Have you ever seen swimming races during the Olympics and wonder how someone can swim a certain way or how they can move so efficiently through the water? Or even wondered how you could swim without getting out of breath after only 5 minutes? These are questions many individuals face when it comes to swimming, especially those who want to improve their stroke technique when swimming in a triathlon.
These are all valid questions to ask when preparing for a triathlon or learning how to swim laps for exercise. Yes, you might be able to do simple body mechanics like floating, holding your breath for 10 seconds or even swimming freestyle across the pool. But there is more to that goes into stroke technique than those 3 things.
There is a lot more that goes into what those Olympic swimmers are doing than just those simple body mechanics. They are working on many parts of the body at once to create a fluid motion through the water. There are certain rules they all follow, yes. However, there are little tweaks each swimmer does to improve their technique and it takes practice.
Just like any other sport, swimming takes practice, repetition, and endurance. These key factors can make or break your success during a triathlon or even swimming laps for exercise.
There are 7 key steps into improving your triathlon swim and they are:
- Improving breath control with respiratory exercises
- Working on body mechanics to work efficiently and effectively through the water
- Building up your endurance with repeating specific training workouts
- Utilizing equipment to help build up different sections of the body
- Knowledge of all the strokes along with how to do them effectively
- If swimming in a lap pool, how to minimize time on the pool wall by working on efficient turns
- How and when to take a breath in the water for each specific stroke
Each of these steps can help assist you into improving your stroke technique. They are vital in the way you can swim efficiently in the water.
But How do you even begin to break these steps down into practical ways? In this next section, we will go over a few of these steps in more detail on how to carry them out in a real way.
Triathlon Swimming Tips:
IMPROVING BREATH CONTROL WITH RESPIRATORY EXERCISES
One of the biggest if not the number 1 aspects when swimming is to be able to maintain a sustainable level of breath control. Luckily, there are methods to practicing this and are easy to work on.
Here is a breathing exercise you can do when swimming freestyle:
- Swim a few strokes and take a couple breaths, see which side you tend to take a breath on. This is good knowledge to have and be aware of your tendencies.
- You want to learn how to take those breaths on both sides when needed, not just on one side
- The goal is to balance your breathing and arm strokes to create the opportunity in the chance of needing a breath in a race on both sides. This helps endurance and efficient swimming.
- After finding out what side you tend to breathe on, you will then choose two number sequences 3 & 5, or 3 & 7. The one with the number 7 would be if you have a high level of breath control.
- You will then swim freestyle with the mentality of every 3rd arm stroke, you will take a breath. Then after this, you will breathe every 5th or 7th stroke.
This will create the chance for you to breathe on each side and build up levels of breath control in a sustainable manner. This will also build up your endurance to swim longer and more efficiently.
UTILIZING EQUIPMENT TO HELP BUILD UP CERTAIN PARTS OF THE BODY
Another step that is very important and will go more into detail on is the equipment you can use when improving your stroke technique. There are certain tools you can use in the pool to help practice and work on your endurance.
- Kickboard- Can order online or get from a sporting goods store. Would recommend one that is sturdy material and not a foam one.
- Pair of quality goggles- ensure they are anti-fog and not colored lenses. The ones that are clear tend to not fog as much and create more clarity when swimming through the water.
- Pull Buoy- This is a tool that helps isolate your legs and goes between your upper thighs just above the knee. This will help you be able to focus just on your arm stroke when swimming freestyle. You can even do the breathing exercise explained earlier in the blog with this tool.
These 3 tools are not all that you can buy for improving your stroke technique but will make the biggest difference in the beginning of your triathlon or exercise training.
All of these steps can be used to help improve your stroke technique. Giving yourself the time and dedicating yourself to these steps will help you reach your ultimate goal. Whatever your goal may be, whether being able to swim laps continuously, participate in a triathlon, or just become a more efficient swimmer these steps should get you closer and closer to the finishing line.
Need more help from a professional swimming instructor? Learn more about our private adult swimming lessons at your own home or community pool and improve your stroke technique today!
Elyse McBride’s bio:
Swim Instructor in Overland Park, KS
Hi there! I have been teaching swim lessons for 10 years and have loved the opportunity of seeing people of all ages learn such a life-giving skill. I started my career in this field when I was 15, by being a lifeguard for my city pool and then for a fitness gym. From there I became a swim instructor, swim coach for my neighborhood swim team, and became WSI certified. I also was on the swim team in high school and I enjoy being around water in general. Swimming can be such a blessing in the ways water can heal the soul but it also requires a level of safety.
The teachings I have learned over the years have taught my clients those levels of safety along with learning how to be efficient swimmers. The last 10 years in this field, I would not trade for anything. Over the years, getting those phone calls from tearful parents saying their child was able to save their own life from swimming lessons, is a blessing I cannot even describe. I hope this post if helpful, refreshing and reaches you in a time of need.