General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Tips for Beginner Swimmer Rss Feed  
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2013-04-14 11:13 PM


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Subject: Tips for Beginner Swimmer

So I'm very comfortable on the bike and run but am SEVERELY uncomfortable with the swim. Even before I was into triathlons I rode my bike a lot and ran marathons but never took the time to swim which is obviously my problem. I'm registered for Steelhead and all of the 70.3 plans I'm looking at call for 1000 yard swim right out of the gate which I am not prepared for yet.

To those of you that struggled with the swim in the beginning, what tips would you give a beginner? How did you go from being exhausted after a few laps to swimming 1.2 or 2.4 miles? Appreciate any input!



2013-04-14 11:39 PM
in reply to: #4700111

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Master
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Subject: RE: Tips for Beginner Swimmer
Look up the "0 to 1650" swim plan. Read it and see if you think it's doable/reasonable. I was so lost at starting to swim that my husband set up two "pre plan" steps for me.
2013-04-14 11:46 PM
in reply to: #4700111

Subject: ...
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2013-04-15 5:33 AM
in reply to: #4700111

Elite
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Subject: RE: Tips for Beginner Swimmer
Yes, get lessons and a coach fast.....most start out the way you are and its doable but must get into water asap.

I usually do not make it a habit to tell others what they can or cannot accomplish but steelhead is in just 3 1/2 months....have you done other races with an ows?

If not for.your safety get some experience.
2013-04-15 10:48 AM
in reply to: #4700182


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Subject: RE: Tips for Beginner Swimmer
Appreciate the concern! Three things 1) I just got a gym membership so will be in the pool at least 4 times a week 2) I'm not concerned about drowning, I know I can swim 1.2 miles, it just might take much longer than I want it to and my form won't be great! and 3) I know you're never supposed to rely on the wetsuit, but I've heard it is almost impossible to sink in that thing. I believe my main problem with my form is with my legs sinking so the wetsuit should definitely help there.
2013-04-15 11:13 AM
in reply to: #4700111

Master
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Oceanside, California
Subject: RE: Tips for Beginner Swimmer

A high-quality and efficient stroke will get you more bang than more endurance our yards without the stroke improvement.

Another vote for Master's or a coach.



2013-04-15 11:21 AM
in reply to: #4700111

Expert
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Subject: RE: Tips for Beginner Swimmer

1. Lessons

2. Swim often

3. Relax

4. Don't forget to breathe

2013-04-15 11:27 AM
in reply to: #4700111

New user
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Subject: RE: Tips for Beginner Swimmer

Swim coach and youtube videos.

I had trouble on my first triathlon with pacing myself during the swim. I wanted to go all out. I was stopping to catch my breath every 20-30 strokes. I eventually started to count the strokes, which helped me relax and focus on gaining a rhythm at a sustainable pace.

Also, the swim gets better. I found a noticeable improvement from my first season to the second.

2013-04-15 11:35 AM
in reply to: #4700111


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Subject: RE: Tips for Beginner Swimmer

I'm still a beginner too...but have found using a pull buoy and kick board are helping me a ton. I found I was going way too fast and focusing on too many aspects of my technique (stroke, body rotation, kicking, breathing, keeping my head down, etc.).

Just using the pull buoy I was able to work on some fundamentals that were really wearing me out otherwise. I'd focus on just the crawl and do a couple 100's, then slowly progress to 200's when I felt I was getting a little better. Then I'd switch over to using a kickboard and do the same. Then I'd ditch both and take it easy and I found I was able to get some longer distanes knowing I was already able to do so with an aid. Patience really is a virtue. Go to the pool often, and when frustrated take a break and watch some of the more experienced people around you. They often look very calm and graceful. I made this my focus and things improved. Albeit slow at first, it did and continues to get better. At first I was only able to go about 25m before I wanted to pass out. Now I'm working up to 300 and 400m distances. Baby steps, but I can see the progress. I'm brand new to the competitive arena of swimming. Its been a couple months going from scratch to where I'm at now.

Hang in there. It'll get better.

Alex

2013-04-16 7:32 PM
in reply to: #4700785


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Subject: RE: Tips for Beginner Swimmer

thanks for the replys everyone. been taking your advice and looking at some videos and websites (swimsmooth) and have noticed improvements. Also got a nose plug which is helping since i had a hard time keeping water out of my nose. 

