Swimming Improvement Tips for Triathlons – Issue #146

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Swimming Improvement Tips Newsletter

Dear Friend,

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I guess it’s a day when some guy drove some snakes out of Ireland, according to the mythology. Not a lot to reflect on other than a pint of Guinness! (which, if you didn’t know, is actually a light beer, despite the dark color!).

Anyway, what I wanted to discuss today is the 80/20 principle. In business, this often refers to the idea that 80 percent of what you accomplish at work comes from 20 percent of the time you spent working.

In swimming, there are a lot of things to learn, and if you don’t get something right and move on to the next, it can screw everything up in your stroke!

But what does “right” mean?

I remember years ago when I was re-tooling my freestyle and learning new techniques to help both myself and my masters swimmers, I heard one semi-famous swim coach declare that “If it’s only 99% right, it’s still 100% wrong!” I have to disagree, and this is where I apply the 80/20 principle.

Sure, we’d ALL like to have a stroke like Michael Phelps or Ian Thorpe. And if you go for 100% perfection at each level of freestyle, you may have a pretty awesome stroke- but this could take years or decades to achieve. And since triathletes can’t exactly spend all of their time swimming, this type of perfectionism doesn’t make much sense for me to teach- and can become your enemy if you’d like to improve as quickly as possible.

So as you are practicing the drills and ready to go from one step to the next, keep in mind that if you get the drill 80% right, you can often move on to the next step.


“Perfectionism is the enemy of creation, as extreme self-solitude is the enemy of well-being.”
-John Updike

Swimming Improvement Tips for Triathlons

Triathlon freestyle from the ground up!

Workout of the Month

A good mid-season workout for Olympic or Half Ironman distance races.

Fist= Swim Freestyle with your hands clenched in fists. This helps with body rotation.
SC= Count your Strokes for each swim
Descend= get faster throughout set
DPS= Distance Per Stroke- lengthen out your stroke
Free Golf= Count your strokes and check your time after each swim. Add the 2 numbers and that’s your golf score. Try to “beat” your score on each one by lowering that number.
Cruise= an interval you can make 100’s free on comfortably with about 10-15 seconds rest. Example: 5×100’s on 1:45.

WARM UP: 2x(200 Free/100 Non-free)
DRILL: 10×50’s
Odds: 25 Fist/25 SC
Evens: Descend
Rest= :20

MAIN: 4×300’s
–>#1) 6×50’s@cruise +:05
#2) 3×100’s @ cruise
#3) 300 DPS Rest= :40
#4) 300
90% effort
6×50’s Free Golf, Rest = :20


TOTAL: 2800

Less than 24 Hours to go for TriSwim Pro…

Thanks to everyone who has signed up for the new TriSwim Pro program! We’re off to a great start with lots of trainings and bonuses to come. If you haven’t checked it out yet, we’re leaving it open until tomorrow, March 18th at 12 noon PST.

Check it all out by going to TriSwim Pro.


Kevin Koskella
Tri Swim Coach