Week 4: Exploiting the Indoor Pool.

For some reason, I’ve always been more afraid than I should when swimming in open water. I don’t like waves, I don’t like knowing where the bottom is and I’m always paranoid that some animal is stalking me just out of my line of vision, waiting to strike and bite my feet off. And don’t get me started on seaweed – feeling those slimy things in the water makes me think of undead merpeople wanting to pull me into the deep and feeding off my lifeless body.
Insane thoughts aside, the fear of open water swimming was why I was always attracted to TriDu – the swim portion takes place in a pool. And being in my natural swim environment allows me to exploit its benefits, which hopefully, you can too:
Lane Swimming. Can I get an amen? Lanes not only stop wave movement (so you don’t have to choke on water every time you try to breathe), but they’ll be able to provide some sort of structure and organization to everyone using the pool, so there’ll be minimal bumping and touching/pulling of feet (one of my biggest swimming pet peeves). The key is to be honest about your swim time – being with people who are way too fast means they’ll constantly be passing you (which makes it difficult to swim, and can also be demotivating), but being with people who are too slow mean you will be the one doing the constant passing, and with that zig-zag type of path, means that you’ll be swimming more metres than you should.
Warmth. Another great benefit – heated pools. No need to worry about a wetsuit to keep your body warm, even if you’re placed in the outdoor pool, and opting out of the wetsuit reduces that bulkiness/heaviness of it (unless you have a sweet one that allows you to float better).
Walls. This will be a big one for me, for three reasons:

  1. The Streamline. The most efficient way to get through the water is underwater, in a tapered shape so that water is easily and effectively diverted to the sides and the top/bottom – think of a torpedo shape. So where can we do that? Off walls – if you practice pushing off in streamline when you swim, you can feel the difference in speed. More walls = more streamlines = faster swim time, and get this: you’ll have less actual swimming to do (see video above).
  2. Flip turns. This is the best way to carry momentum into and off the walls, especially since there’s a change in direction too. This might take time to learn if you haven’t done it before, so practice headstands and somersaults in the water, and try to get someone to teach you – but if you get it down, it is a huge boost to your swimming arsenal. Pair it with the streamline and you get some major speed. Here’s a handy page to learn how.
  3. Rest. While I really don’t like to think of walls as an actual “resting spot” when I race, I know that if I was in open water and had to swim non-stop in one generic direction without any way to gain momentum, I would go crazy. So whether it’s a physical break or a mental break from the repetitive process that is long distance swimming, walls can be a godsend.

Lifeguards. If your life is suddenly in danger, be comforted in the fact that a strapping young lifeguard is close by, ready to save your life in a jiff. 
Don’t forget to keep up with the conversation on Twitter! Hashtag #TriHard and/or #TriDu13 and tell us all about your training shenanigans.

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