Tri Swim Coach
I'm at http://www.TriSwimCoach.com- a resource for beginning through intermediate level triathletes looking for help with swimming. The site features a free email newsletter offering tips and articles on triathlon swimming. I have also written an electronic book titled “The Complete Guide to Triathlon Swimming” and created "The Essential Triathlon Swimming DVD", both available on www.triswimcoach.com.
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January 2010 Swim Chat with Coach Kevin Koskella
Discussions on getting below 1:15 swim pace, how to get faster as a new swimmer, benefit of a wetsuit and sinking hips.
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[JoshR] I’m a pretty advanced swimmer (sub 1:15/100 in races) and I’m trying to get my times down under 1:10, what should I do? I usually swim about 10,000 yards a week and do a large variety of workouts
[Tri Swim Coach] You’re a rarity around here but that’s a great question.
1) Keep advancing on intervals little by little. i.e. if you’re doing a set of 10x100’s, do 8 on 1:15, 2 on 1:10. Then mix it up so you’re doing more on 1:10.
2) Swim long course if possible, it will seriously help your triathlon swim more than short course.
3) Do some kind of strength training involving core work. You will gain more power in the water this way. I choose yoga, some people like to do all kinds of exercises in the gym for this and other people do pilates.
[JoshR] How does that help? I do a lot of dolphin kick when I do kick sets and I know this really helps build my core.
[Tri Swim Coach] Well in swimming, you are using your core quite a bit, and a lot of the yoga poses help you strengthen that as well as work on your balance and posture. All of it helps with more efficient swimming. Definitely on the dolphin kick!
[JoshR] What about an overall strategy for building my swimming. I’m trying to up my training to 15,000 yards per week and last week I did 5 2,000ish workouts and a 4,000 yard workout
[Tri Swim Coach] Yes, you could definitely up the yardage a bit...I would shoot for 3,000 on those 2,000 days
[JoshR] What's a good mix?
[Tri Swim Coach] 1 day should be interval-intensive, 1 day distance, 1 cross training (back, fly, breast mixed in), and 1 open water swim (if possible..I know it’s winter now!) And, with all of them, think about technique as much as possible and don’t skip out on drills.
[bbarr66] Is it wise to learn to breathe on both side? I have been breathing on one side forever.
[Tri Swim Coach] Yep, it is definitely wise, however, I would not make that your priority right away if you are getting back into swimming. Bilateral breathing can balance out your stroke and help you with navigation in a race. It definitely takes time to get used to! I still breathe mostly to my right side, and have to constantly remind myself to alternate.
[rbuike] A little background, I grew up swimming, but haven’t swam for 20 years, now signed up for a HIM in Sept 2010. So far I just worked my way up to swimming 2000M and can comfortably complete that in 50 minutes. But the million dollar question is how to go faster?
[Tri Swim Coach] Stroke technique is #1. Strength training can help but I’ve found the most benefit for swimming from yoga and core work. Well how many days a week are you swimming?
[rbuike] How much of a benefit does a wetsuit make? If the water is warm would you still recommend one?
[Tri Swim Coach] If you can wear a wetsuit legally, do it! It’s a pretty huge benefit for a distance event. If it’s really short like a 400m swim it won’t matter as much.
[Mcluvin22] Hello everyone. I have just one quick questions for the swim coach and that is, when doing the shark fin drill I noticed that I begin to sink, is this normal and how do I prevent this?
[Tri Swim Coach] Sinking=normal! The more you practice, the less you will sink. Definitely put on a pair of Zoomer Z2’s when doing this drill to make it easier.
[inspectord] High Kevin, I was wondering how much of my swimming should be dedicated to drills being that my first swim lesson ever was last year and I am swimming or drill’n every Sat. for 1.5 hrs with the local Tri club and trying to get to the pool three to four times a week besides the swim with the tri club.
[Tri Swim Coach] I would say at least 50% drills for now...but it would depend on what your technique is like, hard to say exactly.
[Mcluvin22] When doing the kick drill on my stomach with my hands at my side, I have a hard time rolling my hips to breath w/o sinking, any tips that you could provide?
[Tri Swim Coach] Fins again! Zoomer Z2’s.
[inspectord] My technique is a work in progress and I have been doing drills with fins for approx 80% of the time and have been trying to ween off the fins during my endurance sets. I have also only been dedicating myself to the swim for the last month, so I guess I should just be patient and work the drills since my first sprint tri isnt untill June?
[Tri Swim Coach] That sounds like a good plan!
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