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swim strokes ?

Old 05-01-05, 09:51 PM
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kfb
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swim strokes ?

Do most of you complete the entire swim leg using the freestyle (crawl), or do some of you change up strokes (breast, side, etc).

I'm training for my first tri, and find I get fatigued pretty quickly using only the freestyle. If I alternate between freestyle and breast I can swim significantly longer. Its not muscle fatigue, I just run out of air alot faster using freestyle only?
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Old 05-02-05, 07:19 AM
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I only use the front crawl.
For your first race, do whatever is more comfortable and will get you through the race. You aren't looking to win........yet. Throughout the season, continue working on your swimming and soon enough you will be swimming the entire race on a crawl.
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Old 05-02-05, 09:37 AM
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Freestyle is by far the easiest stroke, by being the most efficient. If you are fatigued early on, and need to swim backstroke to catch your breath I could see that being helpful, but you would slow down considerably. Breaststroke is the slowest stroke. Butterfly would be ludicrous to do during a tri, unless you were really just that much of a show-off. So I'd go with swim more so you don't get fatigued and use freestyle/crawl.
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Old 05-02-05, 12:36 PM
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I generally use all freestyle, but I may take a few breaststrokes when sighting in very wavy or poor visibility conditions when I need more than just split second to spot the next buoy.

How is your backstroke? If it's faster than your breast or sidestroke, that would be a better option for alternating. You would get even better access to oxygen . And it does give your crawl muscles a bit of a rest.
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Old 05-02-05, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Gonzo Bob
How is your backstroke? If it's faster than your breast or sidestroke, that would be a better option for alternating. You would get even better access to oxygen . And it does give your crawl muscles a bit of a rest.
To be honest I haven't been utilizing the backstroke at all .... I'll have to mix that into my training. Currently it takes me 45 minutes to complete 1 mile alternating between crawl & breast (25 yd pool). Is that good enough to keep me somewhere in the mid-pack, or is that way too slow?

Now in open water using the crawl, are all of you able to maintain regular breathing technique, or do you have to completely lift your head out of the water due to waves, wake, etc.

Thanks again for the replies
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Old 05-02-05, 10:21 PM
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I'll weigh in as someone with lots of ocean swimming experience (although no tri experience yet)

With regard to breathing, sighting, etc...

1. It's always best to breathe to both sides, so work on that in the pool. Every third stroke is ideal.
2. You should pick out something to look at/target on each leg of the swim (the big buoy, for example, or some house at the shoreline, large balloon arch, etc.)
3. Typically you pick up your head and sight your target on a particular stroke count. If you're breathing every three strokes (which you should be) you should pick up your head and spot your target every fourth or fifth breath. This way you can guage your direction by making sure you're on target, and alter your direction when you need to.
4. When I say pick up your head, I mean to do it when you're taking your breath - in sync with your stroke - or in your case if you're not comfortable doing this, switch to breast for a stroke or two.
5. Be forewarned that it's not always safe to follow the person in front of you! I'm sure we could have a nice thread of people's mishaps as a result of doing that!
6. Rough water swimming is MUCH rougher than the pool and you should expect to get some nice gulps of water, especially when you're coming in and out of the surf. But once you get past the break, you should be able to settle into a nice rhythm.

Hope that helps...
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Old 05-02-05, 11:16 PM
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Waterchick has some good tips. I would add that if you are on a leg where you have the shore in sight behind you, the backstroke is useful in open water. My backstroke is powerful and easy for me to do. I don't lose much time on the group and it is possible to keep your bearings if there are ready landmarks to align yourself with. If you are a good backstroker and find yourself "struggling" for rhythm or breath, etc. on the crawl, try a hundred yards or so on your back. In my first Oly length races years ago, I found it useful.

Like others, though, I usually crawl the whole way.

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Old 05-03-05, 06:21 PM
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Currently it takes me 45 minutes to complete 1 mile alternating between crawl & breast (25 yd pool). Is that good enough to keep me somewhere in the mid-pack, or is that way too slow?
What would be considered an average time for a typical 1 mile swim?
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Old 05-03-05, 10:06 PM
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Freestyle only on low-waved days. For comparison, my 400m backstroke was once timed in the early season as 4 minutes, 52 seconds. My freestyle in early season would probably be 4:25.
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Old 05-03-05, 11:36 PM
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Originally Posted by kfb
What would be considered an average time for a typical 1 mile swim?
I think it really depends on the conditions of the day. If the current is strong, if the waves are big... Last time I did a one mile ocean swim (last September) it took me 21 minutes. The average looks to be about 27 minutes. The winner (Michellie Jones) did it in 15 minutes.

