Fear Not The Swim

  • By Chris Carmichael
  • Published Jan 21, 2013
  • Updated Dec 30, 2014 at 9:03 AM UTC

Confidence-Building Swim Drills

Time-crunched triathletes have to get a lot done in a short time, and for novice triathletes that means developing fitness, technique and confidence in the water simultaneously. One way to boost confidence is to incorporate some race-specific drill work into your warm-up or cool-down. Try these:

Pack simulation: This requires three people. Have two of your fellow swimmers start off side by side in a lane. Stay on their feet for the length of the pool. To get an even more realistic simulation, add a fourth swimmer so you have two in front of you and one next to you. It’s also useful to have someone swim right on your feet, so you get familiar with the sensation.

Marco Polo drill: Once a week during your warm-up, swim a length of the pool with your eyes closed—or try to get as far as you can before you run into a lane line. Many athletes will consistently pull to one side based on an imbalance in their stroke. If your right arm crosses the midline of your body and your left arm doesn’t, for instance, you’re likely to pull to the right. This is important to know so you can work on swimming in a straight line and practice correcting  yourself after veering off course—a frequent race scenario.

Chris Carmichael is the author of The Time-Crunched Triathlete and founder and CEO of Carmichael Training Systems (, the official coaching and camps partner of Ironman.

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FILED UNDER: Getting Started / Swim / Training TAGS:

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