Wanna swim faster? Then swim faster!


March 27th, 2019 by Triathlon Magazine

“If you find you’re having troubles making the pace times, consider swimming faster,” says Neil Harvey, the man I consider to be the Yoda of swim coaches. That comment was always good for a chuckle – usually to those of us who were making the times, but less so for those who weren’t. But it was funny because it was true.

Too often, I have to deal with athletes who neglect their swim speed, focusing solely on endurance so they can just get through that portion of the race and get to the bike. Their logic is simple: the swim is the shortest of the events, and the difference between good and great is only a few minutes, so why bother to kill yourself in the water? It would be better to knock big swaths of time off the bike and run splits.

If you go to the pool day after day and punch out two to four kilometres of straight swimming, you’ll get fit. You’ll get out of the water on race day. Without adding volume or time, though (in fact, you will likely drop both), work on your speed so that you come out a few minutes faster (remember, it is a race) and, believe it or not, you will be in a better position to complete the bike and run more effectively.

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