Tips for the Beginner Swimmer

Tips for the Beginner Swimmer 
By Preston Bokos

    So you have decided this is the year to do a triathlon but are freaking out about the swim. Your saying to yourself maybe if I train hard at the bike and the run, I won't have to get into the pool yet.  Then you finally go to the pool and see the other swimmers moving through the water effortlessly.  You say maybe this won't be as bad as I thought.   You slip into the cold water and your heart rate starts to skyrocket. Now you maybe thinking why did I sign up for this damn race and wait so long before I got into the pool.  You collect yourself and say, " I am physically fit and I have been running and biking, this won't be so bad."
You start the swim and feel like you are barely moving for the amount of effort exerted. 
Now What!

    Many non-swimmers don't understand the dynamics of a proper swimming technique.  Beginner swimmers tend to struggle in the water spinning their arms and running out of breath.  These tips will help you get started, but only with practice.

1) You need to find your "Chi" in the water by becoming more calm. The calmer and more relaxed you are in the water, is your best way to equalize your weight to pull your body.  

2) Get your breathing under control.  This is done by inhaling air threw the mouth and out of your nose.
    A good drill is to bob up and down in the water by inhaling air in your mouth then dipping under the  surface of the water and exhale threw your nose.

3) Don't lift your head up to breath.  Make sure you roll the back of your head down into the water.

4) Follow your mouth to your hand or elbow on your better breathing side.  You will have to loose sight of the hand when your hand enters the water. 

5) Look down at the bottom of the pool not forward.  The more you bring weight forward in the water, the better for getting the hips up.  If you are still having problems getting the hips up, use a pull bouy until you strengthen the core muscles.

6) Tighten your wrist to make your hand an extension of your forearm.  The more the hand is flat and tight, the more you will be able to pull your body weight. Swimming gloves are recommended instead of paddles for beginner swimmers.

7) Stop using your legs so much.  The more you put energy to the lower part of your body, the more you are pulling dead weight.  Your legs are only as good as if they are working for you, not against you.
             A) Try to kick with a Kick board and point your toes.  If you are not moving much, that is your first clue to stop using that part of the body.  Save your legs for the Bike and The Run!!!

8) Train your legs independently with fins and a kick board so your ankles can gain flexibility and work  your core muscles.

9) Start slow and do interval training. Swimming as far as you can go doesn't  help with strength until you have a better technique.

10) Get in the pool 3 to 5 days a week.  Swimming is all muscle memory and not a fair sport.  You will regress if you are out of the pool 3 days in a row.

For more information on swimming you can purchase great books at
                                  Lessons Available at Tri Aquatics


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