No Category selected “I need help with my swimming”

    “I need help with my swimming”


    A reader writes:

    I’m 51 years old and have wanted to do a tri for years.  My biking and running are good but my swimming is poor!  Any suggestions to help encourage me with my swimming would be appreciated!

    Experienced swimmers and triathletes, what tips, tricks and advice do you have?


    1. I took two swim classes at my gym (look for adult classes) and then joined the Masters Swym team. Now I have a guaranteed workout time on Monday nights!

    2. If you can get into some private lessons, you’ll learn so much faster! The instructor will be able to focus on you and you alone!

      A few years ago I bought a book called The Female Triathlete. It has tons of great resources, including swimming tips, techniques and drills to practice. Not specific to women either.

      Good luck!

    3. Youtube is a great place to start. Then head out to the pool and do a few pool lengths and time your slowest time.

      Do long easy strokes while keeping your feet up with quick easy Kicks. It’s all about keeping your cool and making the cutoff times.

      If you are a good runner then the swim should be a breeze. Just don’t give up after your first tri because nobody has good memories of their first swim start.

      Good luck and try finding a tri club near your.

    4. Just tri ‘n’ du it!

      Get in the pool, do as many lengths of the pool as you can, using whatever stroke is most comfortable. That will build up your endurance and hopefully you will learn to love the water and have fun, just like when you were a kid! When you can swim 2-3 times per week and do 10 lengths without stopping to gasp for breath, start this week by week plan:

      Week One training:The first step is to start working the freestyle stroke (“front crawl”) into your workout. Start slowly by doing 1 length of the pool of freestyle, then 1 length of a “resting” stroke like breaststroke or gentle backstroke (do 10 lengths total). This will increase your skill and endurance.

      Week Two: Build up your ratio of freestyle:resting stroke to 2:1,
      keeping the total distance to 10 lengths. Try to swim 2-3 times per week.

      Week Three: Keep the same ratio of 2:1 and increase to 20 lengths.

      Week Four: Increase the ratio to 3 freestyle :1 resting stroke and only do 10 lengths total.

      Week Five: Maintain the 3:1 ratio and increase the total lengths to 20.

      Weeks Six-Ten: Maintain the 3:1 ration and gradually increase the total lengths you swim by 6-10 each week.

      You should be ready for a Try-a-Tri or even a Sprint triathlon in 10 weeks if you follow this schedule.

      Skill training is important too, in order to swim efficiently. Learning to breathe on both sides will keep you straight in open water. Flip turns are not necessary in the pool, since you don’t do them in open water! Seek feedback from other swimmers you meet, or from adult group classes, masters swim clubs or multisport clubs in your area.

      Learning about the swim’s mass start is important too – just remember you can’t get kicked or hit in the water very hard, due to its resistance! Just go for it! If you get out of the water in the first group, you have a headstart on the bike and others may not be able to catch you, if you’re fast!

      Good luck! It’s my favourite sport! I’ve been participating since the mid-1980’s (I’m 50+ too) and have stayed much healthier training for tri’s and du’s than marathons!

    5. What really helped me out was joining a masters swim club. They are all over, don’t cost much, and are coached. Do a bit of investigation to see what the focus of the club is, and if there is different workouts for slower/faster lanes. You’ll get a great workout, good coaching and some comraderie to help keep you motivated.

      With that in place, try a few open water swims with friends just to get used to not having a nice, clean pool with a line painted on the bottom. Lots of people get some form of “panic” in their first open water swims, and doing this will get rid of it.

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