swimming in a triAlmost all of us learned how to swim as kids. We were thrown in the pool and told to kick our feet, crawl with our arms, and awkwardly breathe to the side.  And where this is swimming in its most basic sense, it’s probably more accurate to label it a method for not drowning with occasional forward propulsion. Swimming is a fantastic, low impact sport that beyond being just great exercise can really give you an advantage in a race if you’re good at it.  If you’re looking at doing a triathlon, or any sort of swimming event in the future, follow these tips to help make you feel more comfortable in the water:

 

Take a swim lesson

 

Unless you swam in high school or college, chances are you’re relying on advice you received from when you were a kid.  Swimming is an incredibly technique based sport, and chances are that unless you’ve had formal coaching as an adult there is probably a multitude of things you could correct with your swim stroke.  Taking an hour lesson with a swim coach can provide you with valuable knowledge about how to swim faster while using less energy.

 

Swim in open water

 

Most triathlons take place in bays, lakes or oceans, which means you don’t have that convenient black line to follow while you swim.  If you’re doing a race that is in open water, get out and swim a few times before the race to get used to it. You’ll realize that A) you don’t swim as straight as you thought you did and B) you need to occasionally look forward or “sight” a buoy or landmark to make sure you’re going in the right direction. Plus, you’ll develop more confidence in your ability to swim outside of a controlled pool environment.

 

Wetsuits are your friend

 

A majority of triathlons allow you to wear a wetsuit for the swim portion. Do yourself a favor and take them up on that.  Wetsuits not only provide you with warmth, but they offer a tremendous amount of buoyancy. This helps with not only making you faster in the water due to better body position, but can help with confidence in knowing that you’ll float a lot easier.  There are many companies that make swimming specific wetsuits.  Make sure you get one that fits and try it out a few times before your race.

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