by Tim Whitburn
So who out there wants to be a Triathlete but is sh#* scared of the swim?
I remember my first triathlon over 8 years ago and I was feeling exactly like that.
I somehow found myself at the front line of the deep-water start, and when the gun went off every swimmer abused me in my wave start. Swum over the top of, kicked and punched in the head, pulled under water and I was only 20metres into the swim.
Not really a positive experience for the first race of my new found sport. I proceeded to complete the swim with an array of different controlled drowning methods, breaststroke, sidestroke, dog paddle and so on. When finally I emerged like a drowned rat from the water I remember looking behind me and noticed there was still 2 swimmers in the water, imagine that, I had actually beaten 2 people out of the swim, and I thought I was bad.
I then made the decision to give Triathlon the flick, or learn how to swim. I chose the later. So how did I do it?
Well the first thing was to actually make the effort to get to a pool and swim more than 2 laps at a time. 2 Laps soon became 10 laps, then 20 laps and before I knew it I could swim 1km all freestyle.
The next step was to try to get my time down from 1hr for the 1km to something that would at least help me get out of the water with my wave start.
A mate of mine suggested that I do a swim squad. What the hell is that I remember asking myself, but took his advice and got myself to a squad.
Now this to can the a frightening experience. There I am at the pool standing around with 50 or so what I thought were Olympic swimmers, what am I doing here I thought, but got my sorry butt in the pool, in the slowest lane of course, and trashed up and down the pool for 1hour.
After I thought to myself, that wasn’t actually all that bad, so made arrangements for my next squad. Before I knew it I had progressed to the second slowest lane and could swim 3km per session, I was rapped.
Now I am still not a good swimmer, but am confident to line up for an Olympic distance race and know I wont drown.
My advice is to make the effort, and yes you too will be able to swim.
2 swims a week as a beginner should be enough, just make 1 of them a squad, and in no time you to will be a Triathlete! There are many great tri clubs that offer swim squads, and most pools also take there own squads.
Enjoy the journey, see you at the races.