Triathlon Swim Start Tips – Issue #161

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Triathlon Swim Start Tips

Dear friend,

The one thing that I hear about most that stops people from even entering a triathlon is…the swim start!

It’s as crazy at the start as it looks, so I completely understand why many would be intimidated.


The start for everyone is a crazy cluster of splashing, starts and stops, physical contact, and swimmers trying to separate from each other. Here are some tips to deal with what some consider being the toughest part of any triathlon:

1.Expect the worst. Go into the event expecting that the start will not be easy. Know that you will bump into people, others will bump into you, but 99% of the time it is all by accident. Also know that the chaos at the beginning will not last for the entire swim, it will break up quickly as different speed swimmers separate.

2. Prepare. Learn the course before the gun goes off. There’s nothing worse than having to wonder which way to turn around the upcoming buoy.

3. Don’t panic. Keep your breathing from getting short. Stay as relaxed as you can while everyone else tries to get pole position. Don’t let others being frantic affect your state of mind, and realize that 99% of the other swimmers are just trying to find some open water and are not out to hurt you!

4. Stay to the outside. Many will try to stay to the inside, as close to in line with the first buoy as they can get. Don’t follow the pack. Start outside and work your way in as you approach buoy #1. You many not get perfectly clean water, but you will save yourself from much of the madness.

5. Run until the water level is at your knees. This will maximize your time on land without being slowed by running through water.

6. Use shorter strokes to get through the chop. If you are swimming in the ocean and it is a choppy day, this technique helps tremendously. Once you get to some smoother water, go back to long strokes to maximize efficiency and conserve energy.

7. Practice. Swim in the open water often when you are preparing.

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Tip of the Month: Embrace the swim

In order to get better, you have to make it fun! Here are some ideas to rejuvenate yourself in the water, and start enjoying your aquatic life:

1. Swim with friends
2. Use fins on various kicking sets
3. Try different suits and goggles
4. Set mini-goals for each workout
5. Try listening to music before or during your swim
6. Focus on the feeling you will have after swimming
7. Think of jumping in the water as your fountain of youth. When you get out, you will feel younger!

That’s it for this week, have a great week of training!


Coach Kevin