Of the three triathlon sports swimming is the hardest because it requires grace. I talking about grace as in body control. The mind is in complete control of every body part, adjusting angles here, constantly trimming the feet, toes, hands, fingers, forearms to provide efficient application of power to water. In my opinion, 70% of a swimmers speed comes from graceful, well coordinated movement.
It’s also the hardest because in the other sports you can breathe any time you need to. With swimming, breathing must be choreographed with the rest of the bodies movements and there are only certain times when air can be taken in. I breathe every three strokes to make my flight through the water as symmetrical on both my left and right sides.
Here are some articles on how to improve your swim.
- Swim Smooth; Swim smooth is the best site for learning how to swim. I recommend highly the video course for improving your swim. They also have a service you can subscribe to the furnishes how to tutorials with video, training plans and drills. It’s all based on ability so even doggie paddlers will get better using it. All the material can be displayed on computers or on mobile devices right at the pool.
- wikiHow has a good page on learning to swim. The article has a good step by step learning program with video and drills for your stroke, kicking and breathing.
- Your Swim Log presents 9 freestyle drills. Drills are important for ever session. They help to build skills, and grace, but also make the swim session more interesting.
- Mens Fitness has some good advice for training out of the water to increase strength and overall body condition with these ten exercises.
- Older athletes like me, will appreciate the advice given out in this .pdf for masters swimmers. By the way, ‘masters’ is just a politically correct way of saying old.
- Swimming World Magazine has some good nutrition tips. Especially as we age, nutrition matters more.