Did 5 x 100 yards today and only stopped because i had to meet with a trainer. Definitely could have gone farther

2013-04-16 8:49 PM
in reply to: #4700111

Member
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Warwick, MA
Subject: RE: Tips for Beginner Swimmer

Lots of good advice there.  I'll add another. 

Find a good hotel as soon as possible.  They fill up fast.



2013-04-16 8:50 PM
in reply to: #4703336


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Subject: RE: Tips for Beginner Swimmer
:-) had that done the day i registered!
2013-04-18 1:44 AM
in reply to: #4700111

Member
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Los Gatos
Subject: RE: Tips for Beginner Swimmer
First, get a one-on-one swim coach.
Second, use a pull buoy to develop stroke and rotation. Then drop the the pull buoy and put on some fins to develop your kick. Then drop the fins and you're swimming!
Third, practice, practice, practice!
Fourth, get in the open water as often as you can. It's just *different* to the pool - it takes a while (in my experience) for your skills in the pool to transfer to OWS.

Good luck!
2013-04-18 7:57 AM
in reply to: #4700111

Veteran
133
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Murfreesboro, TN
Subject: RE: Tips for Beginner Swimmer

Lot's of great advice here, but like bikes, everyone has their opinion on what works best. 

Swim, swim and swim some more, you will get better. Get an experienced TRIATHLETE to give you some pointers, not necessarily a swim coach. Get some OWS practice BEFORE the event.

Remember, you are trying to get through 1.2mile swim with as much energy left as possible. Forget about the time because your swim will setup your bike which will setup a great run. Well,, at least that's the plan.



Edited by Chris.1333 2013-04-18 7:58 AM
2013-04-18 8:29 AM
in reply to: #4700111

Veteran
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Tennessee
Subject: RE: Tips for Beginner Swimmer

I hope your training goes well. Like others have said you need to get in the pool and open water as soon as you can. Swimming is the one disipline you can't really rest during the race. Even treading water takes energy. Yes you can grab a kayak but there might not be one close by to grab.

2013-04-18 10:19 AM
in reply to: #4705023

Member
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Los Gatos
Subject: RE: Tips for Beginner Swimmer

Oh, and don't worry about speed to begin with. In fact, the slower the better - the important thing is that you develop good form. You need to ingrain good form in your muscle memory.

With good form, increased speed will come naturally.



2013-04-18 11:50 AM
in reply to: #4700111

Lethbridge, Alberta
Silver member
Subject: RE: Tips for Beginner Swimmer
The best thing for you would be some good coaching, one on one or even a group lesson. When beginning, I found a few comments from a group coach gave me plenty to work on and think about for an entire workout or 3. I took weekly lessons but swam on my own other days.

On my own, one thing I used to like was starting a workout swimming 200 with short training fins, really feeling the kick timing and rotation, then taking them off and keeping that kick focus while swimming a few more 100s. The same kind of thing worked for me with paddles too. Do a few laps with them, then a few more without paddles but trying to feel the pull just as strongly. You can tire your arms with or without paddles; the paddles just remind you how hard to pull even after they're off. You can alternate swimming with the toys on and off for several repeated sets too. Just don't over do it with the paddles at first.
2013-04-18 11:53 AM
in reply to: #4705214


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Subject: RE: Tips for Beginner Swimmer
iruptacopula - 2013-04-18 8:29 AM

I hope your training goes well. Like others have said you need to get in the pool and open water as soon as you can. Swimming is the one disipline you can't really rest during the race. Even treading water takes energy. Yes you can grab a kayak but there might not be one close by to grab.

thanks! definitely trying to get to the pool as often as i can! unfortunately the powers out at the gym today thanks to some serious storms but the plan is to increase my distance a little bit each day. Also took some prior advice and bought a pull buoy. Once the weather gets a little nicer here in Chicago I'll be able to try the wetsuit in an OWS.

2013-04-23 6:54 PM
in reply to: #4700124


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Subject: RE: Tips for Beginner Swimmer

Thanks for the tip on "0 to 1650". I've been using it and I've enjoyed it.

I actually completed a 4 x 100, 4 x 75, 6 x 50 workout today and am feeling much better going forward. Thanks for the tips all! 

2013-04-24 12:56 PM
in reply to: #4700111

Member
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Subject: RE: Tips for Beginner Swimmer

I did not know how swim last January.

I had someone show me how. Listened to those who observe me and kept going to the pool. Now I can do 100 meters without stopping (working on that flip next!).

It's hard to go from an accomplished outdoor type (like most of us here) to being a complete neophyte but I just kept doing it with patience and dedication and saw incremental improvements.

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