Often I get asked as a coach, what a person should do in the gym to get stronger in the water?
Usually, the answer to this question is NOT a descriptive lecture about all the muscles you need to build up to have a better swim!
Having said that, strength training can play a huge role in swimming improvement, after one has mastered at least the basic swimming drills, and has a formidible stroke. Working the core muscles, especially abs and back, are where you want to focus for swimming improvement. Using a stability ball, doing pilates, and working on body weight exercises are a great start.
Soon I will be working on a DVD to explain what you need to do and what you can skip when it comes to strength training for a triathlon swim. Until then, stay in the water, and stay tuned!