triathlon swimming

Triathlon Swimming Technique Improvement Tips

Triathlon swimming is not really that far removed from top level competitive swimming. The bottom line is that in order to swim well and train effectively you need to have an efficient stroke technique and streamlined style to maximise the benefits and get in an effective workout that compliments your triathlon training.
Practicing your stroke technique is always difficult without a coach or a handy video system that is above and below the water to capture your technical faults. So here are some tips to help you immediately start analysing yourself and improve your stroke technique and triathlon swimming efficiency.

Tip #1 – Visualise – Yes you can actually ‘think’ yourself into being a better triathlon swimmer. Try to watch really good triathon swimmers (and top competitive swimmers too) closely and try to memorise their smooth stroke technique, then keep these images in mind as you actually enter the water. Believe me you can massively improve your technique by visualising how you perform and by adopting different techniques from the top stars.

Tip #2 – Keep Things Simple – Once you’ve developed your ‘triathlon swimmer’ visualisation technique you can then work on improving one small skill aspect at a time. Remember to keep things short and simple because if you try anything too complicated it will be difficult for you to master.

Tip #2 – Keep Things Simple – Once you’ve developed your ‘triathlon swimmer’ visualisation technique you can then work on improving one small skill aspect at a time. Remember to keep things short and simple because if you try anything too complicated it will be difficult for you to master.

Tip #4 – Follow The 5 Basic Triathlon Swimming Skills Checklist- There are essentially 5 basic swimming technique components that make up an effective and efficient stroke irrespective of the swimming style you use.

 

Triathlon Swimming Body Position

Body Position – Your body position affects your whole stroke so it is essential to stay as streamlined or ‘flat’ in the water as is possible.

Leg Action – A good rhythmic leg action helps maintain the body in a good position i.e. high on the water. Not all triathlon swimmers float well so in some cases little effort is needed. Many of the stronger triathlon cyclists have very powerful legs and have a really effective kick. This strong leg ‘kick’ will be needed to keep you as horizontal and as high on the water as possible.
Also a strong kick allows you to develop your open water triathlon specific stroke technique as well. This is because you have more time to ‘tweak’ your hand and arm action and also have a more effective arm recovery phase.

Arm ActionTriathlon swimming relys on the majority of power coming from the arms, for triathletes our main stroke is front crawl so an effective and efficient arm action is crucial. Poor body position will also reduce your ability to streamline, the power, glide and effectiveness of your arm action.

Breathing – This part of triathlon swimming technique is greatly overlooked. But for all triathlon swimmers breathing at the wrong time will result in a very ineffective overall stroke. Try to develop bi-lateral breathing e.g. breathing to each side every other stroke, and also try and vary your breathing technique in training with some hypoxic work. Good examples of this are to try breathing after every 3, 4 or even 5 strokes in training to develop your aerobic and lactate threshold systems, and then use your normal breathing technique the rest of the time and in races e.g. breathing bilaterally. Also this helps your balance, rotation, spotting buoys and other swimmers around you.

Timing – All of the above triathlon swimmer technique components need to be combined and with specific training the timing of your stroke components will become synchronised to form a complete efficient triathlon stroke.