triathlon-swimmingIn triathlons there is always a swimming segment. They may vary in distance and temperature, but you can bet that you’ll be getting wet. This part of the competition can either make or break a racers day. The water truly separates the professionals from the amateurs, so that’s why I spend copious amounts of time in the pool, or in the ocean. Anywhere I can catch a vigorous swim, I am willing to try and train for the next race. The purpose of this article is to share some tips and information about the water portion of the next triathlon you run. Good luck!

The Basics:

Welcome to the water. As previously mentioned this part of the race is critical to making a great time and beating out most other competitors. You have options when it comes to this part of the race in regards to your preparation. You will absolutely need to spend copious amounts of time in a pool working on your strokes and endurance levels. Once you are ready I would recommend taking your athleticism to open water and getting a realistic sense of what race day will be like. The water will be choppy and the will be a lot going on, so putting yourself in a mindset of race day chaos is highly recommended.

Some people have been known to hire a swimming coach to aid them in the preparation for the big day. A coach can keep you on schedule, motivate you to succeed and keep pushing, and develop customer exercise routines to give you the cutting edge to win. An important note to mention regarding hiring a coach is to follow the advice and program set in place, and ignore outside influence from others. Too much collaboration during training can actually set you back or cause complications.

Key Tips:

Focus on Your Breathing – Concentrated breathing during the swimming segment of the triathlon is so important because it requires a lot more focus and your body requires it more than ever. Allowing yourself a steady flow of oxygen will help with cutting down the exhaustion levels your muscles face and decrease the buildup of lactic acid as well. Concentrated breathing will take some time to master but it’s something to work on each and every day.

Just Keep Kicking – You may think about just muscling your way to the end of the swim with your upper body and saving your lower body energy for later, but unfortunately that’s how triathletes lose races and face exhaustion early. While focusing on your breathing, just remember to keep your legs moving. The water has the potential to be cold so you must keep your legs moving and keep the muscles warm. It’s easy to forget about your legs when you are in the moment, but trust me when I say you need them for the swim more than you know.

Remember Your Training – You performed countless hours of mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausting work for months to prepare for the race, make sure it isn’t wasted. If you learned how to perfect your freestyle swimming stroke in your training sessions, you have to be able to put that towards the race and not let anything distract you or influence you to change your performance. Focus on you and focus on one stroke at a time.


Thank you for reading!

Scott Cathcart