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Old 08-15-07, 03:41 PM   #1
viros20
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how hard is it to swim 4 miles?

Im 26 and dont know how to swim... Im hoping that in 3-5 years ill be in good enough shape to do a triathlon.. so for someone who doesnt know how to swim how long will it take to be able to do 4 miles?? I have a swimming pool in my apt complex that i can use to help.

thanks for any input
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Old 08-15-07, 03:47 PM   #2
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What race are you thinking of entering? Because even the ironman distance swim is only 2.4 miles (3.8 km).
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Old 08-15-07, 03:55 PM   #3
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Im 26 and dont know how to swim... Im hoping that in 3-5 years ill be in good enough shape to do a triathlon.. so for someone who doesnt know how to swim how long will it take to be able to do 4 miles?? I have a swimming pool in my apt complex that i can use to help.

thanks for any input
What triathlon are you planning to do that requires you to swim 4 miles? Even an Ironman is "only" 2.4 miles.

On a positive note: you're young so you probably have more energy and time than an old guy like myself (42). And you have 3-5 years to do it.

Possible area of difficulty: Unless the pool at your apartment complex is 25 yards or longer and has a dedicated lap lane, you may have difficulty getting enough quality yardage in to become a decent swimmer.

Swim gains can come quickly with dedication, though. When I first met my wife, she could barely swim. But I helped her a little, she took formal lessons and she spent a lot of her free time doing laps. Within 2 years, she completed the Waikiki Roughwater Swim (2.4 miles in the ocean).
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Old 08-15-07, 04:02 PM   #4
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Once again, beaten by Caloso, aka "Rocketfingers".
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Old 08-15-07, 04:08 PM   #5
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Sorry. It's a slow day at work.
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Old 08-15-07, 04:11 PM   #6
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What race are you thinking of entering? Because even the ironman distance swim is only 2.4 miles (3.8 km).
there isnt any one in particluar..

but I saw one advertised as a 4 mile swim, 16K bike ride and a 5k rum which got me very interested. I saw others that were 4 miles aswell. I thought that was a standard.

as you can tell i dont know much about triathlons..
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Old 08-15-07, 04:24 PM   #7
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That is a weird swim distance. Run and Bike seems like Sprint distance. So I guess there is a typo, swim leg must be 400 meters.
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Old 08-15-07, 04:26 PM   #8
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I think there might be a missing decimal point and that it's a 700 yard swim.

Generally the distances go: Ironman is 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run; half-IM is 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run; Olympic is 1.5km swim, 40 km bike, and 10 km run. There aren't standard distances for sprint triathlons but generally the swims are under 3/4 of mile, the bikes are under 20 miles, and the runs under 4 miles.

But to answer your original question, if you start swimming now, and keep at it, I bet you could very easily enter a sprint tri next season, not 3 years from now.
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Old 08-15-07, 08:28 PM   #9
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4 miles is a long f'ng ways. But to agree with everyone else, find a lap pool and start working on it. It will suck at first but in one year you can make enough gains to make a sprint or probably Olympic distance swim.
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Old 08-15-07, 08:53 PM   #10
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4 miles is a long damn swim. I was a competitive swimmer in high school, although not a distance swimmer particularly, and a "swim-a-thon" nearly ended my career. It was basically a two hour continuous swim for fundraising, after collecting pledges on a per-pool-length basis, so there was incentive to swim fast. I probably did about four miles in that, but strained my rotator cuff in the process, such that for several days I could barely lift my left arm over my head.

Anyway, if it turns out you really want to swim that far, you can find couch-to-1-mile swim programs on the internet that will have you swimming a mile after a couple months or so; once you get that far, you can probably just add a bit more yardage each week (~10% increase per week). However, I strongly recommend you look for some coaching. That's an awful long way to swim if your stroke is no good.
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Old 08-15-07, 08:57 PM   #11
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You should go back and read those distances again. A 4 mile swim for any tri distnace doesn't make sense.
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Old 08-16-07, 08:36 AM   #12
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That is a weird swim distance. Run and Bike seems like Sprint distance. So I guess there is a typo, swim leg must be 400 meters.
Agreed, either they missed it or you did, but there should have been a decimal point in there.

