim the toughest of the three disciplines. Here are 6 swimming tips to help you perform well during the swim at your first triathlon or to improve your swim time as you advance.

1. Swim technique. The more time you work on your technique, the more efficient your stroke and the less energy you will use during your swim. You can find 5 key techniques on the triathlon swim tips page on my site. You can also seek out help from a masters swim program. Sometimes even places that teach kids how to swim will also help adults who want to swim competitively. One of the best self-taught programs I’ve seen is from the “Tri Swim Coach” Kevin Koskella.

2. Repetition is the key to becoming a strong swimmer. The only way to improve your swimming is to keep doing it. If you are doing a race with an open water swim you should definitely add some practice open water swims to your training plan – you especially need to practice “sighting” in the water (swimming straight to a location). The good news is that swimming is a low-impact way to build your cardiovascular system.

3. Swimming with a group can keep you motivated. A group can keep you challenged to improve. A coached group is also a good place to start. A coach can give you feedback about your form or technique.

4. Upper body strength will help your swimming. As you develop your weight training program, don’t forget to work on upper body and core strength. This will definitely help your swimming.

5. What to wear during triathlon swimming. A snug fitting swimsuit – some people wear bike shorts – is best. This makes sure it doesn’t catch water during the swim. For lake swims, if the water temperature is 78 degrees or below you can wear a wetsuit. Most people will wear one if they have the option because a wetsuit helps add to your buoyancy in the water and keeps you warm. If you don’t have a wetsuit you need to get used to swimming in cold water.

6. How far do I have to swim to do my first triathlon? This is probably the number one question I get from beginners. It’s obviously a good idea to be able to swim at least the race distance (usually 500 meters in a sprint race) before you do your first triathlon. However, if your race has a pool swim don’t be worried if you’re not sure you’ll be able to swim without stopping – most pool swims allow you to hold onto the wall at the end of the pool to rest (just remember to keep your feet off the bottom of the pool – check with the race director before your race).

Triathlon Coach Janet Wilson is a USAT certified triathlon coach and ACE certified personal trainer. Janet is an accomplished and nationally-ranked amateur triathlete and she coaches triathletes of all skill levels, from a triathlon beginner to Hawaii Ironman qualifiers. To learn more about triathlon training, swim tips, coaching programs or just great tips on how to stay in shape visit her website at http://www.coach-janet.com

Posted in: Triathlon Swimming

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