I Will Be Faster In The Water

[caption id="attachment_5083" align="alignright" width="274" caption="Practice Sighting In The Pool"]pool_swimming_practice_triathlon[/caption] In 64 days from today I will be toeing the line in San Juan, Puerto Rico and in order for me to hit the times I have as my goal I will need to be faster in the water no matter how fast I am on the bike or the run.  When I went into 70.3 Austin I felt I could swim the 1.2 miles in 34 minutes and wound up swimming the distance in 40 minutes.  My goal for San Juan is still 34 minutes and I know I can do this because I have been getting faster in the pool.  That is the rub right there.....it is in the pool.  Last month I swam a 1000y TT with a pace of 1:50/100y, and this past week I swam the same distance and improved to 1:45/100y.  The best part of that improvement is that I was not gassed and feel I could have been even faster and can't wait to prove that when the next 1000y TT comes up.  I believe I can be around 1:40/100y at that next time trial.  That pace would set me up for a 35:30 swim at 1.2 miles.  That would shave approximately 5 minutes off of my 1.2 mile time. Here is where I have to improve and continue to work on:  sighting.  In the pool I look up every few strokes to spot an EXIT sign on one end of the pool and a water bottle on the other end.  About halfway through the swim set I stop because it just doesn't seem to make sense to continue to do that because I can look down at the line and be back on track to swimming straight.  In the open water there is no line to follow and so I get frustrated and stop practicing my sighting. Yesterday on Triathlete.com there was an article titles 9 Secrets To Sighting and the tips were for open water swims, which unfortunately won't happen prior to Puerto Rico since it is so cold.  The good news was that there were tips for sighting in the pool and the drills seemed pretty good and changed up how I would go about sighting while doing my swim sets.  On Monday when I hit the pool I will begin to work on sighting and this time throughout the entire set. Here are the tips to practice sighting in the pool: Tarzan: Swim the entire length of the pool with your head out of the water. Use this drill to practice arching your back, kicking extra hard and maintaining a good body position. Where’s Waldo?: Use good sighting technique to locate your coach on the pool deck while swimming a single lap. 3 Right/3 Left/6 Regular: Sight three times while taking a stroke with the right arm and then three times with the left. Take six regular strokes and then repeat. Swim Blind: Find an empty lane at the pool and swim straight down the middle with your eyes closed. Based on which lane line you bump most often, you know which direction to compensate for in open water. Here are the 9 tips for sighting in the open water: 1. Lift your head only as high as necessary. In calm bodies of water, like a lake or river, lift just your eyes out of the water. 2. In wavy ocean conditions, time it so you’re sighting on the top of a wave for the best view of the course. Feel your body rise and fall on the swells and sight accordingly. 3. When conditions are choppy and unpredictable, lift your head extra high but try to minimize the total number of times you sight. Use landmarks and other swimmers when breathing to the side. 4. Do not breathe while looking forward. Separate the two actions by sighting forward and then immediately rolling your head to take a breath to the side. 5. As you prepare to sight, press down with your hand and arm during the catch phase of your stroke. This will slightly lift your upper body and make it easier to raise your head. 6. Arch your back while lifting your head. This will allow your legs and feet to stay near the surface, minimizing drag under the water. 7. Kick extra hard for a moment while you are sighting. This will help maintain forward speed and also keep your feet from dropping. 8. Sight 2–3 times in a row (during every other stroke). Use the first sight to locate the buoy, the second sight to adjust your angle and the third to verify your direction. Swim straight for 20–30 seconds before repeating this system. 9. Practice, practice, practice! Make a point to practice sighting drills in every second or third workout.

When You Hit The Pool Do You Practice Sighting?

Do You Have Any Drills To Practice Sighting In The Pool?

Jason Bahamundi

About the Author:

I grew up in New York and lived there for 34 years until I got divorced and moved 1600 miles to my new home in Texas.  I love New York and miss it but that does not mean that Texas hasn’t been great to me because it has.  It was here that I discovered endurance sports and specifically the sport of triathlon.  Triathlon has given me new life through all the challenges it presents.  I no longer look at life the same way and I can say that is in part due to my endeavor into this sport.

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