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Old 12-21-2016
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Default Beginner Need Advice

Hi I am a relatively new swimmer and would like to tackle some triathlons in 2017. I have taken a few private lessons and now just purchased the Effortless Endurance Self-Coaching Course. I am enjoying the concepts and am able to practice a few times a week. At the end of each practice I attempt to swim full stroke but really struggle with my breathing. I don't know if I'm not doing something correctly or if it will just take time. I can run marathons easier. I am told that the breathing will take some time but will come. I guess I'm looking for some validation of this. Can anyone chime in and let me know if this is so and what their experiences have been. Really enjoying this new challenge but worried I won't be prepared for the swim portion of the tri. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you....
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Old 12-23-2016
CoachBobM CoachBobM is offline
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 647

Breathing in freestyle is an inherently different skill from simply swimming. There are a lot of people whose freestyle stroke is fairly good, but whose technique falls apart every time they breathe.

I wouldn't agree that breathing will automatically come with time. It may take some time, but you will need to be practicing and doing drills related to it. A good starting point might be to see whether you are comfortable in your interrupted breathing position on both sides (called sweet spot breathing in some TI training materials). People who can find this position can usually master regular freestyle breathing by thinking of it as an aborted roll to their interrupted breathing position (i.e., exhaling underwater, rolling just far enough to take in a breath, then aborting the rest of the roll and returning to swimming).

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Old 12-28-2016
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I would suggest it's not that breathing will become easier as such but with time you will generally become more relaxed. With less tension (and better balance) you will both conserve oxygen and be able to take your breaths easier. Some of the drills are good for this. If your local pool has pull buoys kicking about for public use you might like to make use of one so you can get that sensation of high hips and rolling to breathe easily. Once you have felt that, set it aside and work on the drills.
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Old 01-17-2018
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Wink Swim well first

Here're some tips I know.

Goodluck man!

Swimming flat
Using our hips to aid in propulsion is essential, especially when swimming the long open water distances associated with triathlon. My goal for the new triathlete is to develop a long axis rotation that will eventually decrease their workload by increasing their efficiency. Think swimming on your edge. This “body roll” can also relieve shoulder discomfort during your arm recovery.

Drills - Side glide, pause drills. These drills are designed to isolate the body’s rotation and develop muscle memory that will become part of their everyday swimming.

Ineffective or absent "catch"
As our hand and forearm enters the water we want to begin our positive propulsive phase early. Using a high elbow/low fingertip position, the swimmer tries to feel the pressure of the water and then “hold the water” throughout the arm stroke. Learning to develop an early, definitive "catch" of the water is one of the quickest ways to find some swimming speed. Some coaches have used the term “reach over the barrel.”

Drills - Fist, Dog Paddle, Swimming with paddles. These are just a few drills used to isolate the feel for the catch.

Overzealous kicking
Triathlon swimming should rely primarily on the arms, core & hips for propulsion. Our kick will be used to help us keep our feet near the surface as well as augmenting our body rotation. If we employ our legs to make our triathlon swim faster chances are we will fatigue very quickly.

Drills - Swimming with a pull buoy, kicking (with or without fins)

Buoyancy balance issues
Swimming against the resistance of the water is inevitable but finding ways to minimize the drag can decrease the your effort significantly. Ideally we are on the surface of the water from our head to our toes (similar to what happens to us when we put on a wetsuit!). When hips, knees and feet are sinking under the surface our workload is dramatically increased.

Drills - Balance drills, Head position drills. These drills will help you keep you spine aligned, get your hips to ride higher and teach you to have good posture in the water.

Crossing over
As the fingertips enter the water try to keep your hand out in front of your shoulder vs. crossing over the midline. The sweet spot of our strength in freestyle arm propulsion is in line with our shoulders. When our hands cross over during entry we lose strength and this could even explain why we can’t swim in a straight line.

Drills - Catch-up, one arm drill. These drills are focused on proper hand entry.

Triathletes should consider having a qualified swim coach take a look at their stroke. A swim video analysis will also help to point out any areas that need improvement. Be patient as you make the changes to your stroke as you have developed muscle memory in your personalized technique.
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Old 05-10-2018
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Have a good swim noon guys!

Good luck to all triathlon on Danang Ironman 5/12/2018!
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