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Beginner Swim Training

Hi everybody, I'm relatively new to tri, I did a sprint in 2017 and loved it. Didn't get around to a triathlon last year as my year was built around training for a half marathon, which was a big step up compared to any running I'd ever done. 

I'm back into tri now, and am looking to build to another sprint in August. I'm nursing a knee injury at the moment and as a result am on low impact training. So training my swim is ideal. 

I'm comfortable but not quick in the water, and I did my previous tri using breast stroke. I understand that this isn't the most effective stroke to use and that crawl would be better, I'm just not overly comfortable with it. 

I'm looking for some advice for things I can do to feel more comfortable using crawl. I've thought about getting a couple of private 1:1 lessons with a coach to help but this will probably be quite expensive so I'm looking for something I can do in my usual pool sessions. 

Thanks in advance!


  • HarryDHarryD Posts: 425
    Get hold of the Total Immersion book The Revolutionary Way to swim better, faster and Easier.

    In the 2004 edition Chapter 8 is The School for Fishlike Swimming. Do the six lessons starting at the beginning and work your way through. Don't rush and don't even think of trying front crawl until it tells you. Don't dip in and out.

    TI has a bad reputation with some but I've found that it is the best way of teaching adults front crawl. I use it in my swim teaching and it typically takes 5 x 40min sessions to get a water confident breast stroke swimmer to swim pretty good front crawl. Many able to complete 100m of three stroke breathing at the end and do tumble turns.

    By the way there is a difference between swim teaching and coaching and often swim teachers are only taught to work with kids because that is where the money is.

    If you can get to North Yorkshire this Saturday afternoon you can do my next course.

    Hope this helps, HarryD
  • Hi Gareth,

    I am the digital editor for 220 Triathlon and I was just wondering if you would like to be featured in the reader rescue section of the magazine about this? It means we ask an expert for advice specifically to you. If this interests you can you please email the features editor [email protected] or [email protected]

    Thanks very much and good luck,


  • MartinH2MartinH2 Posts: 19

    If you want to transition to freestyle/frontcrawl, which is by far the most efficicent stroke but at the same time can be daunting because of the need to put your face in the water, we have developed a very simple method that is summarized in our blog: https://mastersoftri.com/developing-the-push-in-the-swim-stroke/

    If you are not a swimmer, you don´t have the mobililty, or time to develop it, to swim "properly" and so you will use a lot of valuable training time if you try working on any of the swim technique drills that are too commonly advocated for improving your swim.

    Use buoyancy (this will help your knee - relax your legs and let them kick, do not try to stop them kicking) and thinks about getting your arms round fast - splashing and noise is good - and pushing back your hand to full extension of your arm.

    That is the simple movement pattern that you can develop for a good swim and all the "technique" you will ever need.

    Its taken several of our non-swim background athletes to Kona so we know it works!

    Have a read of the other related swim blogs that will also help

    Good luck, and enjoy your swimming


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