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Old 08-16-07, 09:54 AM   #13
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That is a weird swim distance. Run and Bike seems like Sprint distance. So I guess there is a typo, swim leg must be 400 meters.
What he said....
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Old 08-16-07, 11:51 AM   #14
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What race are you thinking of entering? Because even the ironman distance swim is only 2.4 miles (3.8 km).
I always thought it was 4K (2.48mi).
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Old 08-16-07, 02:56 PM   #15
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On the point of absurd swim distances though, I was amazed to find out the other day that there are actually Deca-ironman races! 24mile swim leg!
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Old 08-16-07, 10:58 PM   #16
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I'll also throw in my vote with the 4 miles being an absurd distance.

I didn't know how to swim (well, I could float and get from one end of the pool to the other...but not with any known stroke) and signed up for swim lessons in February. I finished my first sprint triathlon a couple weeks ago! It was only a half mile open water swim though... So if it really is 4 miles, prepare to suffer for it. I suggest taking a class or finding a pool with lanes either way.
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Old 08-17-07, 07:02 AM   #17
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It's .4, don't worry.
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Old 08-17-07, 08:28 AM   #18
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I'll also throw in my vote with the 4 miles being an absurd distance.

I didn't know how to swim (well, I could float and get from one end of the pool to the other...but not with any known stroke) and signed up for swim lessons in February. I finished my first sprint triathlon a couple weeks ago! It was only a half mile open water swim though... So if it really is 4 miles, prepare to suffer for it. I suggest taking a class or finding a pool with lanes either way.
heh, half mile is still a pretty healthy distance for a sprint....
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Old 08-17-07, 04:55 PM   #19
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Itís definitely not 4 miles.

As to how long will it take to get to 4 miles if you actually want to do that one day, well, there's just no way anyone can know that based upon you now being 26 and not being able to swim. What it really comes down to, in my experience, is whether or not you can become comfortable in the water. If you can become comfortable, if you work at it with some instruction, and you get in reasonably good shape, then you could probably get there pretty fast; definitely within your three to five years target goal. However, and this is a very big however, some people never get over their fear of the water. I donít want to sound like the sole doubter here, but this is not a remote possibility with you already being 26 and not being able to swim. I've seen many adults while I was in the Navy try to learn to swim and many of them just could not get over their fear or even terror of the water. If you're one of those people, then you'll never be able to swim 0.4 miles much less 4 miles. On the other hand, if you want it bad enough and you apply yourself, then you'll get there probably faster than you ever thought possible. Good luck! Swimming is one of the great joys of life.
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Old 08-19-07, 12:11 AM   #20
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there isnt any one in particluar..

but I saw one advertised as a 4 mile swim, 16K bike ride and a 5k rum which got me very interested. I saw others that were 4 miles aswell. I thought that was a standard.

as you can tell i dont know much about triathlons..
oh, a 5k rum? I hope you have a designated driver to get you home.
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Old 08-20-07, 02:18 AM   #21
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this seems like a good topic to ask this question.

how quickly do you guys do the swim in an olympic tri? like time wise.
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Old 08-20-07, 05:58 AM   #22
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this seems like a good topic to ask this question.

how quickly do you guys do the swim in an olympic tri? like time wise.
Gut Feeling - Most will be within 20 and 40 minutes.

Geek answer based on data from my last olympic - Mean was 30:54 with a standard deviation of 5:00. So using a Standard Normal Distribution 67% would be between 25:54 and 35:54 and 95% would be between 20:54 and 40:54. This was a small race but I'm sure the results would not change much by using a race with a larger sample size.
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Old 08-20-07, 10:47 AM   #23
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this seems like a good topic to ask this question.

how quickly do you guys do the swim in an olympic tri? like time wise.
My last one was 30:30. Some of that included running over the beach at the start and into T1. Fairly middle of the pack.
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Old 08-21-07, 09:00 AM   #24
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Old 08-22-07, 08:38 PM   #25
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viros, I was a few years older than you and though I was comfortable in the water, I didn't know formal swim strokes. I was a very good runner and a fair biker. I joined a good masters swim club and with the benefit of three practices per week swam first competitions within six months and went on to swim the Chesapeake Bay swim three times over next three years. Learning stroke technique and building strength and endurance will come much faster if you can join other swimmers and trainers. Swimming is a whole different animal with its own challenges and pleasures.

Last edited by SnuffyP; 08-22-07 at 08:44 PM. Reason: spelling
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