First Triathlon Swimming Questions Answered

Q: Should I wear a wetsuit?

A: Wearing a wetsuit on a race depends on the rules. The majority of age groups allow triathletes to wear wetsuits. In this case, you definitely should wear a wetsuit. Not only will you be able to withstand the freezing cold water on the swimming part, but it will also give you the advantage of buoyancy, which makes it easier for you to get through the water.

Q: Can I swim another stroke besides freestyle?

A: Yes you can, although freestyle is proven to be the fastest, and most common stroke used in triathlons. Beginners, on the other hand, may benefit from occasionally doing other strokes such as back stroke or breast stroke, so that they can regain their breath.

Q: Where should I line up at the beginning of the race?

A: It is more advisable if you stay at the back and to the outside. Unless you’re really strong of a swimmer, starting in front of the pack will only get you clobbered. Of course, the last thing you would want to do is lose energy just by fighting against this.

Q: Should I use a heart rate monitor?

A: If you are more used to using a heart rate monitor when training, it will be to your advantage to use it at certain points in the race. In transitions, it will be better if you keep your heart rate from getting out of control.

When it comes to swimming, it will be impossible for you to find a way to look at your watch and keep track of your heart rate.

Q: How often should I “sight”?

A:  In triathlons, the first thing that you need to do is to determine how many buoys there are and learn the course. This will limit the instances where you need to pop your head up and see where you are going. It will be much better if you find a buoy that you could focus on when lifting your head up. Otherwise, checking every six to eight arm cycles is enough.

Q: How often should I breathe during a race swim?

A: Don’t focus on this too much if this is the first race you have participated in. Breathe when you need air, even if it means doing it every two strokes. As you progress, you can always train to breathe bilaterally. This will help you in navigating and swimming in a straight line.

Good luck!


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