21 February 2020

Triathlon Blog: The Swim

April 21, 2015

One of the reasons for not taking part in a Triathlon before now is the swim. Not because I am scared of the water, or even because I am slow, it’s because I am rubbish at front crawl.


I can swim breaststroke as fast as most people can swim front crawl, and keep going for hours! But I struggle to swim for more than a length front crawl without having to stop and gasp for breath. I realise this is totally down to poor technique, but am not sure I have the time or resource to fix this in time for the Vitality World Triathlon on May 31st.

So should I swim breaststroke at the event, as I have been assured this is perfectly acceptable, or take the opportunity to try and learn front crawl?

I have decided on a mix of the two – I am trying to improve my crawl technique in the knowledge that I can fall back into breaststroke if I need to. So how to go about this? Firstly I have simply been practicing breathing and relaxing, so up until now I was under the impression that I needed to breathe every 3rd or 4th stroke, but on further research I have discovered that it’s ok to breathe on the same side every second stroke. Not being out of breath so quickly is helping me to relax , being more relaxed is in turn helping me get a smoother rhythm going – and these things combined are making for a more enjoyable experience.

I am very much a learn-by-doing kind of person, so once I am comfortable swimming the 750m front crawl, then I will try to make improvements to my technique. I am getting there and it’s quite exciting, although I am still slower than if I swim breaststroke, but learning something new is a great challenge and helps make the swim sessions much more rewarding.

I’ve also been testing goggles and masks. At the moment my non-leak goggle of choice is the Aqua Sphere Kaiman EXO (you can read the review here) I have struggled with leaking goggles for as long as I have been swimming, so I am reluctant to switch now. However I’ve heard that many open water swimmers prefer a swim mask rather than goggles, so I am testing the Aquasphere SEAL XP2 mask.


If you are imagining a swim mask akin the ones of childhood with a wobbly snorkel attached, then think again, this high-tech version has an ultra-soft Latex-free seal,  a simple easy-adjust fitting system, scratch resistant lenses and 100% UV protection. Most importantly though, they give you a greater field of vision which has got to be a good thing in the Serpentine!

At the moment I still prefer using my traditional goggles, but I have a feeling that the mask will come into it’s own when I have a go at open water swimming. This week a pair of Triathlon specific shoes from Zoot via Sportsshoes have arrived, so look out for the verdict next time.

Danielle Sellwood, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine

Aqua Sphere Seal XP2 and Seal XP2 LADY versions, SRP £19.99. Click here to go to the Aqua Sphere website

Read the previous Triathlon blog here: Two months till the Vitality World Triathlon

Want to join in? There are still some entries available for the Tri-It distance: london.triathlon.org




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