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Improving your swimming 

How well do you swim at the moment? 

Question 1 - can you comfortably swim a length of the pool?  If your answer is ‘No’ then your priority should be to arrange some lessons. 

 Question 2 - can you comfortably swim a length using front crawl?  If your answer is ‘No’ then you have a decision to make.  Swimming breaststroke is always allowed in triathlons but if you can master front crawl it will be faster and easier in the long term. 

 How can you swim faster? 

Work on three areas – technique,  stamina and speed. 

Technique – ideally work with an instructor but here are two things that you should be able to improve by yourself:

  1. Concentrate on keeping your body horizontal in the water – i.e. keep your legs close to the surface and your head down.  This reduces the resistance of the water.

  2. Travel as far as possible each time you push off.  Grab the wall and push hard so that your body travels under the water.  Your hands should be touching and your arms straight out in front - think ‘fish’ as you glide though the water.  Kick your legs for propulsion and finally surface and use your arms.  You should travel up to 5 metres before using your arms.

Stamina - gradually increase the distance that you swim without resting and also the total distance swum in a session.   Build up the distance until you can swim at least 20 lengths without stopping and 50 lengths in a single session.

Speed - swim fast for a short distance – between one and four lengths – then rest until your breathing has recovered.   Aim at building up to 6-8 repetitions - e.g. 8 times 2 lengths fast with a minute of rest between each.  Make sure that you start with some easy swimming to warm up and also warm down at the end.

Training sessions are easier when the pool is organised for length swimming – contact your local pool and find out which sessions are designated for lane swimming