But this is for women, and the currents were pretty strong that day (in our favor.) Looking at the men's results, I'd guess 22 minutes was the average.

If you want to check it out for giggles go here: http://www.oceansideswimclub.com/piergender.pdf
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Old 05-04-05, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by kfb
What would be considered an average time for a typical 1 mile swim?
In a local triathlon last year, the 1 mile swim times ranged from ~19 minutes to ~59 minutes with a median time of about ~29 minutes for men and ~31 minutes for women.
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Old 05-04-05, 09:27 AM
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looks like I definitely need some serious improvement in my swim times, better work harder on my crawl endurance !!!Thanks alot for all the replies.
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Old 05-04-05, 08:02 PM
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Originally Posted by H2OChick
The winner (Michellie Jones) did it in 15 minutes.
Must have been a huge current!! The fastest female 1500LCM time last year was 16:06.

http://www.swimnews.com/jx/Ranking
however I'm not too sure how inclusive those results are.
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Old 05-04-05, 08:49 PM
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A mile in 15 minutes seems absolutely incredible to me!
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Old 05-04-05, 11:23 PM
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It was an INCREDIBLE current that day. Normally they start the race at the first lifeguard tower to the south of the pier, that day they started us at the 3rd tower (about half mile down the beach.) They put someone in the water to clock how long it took them from the first tower to the pier and it was something crazy like 13 seconds. The race officials were all in a panic and kept moving us down the beach and shouting through their megaphones to swim straight out and NOT toward the end of the pier. Needless to say it was a FUN swim that day. If you don't believe me, go look at the results. They're posted here: http://www.oceansideswimclub.com/piergender.pdf
(I'm also assuming that you know Michellie Jones is a former Olympic silver medalist so it shouldn't be surprising that she was first out of the water with a wicked fast time!)

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Old 05-05-05, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by H2OChick
(I'm also assuming that you know Michellie Jones is a former Olympic silver medalist so it shouldn't be surprising that she was first out of the water with a wicked fast time!)
I didno't know that as i'm new to competitive swimming. Since i'm doing my swim in a lake there probably won't be much current to give me a hand, so I better work my butt off to get better!
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Old 05-05-05, 10:32 PM
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Ah, fresh water. No waves. Excellent. Remember the currents can go against you in the ocean, too, which isn't nearly as much fun! Keep us posted - when is your race?

(BTW, Michellie Jones' medal is in triathlon. Carlsbad, and San Diego in general, has LOTS of those pro-tri-people so they're always showing up at local events.)
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Old 05-06-05, 01:30 PM
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Yea I know a little bit about currents going against you. Several years back I lived in San Diego and went for an ocean swim off La Jolla beach. I was feeling real good so I kept going further and further out ...... long story short, the return swim was unexpectedly much harder! (yes, I learned my lesson)

My first tri takes place June 18th. I'm starting out with a sprint version to see how I like it, and if I enjoy it, my goal is to complete a half-ironman (need lots of training before that will happen!)

I'm sitting here with "noodles" for legs right now as I skipped my normal road bike training for almost 3 hours of technical mountain bike riding. Its a 5 mile loop built on a ski hill, so lots of climbing, steep descents, and a whole lot of switchbacks (i love mtb riding!!!)

Have a great weekend!
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Old 05-08-05, 04:37 PM
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Well the 1 mile times some of you posted motivated me to push myself harder. Prior to this weekend, my fastest mile was 45 minutes (switching between crawl and breast). This Saturday I decided I would stick with the crawl as long as I could. Well I surprised myself and found that after appx 600 yards, I hit a groove and just kept on going. Ended up completing a mile in 34 minutes! (great for me). Anyway, I just wanted to thank all of you for the replies as it gave me a much better idea of where I should be time wise.
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Old 05-08-05, 04:40 PM
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Great job Keep up the swimming and you'll get down in the 20s in no time!
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