General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Beginner swimming advice from beginner swimmer :) Rss Feed  
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2008-04-03 6:22 PM

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Longmont, Colorado
Subject: Beginner swimming advice from beginner swimmer :)
Alright, we all know that swimming isn't easy to just pick up and start doing. This point has been made over and over again here for good reason. I have spent the last month trying to figure the swimming thing out... not to mention everything else dealing with triathlons.

So here is a little background on me. I decided to take the plunge, I want to be a triathlete! I got a new bike, some good running shoes, heart monitor, etc.. I was ready.. Oh, but what about swimming?! Of course I decided to sign up for the olympic distance for my first triathlon. Yeah... the mile swim thing really didn't "sink" in until I first got into the pool. Wow, was I disappointed! I have always been active, I am in good shape. I can run 10K at a reasonable pace. Why the heck can't I even swim 25 yards without feeling like I am going to die?! Honestly! I couldn't do one length of the pool.

That was one month ago.

Today, I just whipped out 850 yds. Not all at once mind you, but I did do two sets of 200 yds straight without stopping. It blew my mind! I had to stop and take it all in. When I was finished I knew I had to come back here and give my .02 cents and hopefully help someone who might be struggling.

Here is what I did, and it really is quite simple..

1. Learned as much as I could from people here and other sources on the net. Hear what helped them, ask questions!

2. Got a visual aid, specifically the Total Immersion Freestyle Made Easy DVD. Really helped me out to visualize what the heck everyone is talking about.

3. Purchased a "real" swimsuit. Some speedo jammers... a new experience for me. Even though it wasn't true, they made me feel like I was a swimmer

4. Here is what really did it for me. Keep positive!!! Never ever let yourself convince yourself that you will not be able to do it! Every time I felt frustrated I would tell my self, "yeah, you almost got it... it's there, you can do it."

5. Once I got into the right state of mind, it clicked. You know, what people say about swimming... "One day it just.. Clicked". They way it clicked for me was I stopped thinking about getting to the other side. I just thought about the zen of it and just slowed EVERYTHING down. I was always out of breath because I wasn't allowing my body to relax. Forget time, forget the dude/chick next lane over thats whipping laps out like mad. It's just you and the water.

Just be patient but persistent! You will be proud once you get it.. I am and I still have a loooooong way to go!

I'd also like to thank all of you who have been giving advice. I have read and benefited from many of your comments and it has helped me immensely. Keep it up! I look forward to giving back! My tri is July 20th. I can't wait!





2008-04-03 6:26 PM
in reply to: #1314276

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Subject: RE: Beginner swimming advice from beginner swimmer :)
Great post! It's all about a positive attitude, swimming is difficult for the majority of us but one way or another we persevere.

Great job and congratulations you're going to rock it on 7/20!!
2008-04-03 6:28 PM
in reply to: #1314276

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Subject: RE: Beginner swimming advice from beginner swimmer :)
logike30 - 2008-04-03 6:22 PM


3. Purchased a "real" swimsuit. Some speedo jammers... a new experience for me. Even though it wasn't true, they made me feel like I was a swimmer








Amazing what that can do for you huh?
2008-04-03 6:42 PM
in reply to: #1314276

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Subject: RE: Beginner swimming advice from beginner swimmer :)

Thanks for the advice. I have a tri with a 1000 yard swim in 2 months. I can go about 250 right now without taking a break, but 1000 seems a long way off. I am like you, running is not a problem (I have a 1/2 marathon in 3 weeks and I feel I am very prepared), but swimming is giving me fits. It's not so much my arms and legs as it is getting the breathing down. After 25-50 yards I feel I am out of breath. I know my cardio is better than that since I can run long distances so I know I have to be doing something wrong with my breathing.

I do have a swim coach but he has been out of town most of the time in these first 3 weeks of training.

2008-04-03 6:49 PM
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Longmont, Colorado
Subject: RE: Beginner swimming advice from beginner swimmer :)
The one thing that I really noticed when I started to relax in the water was that I was kicking my legs way too much. I wasted a lot of energy on kicking, which really doesn't provide all that much thrust. I have been using one of those buoys you put in between your legs to keep them up, then I practiced not kicking at all. Helped a lot.


tri sport 19: Thanks!!
2008-04-03 7:13 PM
in reply to: #1314276

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Subject: RE: Beginner swimming advice from beginner swimmer :)

Dude, nice work on the swim. Great progress from a zero base.....and you've done it textbook. Lots of good lessons here.  And good post, too.

Or you could try chasing all the fish around in the Longmont Rec center. There are a TON of elites that train in that particular pool. I swim there when I travel there....



2008-04-03 8:01 PM
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Longmont, Colorado
Subject: RE: Beginner swimming advice from beginner swimmer :)
Ahh, yes. I see those guys all the time. Thats who I am referring to when I say "the dude in the next lane".. Those guys are fishes! That is my pool. I am right across the street from it. I spend PLENTY of time in that place
2008-04-03 8:19 PM
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Subject: RE: Beginner swimming advice from beginner swimmer :)
Thanks for the great post! I've signed up for my first tri coming up in October and I definitely need to work on my swimming endurance.
2008-04-03 8:34 PM
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Subject: RE: Beginner swimming advice from beginner swimmer :)
I have been swimming for about a year now, mostly for weight control, lost 50lbs. Early on I also struggled with distance and endurance (always out of breath). I used a 2 stroke breath method to build endurance and confidence and the distance increase rapidly. I know that this is not good form and most swim coaches would throw you out of the pool, but it seems to work pretty good for me. I have no problems doing 2000 meters in 40 min, 2 – 3 days a week. I have read that a lot of tri swimmers use an alternate 3 stroke breath method which is also easier then the typical 4 stroke recovery. Try mixing it up and you’ll find what works best for you. Remember the swim during a tri is pretty frantic to begin with and no one is watching your form, they are all trying to get through it too.
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General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Beginner swimming advice from beginner swimmer :) Rss Feed