Your Twitter questions about swimming as a triathlete, answered by coach Sara McLarty.
Q: Is it better to swim wide when approaching a turn or straight toward the buoy?
Turn buoys are the most chaotic and congested places during an open-water swim. Maintain your speed by swimming wide around the buoy and stay away from the flailing arms and legs of other swimmers. A few extra yards are worth not getting your goggles knocked off.
Q: What’s the biggest hurdle former pool swimmers must overcome in the open water?
The open-water swimming motto is: No lines, no lanes, no walls. Pool swimmers need to swim straight without a black line to follow, become comfortable with swimmer-to-swimmer contact, and build endurance to swim the complete distance without any breaks.
Q: My calves often cramp at the end of swim workouts. Any ideas for preventing this?
First off, don’t forcefully point your toes while swimming—maintain a relaxed ankle. Secondly, are you maintaining adequate hydration and nutrition during swim practice? Finally, make sure you’re improving your overall flexibility with regular stretching and massage.
Q: To go from 1:20 per 100 to 1:10, which is most important to improve: (a) fitness (b) strength (c) catch (d) position?
E, all of the above. Unfortunately, there isn’t just one thing that can make you a faster swimmer. It’s a combination of improving efficiency, increasing strength and power, and just putting in lots of time and hard work.