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2012-12-25 12:35 PM

Phoenix, AZ
Subject: How much swimming improvement is realistic?

I have been swimming about 3 times a week for 40-60 minutes with a few longer sessions, for about 8 weeks.  Many of these involve at least a few intervals.  I can swim indefinitely at a 2:20/100yard pace.  A hard 100 yards for me is 1:55-2:00.  ALL OUT for only 25 yards is 23 seconds.  I am worried that I am so slow.  I am wondering how much improvement I can REALISTICALLY expect by my IM in November if I swim 4 times a week including one much longer easy pace swim?

Obviously the results will be extremely individual but opinions or experience may help me get a better idea of how to proceed (or adjust my expectations).

2012-12-25 11:02 PM
in reply to: #4547597

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Extreme Veteran
Brambleton, VA
Subject: RE: How much swimming improvement is realistic?
Based on the information you provided I would say a 1:20 IM swim would be do-able. That is a 2min/100yrd pace (-ish). Sounds like you have the right mix : 1 session of hard 50s with a fair amount of rest; 1 session of intermediate distance (pyramids, 100s or 200s for a MS of 2000 to 3000 yrds) at a set pace (2:10); 1 long session 4 x 1000; or 8 x 500.

Just my 2 cents. Happy swimming.
2012-12-27 10:14 PM
in reply to: #4547597


Subject: RE: How much swimming improvement is realistic?

I think you would be surprised how much improvement you can make swimming. In your workouts, I recommend focusing every stroke on your technique, as that is where a beginning swimmer can make the most improvement. Above all, these three points should make swimming feel easier and greatly improve your efficiency, making you swim faster, easier!

1. High Elbow Catch - when your arm enters the water, try to get close to a 90 degree angle as you pull. You will capture a lot of water with your forearms, and move yourself forward faster.

2. Low Head Position - oftentimes newer swimmers waste seconds and energy lifting their heads out of the water more than is necessary for a breath. In the pool, try to focus on having one goggle in the water and one goggle out of the water. This will put your mouth right at the water line, creating the least drag.

3. Good rotation - As you swim, rotate your hips in coordination with your stroke. You want to be almost completely on the side you are pulling with as you pull. The rotation will improve the power of your pull, and make a lower head position easier.

I know as a triathlete you're probably more focused on your bike and run training, but don't count efficient swimming out of the picture! With how much you are going to the pool I believe you can make awesome improvement in your swimming. Best of luck!

2012-12-28 6:28 PM
in reply to: #4547597

Subject: RE: How much swimming improvement is realistic?
Find out if your pool has a masters swimming group. If you can swim with other people and an instructor once and a while you may learn how to improve you swim stroke. This should help you improve your effiecency in the water and most likely increase you swim speed.
2012-12-28 9:01 PM
in reply to: #4547597

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New user
Baton Rouge, LA
Subject: RE: How much swimming improvement is realistic?

I agree with swiss_tri. Given the info you provided you will have tremendous improvement in your next race. 

As long as you keep your form strong (kicking from the hips, arms in proper placement/following all the way through, breathing to the side,and breathing every 5 to 7 strokes), you will do amazing! I'm a swim coach and have coached triathletes as well as competitive swimmers and when my "students" work on keeping their form strong their times fall fast. 

Good luck!

2012-12-31 3:05 PM
in reply to: #4547597

Subject: RE: How much swimming improvement is realistic?
I was in the same boat as you. I had never actually swam a day in my life prior to starting my 30 week Don fink competitive plan for my IM build. Ok I had swam a day in my life, but you get the point. I was about the same pace as you when I first started the plan. About 2:25/100. Maybe even slower. I just watched some videos and watched what good technique was suppose to look like. After a few months of swimming hard, 3 times a week, I really got much better. My IM swim time was 112, which should have been 2-3 minutes faster but I waited on the beach for awhile to allow the crowd to thin out. That's about a 1:46/100 pace, and it felt easy. Speed increases come quickly when your first starting out in my opinion. Just really think about your technique with every stroke. Good luck.

2012-12-31 8:26 PM
in reply to: #4547597

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Gold member
Subject: RE: How much swimming improvement is realistic?
This thread has been very informative. I have been swimming for the last year and have improved quite abit. I know I can make the IM distance but in want some speed. I am in a similar situation as the first thread. From all your comments it makes few feel much better that the training and technique will improve my overall time "speed"Jonathan
2013-01-22 10:28 PM
in reply to: #4547597

Subject: RE: How much swimming improvement is realistic?
Agree 100% with zterrapin.  For new swimmers, technique and body balance drills are the way to go.  When your head is high, your hips are low....disaster.  When you drop your elbow, you push down on the water doing nothing but lift your chest even higher....guess what...hips and legs go down.  The drag this kind of swimming creates is tremendous and slow.  If you've been training and are in good fitness, don't think getting gassed after two lengths of the pool has anything to do with needing more swim endurance.  You need to figure out exhaling completely into the water and rolling to your inhale.  You don't need much to keep on going.  You'll get it but either get video or a coach to help out.  I guarantee you may think you're doing things correctly but you're not.  Even the best swimmers in the world work on drills continually.
2013-01-23 2:18 AM
in reply to: #4547597

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Subject: RE: How much swimming improvement is realistic?

Sounds like your at exactly the same level as me, almost identical split times.

Yet in IM Wales last year in a wet suited sea swim I did a 1hr 1 min swim. I new I was good for 1.06

I was, as I still am, doing about 3 hrs a week with some 150 sprint work and some 2-3000 non stop work.

The saying for all Tri training is, consistancy is key and that is no more true than in swimming.


Keep up the good work.

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