Swim. Big breath. This is the area that I came into triathlon training most afraid of. What is strange is that I grew up on the east coast and due to that, one would think I could swim. But the reality is far from that. Going to the beach a couple times during the year and jumping over the waves does not a swimmer make. To be honest, I didn’t learn how to swim under water even badly until I was 11. My grandpa Rich, God Bless him, spent an afternoon with me at his community pool teaching me how to blow air out of my nose so that I wouldn’t feel that uncomfortable water up my nose issue. He also taught me to dive into water that day. Boy was I proud!
From that I went on with my life thinking I knew how to swim at last. But in reality, swimming for a race is so far removed from recreational swimming, it just simply requires reprogramming of everything you think you know.
So…what I now know and recommend HIGHLY…is to find yourself a Total Immersion Swim Coach. When I did a Google Search for Total Immersion in Phoenix, I found Camelback Coaching…specifically Anne Wilson of Camelback Coaching. I can’t tell you how much she has helped me. Having a swim specific coach has made such a difference, I can’t imagine not working with her throughout this year of training. Not only is she fantastic, but I realized that there really isn’t any other way to improve on a swim.
I need that feedback to know if I’m doing the right thing! And quite frankly to learn what the right thing even is! We all have these various definitions of what “swimming” is. But for Triathlon, it requires technical ability and knowledge that just isn’t there even if you grow up swimming all summer like my kids did. And for IronMan, well, you have to be able to go the distance without exhausting yourself.
Oh, and another thing, once you learn how to swim properly, all of a sudden, the swim becomes the least of your problems in a triathlon. Let’s face it, you can take a rest while you are swimming in a totally relaxed position, that you just simply don’t get in the other disciplines of cycling and running. Not to mention the zero hit it takes on your joints.
The swim in IronMan can quickly become your best friend if you spend the time learning the proper techniques and working with a good coach. I’m very lucky to have such a fantastic coach in Anne Wilson and if you are in Phoenix, I highly recommend her.
I am going to see if she will help me develop videos like the one I’m sharing below, but in the meantime, YouTube is also your friend when you are looking for examples of the right techniques. When your coach gives you the drills to do and you forget what the heck they are, just do a youtube search and chances are you will find a video to remind you and to show you what it actually should look like.
Just keep swimming!Dory