New To Triathlon Swimming

by Mark
(Greenwood, IN)

I'm looking into getting into triathlons for the first time. I am a fairly seasoned runner (10 marathons and a dozen half marathons), and I've spent a fair amount of time cycling as well. However, I have not spent much time swimming. Outside of joining a gym, do you know if any of the local schools offer open-pool hours where I might be able to train? I'll join a gym if I have to, but I'd prefer that be the last resort. Thanks!

Mark (Intelligent Triathlon Training) replies:

This website has a really good database that you can use to search for swimming pools around the world:

You'll find there are some in Greenwood, IN - but you would need to contact them directly to find out if they do have public options.

If you have never swum before I would highly recommend getting some time with a swimming teacher or good technical coach, to help develop your technique before you begin to train. Often the best technical coaches are those who work with kids, as this is exactly what a lot of the kids swimming training is about; building solid technique. This expense over a few weeks would be well worth the investment.

Swimming is such a technical sport that if you learn technique poorly in the early stages it is very difficult and time consuming to re-learn the correct swimming technique. Generally the older you are the truer this is!

Once you have the basics then it's time to start building this into a triathlon swimming training programme. This should follow fairly soon as the more you swim the better you will get. Just make sure you include plenty of time to practice skills, both when you are fresh and when you are tired.

When you are ready to train I would also recommend doing some of your training with a club. This will help you with the harder sessions and will also help you get used to swimming with other people, which if you going to swim open water triathlons could be a bit of a shock. This website lists triathlon clubs around the world and will help you find your local clubs:

The significance of swimming to the overall triathlon performance depends greatly upon the type of event you are doing. If your aim is an Ironman then you need to be strong enough and fit enough to cope with a long, potentially rough, sea swim. However if you are aiming for pool based swims in a Sprint triathlon, then actually completing the swim will be fairly easy for a fit, well trained athlete even if your technique is not great.

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