For many triathletes, the swim is the part they fear most. The part they have sleepless nights over. Will they make the cut off? Will they panic? Will they have to be pulled out of the water by the safety team?

With the fear looming, into the pool they go, and plough through the lengths. But why aren’t the times coming down with all the hard work? What is it with swimming?!

Here are a few tips. Try them and see which work for you. 

  1. May seem obvious but get some 1:2:1 lessons. Ask around and find someone who understands what you are training for and who understands that one way does not fit all! Swimming is a technical sport so help yourself by getting help before bad habits are too ingrained in the muscle memory. Do the drills you are taught and do them slowly and correctly. 
  2. Have a video session. An hour of coaching with video feedback is worth every penny. An endless pool session where you can see yourself in mirrors at the bottom and angled in front of you gives continuous instant feedback so you can see what a difference seemingly small tweaks to technique can make.
  3. Join a coached swim session. It isn’t as intense as a 1:2:1 but a good group will have coaching points and feedback to help you continue to keep improving.
  4. Relax! It is impossible to swim efficiently if you are tense. Just try tensing your arms on dry land and you can feel how it restricts your arm movement. The more tense you get in the pool, the harder breathing becomes, the harder your arm and leg movement becomes. Stop at the end of the lane and relax yourself. Take your time. Then try again. If you go straight back to being tense, then get out of the pool. You do not want to develop the psychological association between the pool and being too tense to swim. If this is an issue, learn some relaxation and visualisation techniques. They can make a huge difference.

Now you have tried these out, go and enjoy your swimming! 

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