Fast Triathlon Swim
Not to beat a dead horse, but if you’ve been following my podcasts and twitter and facebook updates, you’ll know that
I’m on the side of the fence that believes faster swims do not necessarily mean faster overall triathlon times.
So this article from Inside Triathlon put the scientific backing to my musings:
“Researchers conducted this study with nine well-trained male triathletes in five laboratory sessions: one swim time trial, one graded exercise test and three sprint distance triathlons. The swimming velocities of the three sprint triathlons were 80-85 percent, 90-95 percent and 98-102 percent. Cycling and running were performed after these tests at a perceived maximum intensity. Stroke mechanics and oxygen consumption were also measured.
Results concluded that with an exertion of 80-85 percent and 90-95 percent of maximum swimming intensity, athletes maintained faster cycle times. The overall triathlon time was faster with swimming at 80-85 percent than swimming with a 98-102 percent exertion. Additionally, when triathletes swam at maximum intensity, their stroke rates went up, so they were doing more work.
Therefore, researchers concluded that performing at a swimming intensity below that of a time trial effort significantly improves cycling and overall performance in a race.
So it is apparently true that slower and steadier wins the race.”
But does this mean the slower, the better? Nope. It means not going balls to the walls on the swim may put you at and advantage for the rest of the race, now matter how slow you may be going in to the race.
Plus it’s more fun!
Having said all that, if you practice technique, including the drills I recommend, and improve your stroke, the result will mostly likely be a faster swim as a result anyway.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover”
– MARK TWAIN