General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Swim Question Rss Feed  
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2013-07-31 10:52 AM


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Subject: Swim Question
I'm planning on doing my first sprint triathlon soon and was wondering something about the swim leg. Are there ever any competitors who can't swim the entire way and have to take a break to catch their breath? Just wondering because I can't and don't want to make a fool of myself on race day. I can complete the entire distance, just need to flip over every now and then to catch my breath.


2013-07-31 10:59 AM
in reply to: CJM2421

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Subject: RE: Swim Question
In my first sprint, it took me forever to complete the swim.  I did backstroke, side-stoke, doggy paddle, you name it! 
2013-07-31 11:08 AM
in reply to: CJM2421

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Subject: RE: Swim Question
It happens all the time, even to experienced swimmers sometimes if they manage to swallow some water or take some contact on the swim. Can you swim backstroke and/or breaststroke? It's really good to have a "rescue" stroke or two that you can use to catch your breath if you become tired, swallow some water, feel anxious, etc. Breaststroke is also useful if you're having difficulty navigating in choppy water or struggling to get your breathing in rhythm in very cold water. I'm usually toward the front of swims, but in many of my tris, I've ended up doing a few strokes of it to reorient myself. (They're mostly in the ocean, and sometimes chop can make it difficult to sight.)

Depending on the course setup, there may also be a rope that you could hang onto, but you shouldn't be counting on this to complete the swim. I think it's also legal to hang onto a kayak, buoy, or other object, as long as you don't use it to gain forward motion. But again, you can't count on it being there when you need it.

Just make sure that you have the skills, fitness, and confidence to finish the distance ON YOUR OWN POWER, whether or not that involves switching strokes a few times or treading water for a minute. If you do, great. If not, I would find some instruction and continue to work on swim skills and endurance before entering a race.
2013-07-31 11:28 AM
in reply to: Hot Runner

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Subject: RE: Swim Question
I had my first race last weekend, and spent about half of the swim doing the back stroke. I need to settle in to a rhythm to do the crawl, and everytime I bumped into someone, it messed me up. They also made an announcement before the race that if swimmers needed to hang on to a rescue vessel to rest (the lifeguards were following us closely with kayaks and stand-up paddle boards), they could, but that really wasn't what the lifeguards were there for.
2013-07-31 11:37 AM
in reply to: CJM2421

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Subject: RE: Swim Question
First tri was an ocean swim with pretty rough seas, and I was a terrible swimmer. I grabbed on to two different lifeguard boards, but so did at least half a dozen other people along the way. For your safety and the other races, if you know going in that you may be in trouble try to stay out of the packs and be wary of the next wave coming behind you.
2013-07-31 12:41 PM
in reply to: CJM2421


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Subject: RE: Swim Question
Thanks all. It's good to have some reassurance that I may not be the only one out there struggling.


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