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It’s no secret that swimming is a major barrier to the sport of triathlon. Perhaps you can “swim,” but swimming laps isn’t as easy as you thought. Simply getting from one end of the pool to the other may be exhausting for you. This is common among beginners.
For those brave enough to step outside their comfort zone and decide to learn how to swim… LAPS… it takes a lot of practice and patience, BUT it CAN BE DONE.
“How long?” you ask. Well that depends on each individual. It depends how much time you dedicate to the endeavor… in the pool itself and by educating yourself. You can educate yourself by watching YouTube videos, reading books and asking friends for advice.
All of the above works, but there is no question the FASTEST way to get better swimming is by working with a coach who can provide instant feedback and specific items to practice on your own. It is no wonder, 75% of our 1 on 1 coaching sessions are helping athletes become better swimmers. If you’re looking to transform your swimming ASAP check out this post.
After working with 100’s of triathletes in the pool, some complete beginners and others simply looking to get faster, here are 3 common swim technique flaws we see.
Don’t pull a Diana Ross when you swim. “scooping” up your hand and giving the “stop” sign when extending your arm is a common mistake triathletes make… AND THEY REARLY KNOW THEY’RE DOING IT. Avoid scooping and you’ll find some extra speed!
Do your legs flare out when you kick? It’s especially common among triathletes when they go to breathe. Many athletes don’t even realize the extent they’re legs flare until we show them what they look like on video.
If your legs split like this, you’re essentially “putting on the brakes” by creating a tremendous amount of extra drag. When swimming DRAG IS THE ENEMY. As long as you’re diligent there are a few simple self correcting tips to help you improve.
TIPS: 1. When kicking, try to focus on brushing your big toes together. If they’re touching each other, your legs are close together and NOT split apart. 2. Get a swim band or use an old tube and tie it around your ankles.
The way your arm enters the water helps determine how affective your catch and subsequent pull will be. Additionally, excessive splashing caused by your arm entering the water will create more drag which will slow you down even more. The better your catch the more water you’ll be able to “grab” and the further and faster you’ll move through the water as you complete your stroke.
The goal is to make your hand enter the water closer to your head (as opposed to far out in front of you) and then continue to drive and extend it forward on a slight angle (down). Think of your hand as a high diver diving into the water. Your goal is to make as little splash as possible. Try not to disappoint the judges on this one :)