Trev's favourite swim tips.

Trev's 3 favourite tips. (Part 3 of 3.)

Click to read: (Part 1) - Bike tips & (Part 2) - Run tips.

Part 3: Swimming.

Swimming is often referred to as the most technical of the triathlon disciplines. As much as I agree with that sentiment, I only agree with it if you are not already an accomplished swimmer. Many an athlete has come to triathlon off the back of a strong swimming background, only to be a bit challenged by running or biking. Swim like a fish, run or bike with some difficulties, so in the case of these athletes the original statement does not hold true.


If the original statement is true for you, then the tip I can offer is: swim more to improve. That said, just simply swimming more may only result in fatiguing you a great deal without improving your ability. Are you a swimmer that goes to the pool, reels off a 100 lengths, out and off to work, repeats 2 or 3 times per week? If you do the same thing each session the race result will be the same each time. This tip is about adding variety to your week. Swim more, but swim smart, this is key for improvement. Three areas of swimming you should consider are: Technique, Endurance and Speed. Build good technique through implementation of drills. A relatively short amount of time spent on drills will greatly benefit your swimming performance. It is not wasted time. Endurance swims must be at an endurance pace whilst holding good form developed during drills. The minute your form falters, stop the session. It is of no benefit to continue swimming if you are swimming inefficiently. Speed sessions should be done fast, that is why they are called speed sessions. Your body will react to the speed work and translate to endurance at a higher sustainable speed. After all that's what we are all after - go faster for longer.


How often do you spit into your goggles before the start of a training session or race? Did you say every time? WOW. Now you are likely to find many comments on the internet suggesting spit will prevent your goggles from fogging up, and yes, these comments are true. However, spitting into your goggles comes with other potential problems. Spit can contain germs that could result in eye infections. An injury that will keep you out the water and possible off the road to. If spit works as well as the spray, don't take a chance just use the spray. Whether you spit or spray you need to occasionally wash your goggles in warm soapy water to clear away the residue build-up on the inside of the lenses. Tip: take care of your equipment and it will serve you well for a long time. A second tip on the foggy goggle issue: If you can tolerate it allow a small amount of water into the goggle lenses. Each time you rotate your head to breathe or tumble turn the small amount of water will swish around and clear the fog of the lenses.

Open water - wetsuit:

Taking care of your wetsuit is very easy and a well cared for suit will serve you well for many years. If you follow some basic guidelines of maintenance you may find you change or replace your wetsuit due to changing fashion not diminishing function. Follow these basic guidelines: rinse your wetsuit in fresh water after each use. Don't leave it wet in a bag for longer than needed. Wet in a bag for too long, body oils and urine add to the pungent smell sometime evident when walking down to the start of the event. If you don't want to be that athlete wash your wetsuit in warm soapy water (never hot water) then rinse well in fresh water. Dry out of direct sunshine, inside out and preferably laid flat. If you use a hanger use a wide one, never a wire hanger. Triathlon suit are often made using thin or super stretch fabric around the shoulder to allow for ease of stroke during swimming. The narrow hanger will cut into this thinner fabrics and leave permanent indentations that may result in rips or perished shoulders. Turn your wetsuit back right-side-out when dry. So that covers some care tips, now for a race tip. Have you heard of anyone having their zip pulled open during the madness of the mass start, or seen an athlete struggle to find the zip cord after exiting the water? Has this happened to you? Well, it might at some point. Firstly make sure to use the Velcro tab, (if your wetsuit has one), which prevents the zip from coming undone when not required. Not all Triathlon suits have this bit of Velcro due to the snag hazed it could cause when trying to remove the suit quickly. Next time out you could try this tip:

After pulling up the zip hold the zip cord up along the back of your head and close the zip cover flap.

Then take the cord over the shoulder and tuck the end into the front of the suit.

Now you have no flapping bit of cord for others to get hold of, (unintentionally of course), yet you will know exactly where your cord is all the time and be able to find it without delay after the swim exit.

By Coach Trevor
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