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Working on the Swim


I’m slowly getting more comfortable with the swim.  I’ve still got a long ways to go, but I can at least see some improvements.  I appreciate all the input on my post a few weeks back about the pull buoy.  I’ve hopped in our pool the last couple of nights, and have managed 10 minutes of non-stop “swimming” each night.  Right now, I’m focusing on getting comfortable with bilateral breathing (mostly a success) and keeping my legs from dropping down low in the water (mostly a fail).  Even with the pull buoy, my legs want to sink like a rock.

I’m not sure if it’s going to help me or hurt me in the long run, but all of my swimming thus far has been tethered swimming.  But let’s be honest, my desire to walk out my back door and start swimming is already low, and I have infinitely less desire to go to a regular pool than I do to jump in my backyard pool.  Our pool is small though, and tethered swimming is the only way to get a workout in.  So for now, it is what it is.  On the bright side, it gives me the opportunity to move my arms for extended periods of time (ok, 10 minutes) without having to interrupt my stroke to flip around at the wall.

I’ve got about seven weeks to go until the triathlon.  At least the swim portion is only 350m.  I can survive 350m.  Hopefully.



  1. You can always incorporate breaststroke into the swim when you need a break. My sprint tri is five weeks away, and as much as I would love to say I will freestroke the entire 350m, I will be realistic and give myself a Plan B so I can get through the rest of the race. There will be more tris to come and you’ll just learn more and get better.

    • Good call. One of my friends said that he did breaststroked the majority of his first Ironman. Maybe I should be working a little on my breaststroke speed – I’m probably less likely to have a panic attack if I keep my eyes largely out of the water!

  2. Exactly, and knowing this is an option has actually lessened my anxiety about the swim portion.

  3. Jill says:

    I am a HUGE bilateral swimmer in the pool; at Boise, I breathed every stroke – I just felt I couldn’t get enough air swimming ‘hard’ if I didn’t, and it helped sight better. For me, even though I consider myself a swimmer, I am not an ows-er and all the things I practiced went to hell on race day – it became a matter of survival :).

    I think the most absolute best thing a non-swimmer can do to become a better swimmer is to work on stroke technique. You can be the best runner in the world but if you can’t swim correctly, you lost tons of precious time. I have an athlete I work with whom I just have her get in the pool and do 2000m of swim skills (“Total Immersion” is an amazing book. I think “” or something similar to that, is always great). Speed right now means nothing, get the technique down and the speed will come later (I was 5th out of the water at Boise, 359th off the bike – ha). Also, try to get into some open water at least twice before race day!

    Okay, coaching cap off. Except: get swimming!! 🙂

  4. You can definitely survive it!
    Is it a wetsuit friendly swim? They REALLY help your legs stay afloat!

    • I looked through the race photos from last year, and didn’t see a single person wearing a wetsuit. The lakes are relatively shallow and the water gets warm pretty quickly down here (right now it’s full sun and 42C/104F outside).

  5. I’ve been doing some tethered swimming too. As for your sinking legs, try to press down on your chest to get your legs to float to the surface Keep your core tight!

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