Pool vs Open Water – Issue #91

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Pool Vs Open Water Swimming

Dear Friend,

As summer is turning into Fall, here in Southern California this means a drop in ocean water temperature.

Triathlon is a sport that doesn’t have much of an off season. You always have something to work on! So, as the weather and the water cool down, it’s a great time to do more pool swimming, and get back to your drills and your interval sets- just as early summer it’s time to jump in the nearest body of water and get used to the elements!

Although I enjoy swimming in the ocean, I’m now focusing more on pool swimming and it feels fresh and new again!

So I will be wrapping up my “season” by attending the Longhorn Triathlon in Austin, TX, October 6-7. If you are interested in attending, I’ve heard nothing but great things about this race- there’s a sprint, olympic, and half ironman distance race. You can check it out here.

ALSO- if anyone is interested, I’m looking for a relay team for the Sunday Half. Just think, you can hit this triathlon weekend, spend time in the great city of Austin, and not even have to swim! Unless of course, you want to put all this great Tri Swim Coach instruction to work. 🙂

Either way I would love to meet you if you plan to attend. Just drop me an email or stop by the booth.


“Forget about being realistic and instead be unrealistic.”
-Tim Ferriss

Stroke-Fixing Paddles

I have been against the use of paddles ever since I suffered a shoulder injury in college, and the one thing that aggravated it was doing pulling sets with paddles. I stopped using paddles then and continued to get faster, with no shoulder problems.

No reason to use them, I thought. Even forgetting about the shoulder problems, I was against the concept behind most paddles: use them and become stronger in the water. Strength is important but paddles are not the way to develop it!

I changed my mind when I started practicing with the Freestyler paddles from Finis. These are completely different from traditional paddles. In fact they are designed specifically NOT to cause shoulder problems!

What I like about the Freestyler is that its purpose is actually stroke technique and efficiency improvement, the most important aspect of training, not strength. They force you to bend your elbow and enter your hands in the water at just the right angle, and give you the feeling of being on top of the water with a long stroke.

For beginners, using these paddles with Zoomers fins is an excellent way to produce the long, gliding stroke that is essential to succeed in triathlon swimming.

For intermediate or more advanced swimmers, use just the paddles on your long swims to keep your stroke in check.

I recommend doing a workout in this order to get the most out of the equipment:

1. Start with warm up and drills
2. Main Set with no equipment
3. Straight swimming with paddles (and fins for beginners), possibly working on breathing and keeping a low stroke count.
4. Warm down with no equipment.

The warm down at the end should feel like you are gliding on every stroke, and the changes the paddles forced you to make are being reproduced without them, and you will have almost instantly made improvements to your stroke- without a coach or guide of any kind!

To order the Freestyler Hand Paddle as well as Zoomers Z2 fins, click on the link below. For a 20% discount on your order, make sure to type in discount code ‘aggies’!

For a 20% discount, click here and use discount code ‘aggies20’ on checkout!

Workout of the Month

Sticking with the theme of focusing on pool workouts, here’s a 2300-yard workout that will have you thinking about your stroke as well as improve your endurance.

Fist= swim with your hands in fists- focus on your hip rotation.
Cruise interval= an interval you can make consecutive 100 yard or meter swims on with around 5-10 seconds rest

Warm Up: 400, breathe every 3 strokes.

Drill: 3 x 200’s, Swim-Kick-Drill (fist)-Swim by 50.
Rest= :10 between 200’s

Main: 8×100’s
#1-4) On Cruise interval.
#5-8) Descend, focus on keeping long stroke while getting faster, on base interval +:05.
6 x 50’s: Free Golf. Lower stroke count as you get faster each 50. Rest= :20

Warm Down: 200, breathe every 3 strokes