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Swimming Mistakes...

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By Gary Hall Sr. (usatriathlon.org)

Big mistakes in the swim are not only common, but they also tend to drain an athlete emotionally and physically. Making costly mistakes in the swim will not set you up well for the remainder of the triathlon. Here is my list of the top five mistakes made during the swim, from the most to least serious, and how to avoid them.

1. Swimming off course. Perhaps the single-most important strategy in your swim should be staying on course. It is easy to get disoriented on the swim. It is easy to follow the wrong person on the swim. It is easy to get swept off course by currents. Therefore, you must sight efficiently and often — usually every 10 to 12 strokes, focusing on maintaining a straight ...

line to the next buoy. You must know the race course and conditions to the best of your ability on the day of the race to avoid swimming in the wrong direction. You must be careful not to rely on the person in front of you knowing where he or she is heading. Take responsibility for your own course direction and actions. 

2. Not breathing enough. Oxygen is our most important nutrient. We spend lots of time building an impressive aerobic system, which will provide most of the energy during our triathlon, regardless of the length. That system depends on oxygen and we must supply our muscles consistently with lots of it. We must also get rid of our carbon dioxide. Most of the triathletes I have coached swim with relatively slow cycle rates compared to the elite swimmers, typically around 30 per minute. If we are breathing every cycle, a respiratory rate of 30/min is not enough oxygen to keep us going without causing excess lactate production. You can get more oxygen by increasing the stroke rate or by getting extra breaths, breathing consecutively to both sides. Choose one or the other. Just breathe more. READ MORE

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