Like many triathletes I could barely conquer two lengths of the pool when I started swimming. That was 2012 and I was 49 years old.

My first Olympic (1500 meter swim) was in September of that year where I swam 42 minutes (2:48/100) in a wave-start river-swim.  Shortly after that race I connected with Coach Robbie and followed his swimming strategies for the 5 months leading up to my second Olympic, Rev3 Knoxville in May.  It was a very similar wave-start river-swim and I clocked a 26:35 (1:46/100).

Later that year I did my first Ironman at Wisconsin with Robbie as my coach.  It was a mass start, heavily congested, and the water was rough.  I swam a 1:20.

There are no short cuts when it comes to swimming, but there are definitely “long-cuts” like wasted time and effort.  I’ve learned a lot of things the hard way, but have come to love swimming and nothing drives the quest to get better like seeing progress.

I think a lot of times people underestimate the value of the swim because it’s a short percentage of the overall time, but being a strong swimmer and not having anxiety at the start of the race huge advantage.

Coach Robbie and I just recorded a detailed podcast on swimming where he goes over 8 strategies to make you stronger, faster, and more efficient in the water.  The podcast is embedded below, and as always please subscribe, rate, and share.

These are the topics we cover:

1.  Why drills are a waste of time.
2.  Why building swim fitness should be powerful and purposeful.
3.  The bigger your mesh bag, the slower you are committed to being.
4.  The correct and most effective way to use paddles.
5.  Why pool swimming and open water swimming are two different sports.
6.  What an expensive wetsuit really does for your swim.
7.  The power of the Pull Buoy.
8.  The tools you need and the tools you don’t need.

We also talk about why Coach Robbie thinks IRONMAN should change the swim cut off from 2:20 to 1:40. He also gives two excellent (and customizable) workouts you can start using now to be a better swimmer next season.

HOW TO NOT SUCK AT SWIMMING – 8 Strategies For Being Strong In Open Water

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How To Not Suck At Swimming



2 thoughts on “How To Not Suck At Swimming

  • December 28, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    Dear God I loved this podcast so much. I’m 7 weeks into my Half Ironman training. Just having learned to swim 1-1/2 years ago, swimming has always been my weakest link- mainly because of my inconsistency. I’m committed to hitting the pool multiple times a week this go round and I can’t tell you how freeing it will be to trash most of those drill sets for good, old-fashioned freestyle. Also, going to make better friends with my pool buoy. Thank you- and keep up the good work!

    • December 28, 2016 at 11:02 pm

      Thanks, Blythe! Happy to hear you’re inspired to swim! Yeah, just get in there with the buoy and don’t overthink it too much. I can attest that the best way to be a good swimmer is to be in swim shape. Feel free to leave a review on iTunes for the podcast… I still have a couple of Crushing Iron t-shirts to give out…. remember to email crushingiron@gmail and let me know you left one if you do. Happy swimming.

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