Swimming can be one of the most intimidating challenges that triathlon athlete face. As you step into the competition, there are 5 skills that can help you stay confident about your swimming. None of these skills are very hard to grasp. You will get a very easy-to-follow set of instructions about all of them in this article.
Skill 1 – Breathing
The first most important problem that swimmers across the globe face – how to maintain a breathing pattern favourable for swimming during the exercise? The first thing that comes to mind when you think about diving into water is that you are supposed to hold your breath for as long as you are underwater.
However, that is not the ultimate solution to the problem of breathing underwater. When you inhale as much air as you can and then hold your breath as long as you are underwater, your upper body is under increased tension. It changes the entire swimming technique that you have employed by changing your body’s position.
Do you know that the carbon dioxide build-up in your lungs and body tissues can make you even more air-hungry as you hold your breath? Holding your breath underwater doesn’t let your body procure more oxygen from the air that you have already inhaled. It instead prevents your body from relaxing after inhalation.
The carbon dioxide builds up just as much as it normally would, and your lungs are functioning at their normal pace so you can’t possibly produce more oxygen from the same air that you are holding in. The excessive pressure can impair your swimming technique and hold you back from performing at your best.
The ultimate solution to this problem is to manage your breathing pattern in a way that you breathe out when you are underwater and then inhale again when you are above the water surface again. Maintaining that pattern might be hard at first, but a little practice will help you master the technique.
Skill 2 – Sink Down
Practicing sink down is a great way to perfect your breathing skills during swimming. It is not just a fun trick for kids. When trying to perform a sink down, inhale and curl up into a ball with your legs bent and held close to your torso. Start to exhale as soon as you are underwater and aim to hit the bottom of the pool before you go back up. It will help you build confidence in exhaling underwater.
Skill 3 – Tumble Turn
A tumble turn can be a big challenge to anyone who is not familiar with somersaults that can be performed during swimming. However, it is not nearly as hard as you might think it is. It is just a somersault during which you push off a wall to give yourself additional leverage during the following swim in the opposite direction.
The T at the bottom of the pool can guide you through your practice sessions, and you should make sure to start practicing away from the wall. Add the final push against the wall when you are more confident about your tumble turning skills. Move closer to the wall slowly as you practice.
The most important thing to remember during this step is that you have to keep your head tucked in. So, take a deep breath, tuck your head in, and perform the somersault ending with a final push off the wall in front of you. It is better that you make sure to practice this step before you do it.
Skill 4 – Drafting
An important way to give yourself an extra boost of energy while you swim is to draft with the help of the waves created by another swimmer’s body. You can draft off their hip or just follow their feet by staying right behind them as they swim.
When you are learning how to draft close to another swimmer’s hip, you should perhaps ask a friend for help practicing before you try it on a public swimmer. The reason is that you will be swimming pretty close to another person and will need to keep your movements coordinated with theirs.
If you are drafting alongside another swimmer’s hip, make sure to keep your head level with their hip and rotate your head towards them every time you breathe to keep them in sight. If you are nearly touching the fellow swimmer’s feet and swimming in their wake, that will increase the draught that you are getting. Otherwise, your swimming might be hampered by the lack of draught.
Skill 5 – Sighting
Sighting can waste quite a lot of energy if you are not experienced in it and you haven’t gotten the hang of it. It essentially involves keeping an eye out for the buoy in front of you while you rotate your head while breathing.
When you try to incorporate this skill into your swimming sessions, you should lift your eyes up above the water as much as you can. Otherwise your feet will start acting like brakes and hinder your movement.
You normally lift your eyes up while breathing but it is to the side, so you have to be careful to lift them up and take a quick glance ahead of you before you rotate your head to the side as you normally would. With some practice, you will be able to master all of these skills, and they will help you become much more confident and comfortable in the triathlon.