I want to improve my swimming in order to run iron man events. Any tips for an athletic near beginner at swimming?

Absolutely! Improving your swimming skills is crucial for success in triathlons, especially Ironman events. Here are some tips to help you enhance your swimming abilities:

  1. Get comfortable in the water: Start by becoming comfortable in the water. Spend time practicing basic water skills like floating, kicking, and exhaling while your face is submerged. Gradually increase your comfort level before moving on to more advanced techniques.
  2. Master the basics: Focus on the foundation of swimming technique: body position, breathing, and kicking. A strong foundation will not only improve your efficiency but also prevent injury. Consider taking swimming lessons from a qualified instructor to learn the correct form.
  3. Practice drills: Incorporate drills into your training sessions to improve specific aspects of your stroke. Some effective drills include one-arm swimming, catch-up drill, and kickboard drills. These drills help you isolate and refine different parts of the stroke.
  4. Build endurance: Swimming requires both technique and endurance. Gradually increase your swimming distances to build stamina. Start with shorter distances and gradually add laps as you become more comfortable. Interval training, where you alternate between faster and slower laps, can also help improve endurance.
  5. Work on your breathing: Breathing efficiently is critical in swimming. Practice bilateral breathing, where you breathe to both sides, to develop balance and symmetry. This skill is particularly useful during open-water swimming. Incorporate breathing drills to improve lung capacity and control.
  6. Get in the open water: If your goal is to participate in triathlons, practice open-water swimming whenever possible. The open water presents challenges such as waves, currents, and the absence of pool walls. Practice sighting techniques to swim in a straight line and get comfortable in unfamiliar environments.
  7. Join a swim group or master’s swimming program: Consider joining a swim group or a master’s swimming program in your area. Swimming with others not only provides motivation but also gives you the opportunity to learn from more experienced swimmers.
  8. Video analysis: Use technology to your advantage by recording your swimming sessions and analyzing your technique. Compare your stroke to that of professional swimmers and identify areas for improvement. Seek feedback from a coach or experienced swimmer to help you refine your technique.

Remember, consistency is key when it comes to improving swimming skills. Aim to swim regularly and make it a part of your training routine. With time and practice, your swimming abilities will improve, bringing you closer to achieving your triathlon goals. Stay dedicated and enjoy the process!