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My Swim Sucks

Just finished my first season racing Sprint triathlon. I feel I have a pretty strong bike and run, having done a lot of these sports in the past, but my swim has been really letting me down (15+ minutes for 750m) so is the main thing I want to improve over winter. What is the best way to do this? Volume? High intensity? I really have no idea.

Many thanks



  • Hi Charlie,


    I have the same problem.

    I've been told by a friend that swimming is the most technical out of the three disciplines.

    Best would be to be part of a swimming club. Or a triathlon club with swimming coaches.

    I'm mainly training on my own. And just bought 'Swimming Speed Workouts'. No idea if it will help or not, but I will give it a go

  • if you're that fast already it ALL about technique! A couple of 1-1 lessons should help. 

  • gavinpgavinp Posts: 168


    A great way to improve of course is to join a swim or triathlon club but this won't necessarily improve your swimming technique which you'll need to start working on now.  Get some 1-2-1 lessons with a coach that can help you with technique specifically (if you are just being prescribed lengths then that's not really helping you to improve your technique).  So ask questions of the coach before jumping on board to find out how they will help you.   That's the easiest way to start developing your stroke rather than going it alone thinking that you are doing it right.

    As swimming is your weakest sport, work on this the most for the next few months and swim at least 3-4 times a week.  One of those sessions should be pure technique development; one session working on short fast sets (as you need to get faster for sprint / olympic distance races) and the others can be a mix of endurance and then working on open water drills etc.

    Hope this helps a little.

    Have fun!

  • JRackJRack Posts: 4

    Swimming was and still is the roughest part for me. I recently had a surgery and felt like I went back to zero in two weeks of being out of the water. I also think almost ALL triathletes, at least the ones I know, will agree swimming is their worst event

    That being said here is some simple things you can do to help improve your swimming:

    1. Focus on swim stroke and breathing - Going back to the basics never hurts here. If there are little tweaks you can do in your stroke and breathing to stay calm and make yourself more hydrodynamic it will go far!

    2. Stay calm - Don't go for balls the walls laps unless you plan on sticking to short distances. It is better to have a nice smooth stroke and establish a good race pace in the water as well.

    3. Use tools! - Pull Buoy's, Fins, Hand Paddles and a good swimming snorkel are all your best friends during the off season!

    4. Train frequently but don't overtrain - This one is a fine balance but for me personally I log at least 400m everyday at the gym and then once or twice a week I swim to race cut off for the event I have planned next. So if your race has a swim cut off time of 30minutes, 2 times a week I would log as far as you can in 30 minutes and the rest of the week at least 400m. Don't burn yourself out daily though!

    5. Train for the next distance up from your event. So if you are doing a sprint tri, train for an olympic distance in the water. It makes race day stress disappear.

    These are some tips I had off the top of my head here but I actually wrote up a whole stack of swim tips on my training site so feel free to check it out for more: Triathlon Swim Tips


    Hope that helps and feel free to ping me if you need more help! Always happy to help fellow Triathletes!

  • Fort6Fort6 Posts: 5

    I'd agree with most on this thread, but can make it a bit easier. 

    Study and play with the technical advise out there, but settle on what feels best.  I struggled with a high elbow technique for years, it's what I was coached.  I ditched it for a more sprint style after watching 50 meter speed guys.  Works like a charm even for distance. 

    Gotta go with what feels/works best for you.

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