OPEN WATER SWIM TRAINING IN A POOL
By Michael Ricci USA Triathlon Level III Certified Coach
ffseason training is over and your athletes’ first race of the season is coming up. How are you going to get
your athletes ready? If you are like most of the country, you live in an area that doesn’t provide open water swim opportunities until the summer months. In order to prepare your athletes, you’ll
need to create an environment that’s similar to race day. You’ll need a fairly good-sized group, maybe 20 or more athletes. Your athletes should have their wetsuits, swim caps, goggles, Body glide, booties, thermal caps and whatever else they would wear on race day. the more you prepare your athletes like it’s race day the better they’ll do on race day. the next thing you’ll need is a pool, and you should pull all the lane lines out. Have your athletes get in their normal ‘lanes’ and have them swim a solid warm up of about 500 yards. then have your group swim 10x50 yard repeats with short rest. Swimming in the pool without lane lines should cause some rougher than normal water and your athletes will get familiar with what race day conditions will be like. if you have a small group, move them all into one side of the pool to create a rougher swim. Next, you should secure a race buoy or
kid’s bouncy ball (www.jumpingballs.com
) tied off to a rope and secured to a diving brick. if you reach out to a local race director he might be willing to loan you a swim buoy for a few hours. anchor the buoy or ball somewhere at the far end of the pool. i like to anchor the ball toward the left corner of the pool and have the group start from the right hand corner of the group. i usually
anchor the buoy with a diving brick and some rope. Line up your athletes with the faster
swimmers in the back and the medium paced swimmers toward the front. On the whistle have everyone swim to the buoy, turn around the buoy and return. Once everyone gets back to the start point, ask them how they felt getting swum over, punched kicked and knocked around. Most will tell you they didn’t like it. the reason for doing this drill is so that they understand what they are up against on race day. then pair swimmers of similar ability and have them swim one behind the other, with the purpose of getting them to learn to draft. after that drill, have the same pairs swim, but this time let the lead swimmer be the drafter and vice versa. One more key drill I like to use is to have the swimmers pair up and have the drafting swimmer close his eyes and only feel for the water — no sighting whatsoever. Once again, have the swimmers trade places so that each gets to be the drafter. Lastly, I would put the athletes in close
quarters again and have them practice a few starts around the buoy and back. give them as much time as you can to practice their starting position, their ‘get out speed’ and their turns around the buoy. Many new swimmers will want to go wide around the buoy, while faster swimmers will hit the turn fast. teach your athletes what’s important to their race success; whether it be swimming wide around the buoy or tight with a sharp turn. as we all know swimming an extra 100 yards in an Ironman race, in order to avoid the melee around the turn buoys will not affect the outcome of a 12-17 hour race.
a quick recap of the article: 1. arrange a group of swimmers with all their race day swim gear.
2. Use a pool where you can pull the lanes out.
3. Use a good warm-up that will make the water a bit rough, giving your swimmers some idea of what open water swimming is like.
4. Set up a buoy or some type of flotation device in the far end of the pool that should be used like a turn buoy.
5. let your swimmers practice mass starts. 6. Have your swimmers practice drafting; one time with eyes open and another time with their eyes closed in order to get a feel for the person in front of them.
7. practice swim exits and use a handicap ramp if possible and work on removing the wetsuit in a timely fashion.
8. Don’t be afraid to try these same drills in the open water once a venue is available for you.
Michael Ricci is a USA Triathlon Level III Certified Coach and has been coaching endurance athletes since 1989. Mike founded D3 in 2000, and has slowly added top- notch, USAT certified coaches each year to handle the demand for high quality triathlon coaching. Mike has coached top-ranked pro triathletes as well as age group national champions, Ironman Kona qualifiers and XTERRA world champ qualifiers. Currently, Mike coaches the University of Colorado Triathlon Team, the two-time defending USA Triathlon Collegiate National Champions.
PERFORMANCECOACHING | page 5
| Page 2
| Page 3
| Page 4
| Page 5
| Page 6
| Page 7
| Page 8
| Page 9
| Page 10
| Page 11
| Page 12
| Page 13
| Page 14