Tips for Triathlon Swimming – Issue #73

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Tips for Triathlon Swimming Newsletter

If you’ve ever considered joining a masters swim team or have recently joined one and are wondering what you should know about masters swimming, read on.

It’s unfortunate, but many triathletes I run into never attempt masters swimming for one reason or another. If they only had the right information, they may be more likely to jump in with the masters swimmers and improve their swim at a much faster rate!


“The way to develop self-confidence is to do the thing you fear.”
– William Jennings Bryan

Freestyler Hand Paddles- Don’t Workout Without Them!

The Freestyler paddles by Finis, Inc. are completely different from traditional paddles. First off, 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 ‘aggies20’!

Click Here for Freestyle Hand Paddles and Zoomers with 20% off!

Top 10 Things You Should Know About Masters Swimming

Many people in the triathlon community, particularly the beginner crowd, believe that masters swim teams (coached group workouts for those 18 years of age and older) are for fast, competitive swimmers that probably swam on teams their whole lives. These triathletes tell me that there is no room for novices, and they feel out of place or left out when they attend a masters workout.

The reality is that 80% of swimmers on masters teams are there for fitness. The other 20% consist of triathletes, competitive masters, and open water swimmers. If you are a beginner triathlete new to the idea of swimming with a masters team, or an experienced triathlete who has always trained swimming on your own and shunned masters, here are 10 things you should know about masters swimming:

1. The stated goal of masters swim programs, according to the US Masters website, is: “All USMS programs are designed to help swimmers improve fitness and/or train for specific goals, and offer active support for a healthy lifestyle through friendship, and camaraderie.”

2. Accept that most of the other swimmers will realize that you are a beginner. Most masters swimmers love having new swimmers and will be more than happy to help you out.

3. Not all masters teams are the same. Talk to the coach about what level you’re on and your goals, and see if there is a fit. Most coaches will work with you at any level, but if not, there may be another option close by in your city.

4. Be on time. It makes life easier for the coach, and for your fellow lane-mates.

5. Learn to swim “circle pattern”. There is a line on the bottom of most pools, right in the middle of each lane. Stay to the right of the line when you are swimming. Circle pattern allows more than 2 swimmers per lane.

6. If someone touches your feet when you are swimming, let them pass by staying to the right, or stopping at the next wall and moving to the right side of the lane. Try not to take any offense to getting passed, this happens all the time.

7. At the beginning of the workout, find the time to introduce yourself to whoever is in your lane. Knowing the people you swim with will make your workout a pleasant experience, and don’t forget part of masters swimming is the social aspect!

8. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Learn how to read the clock and the order of the lanes within your first week.

9. Make sure to get enough rest. If you can’t make the interval in your lane, move to a slower lane.

10. Bring a positive attitude and a sense of humor to every workout!

Keep these tips in mind, join a masters team, and get ready to add more fun into your workout routine!