Some athletes spend so much money on shiny kit, trying to get us as aero as possible on the bike. You might know a few who are always upgrading their bike(s)! How much did you pay for your bike (frame, aerobars, wheels, accessories, fittings, etc…)? There are plenty of articles and an abundance of research out there that can detail out for you the cost per second you save on each upgrade to your cycling kit. For example, upgrading from a regular road frame to a TT frame saves about 2-2.5 min on a 40km time trial (www.aerosportsresearch.com). Based on what the average triathlete purchases, seconds on the bike are valuable! When it comes to swimming there is very little time that you can “buy.” On the other hand, just like in cycling, there is a lot of time to be saved without necessarily increasing effort (power output). Alternatively, you could swim the same speed but much easier, a reduction in power required.
Things To Consider:
- Water is 784 times denser than air. Fun fact, dirt is only 2.5 times denser than water!
- Your drag coefficient while swimming is always changing; you need to be aware of your body position at every point in your stroke and the water around you.
- How often do you watch yourself swim? You’ve probably seen yourself on the bike, maybe on the turbo.
- A good swim saves you energy for the rest of your race. Becoming a more proficient swimmer does not just save you a few seconds on the swim but it will improve your bike and run performance.
- Doing something over and over again without feedback creates habits. Are you creating good or bad habits?
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” – Albert Einstein.
Thinking Of Swimming Like A Cyclist:
- Good body tension = A nice stiff frame
- You would never use full suspension shocks on your TT-bike because you don’t want those precious watts being absorbed by the shocks. Keeping good tension throughout your body creates a stiffness to transfer the power generated by your arms and legs into forward motion.
- Body position or alignment = Aero (Frame, Wheels, Helmet, etc..)
- Your body position at each point in the in the stoke is your TT frame, aero-helmet, race wheels etc.., If you have a soft inactive core, over bending knees, over lifting of the head, then you are not riding an aero frame you are riding a mountain bike with a parachute dragging behind you.
- Catch/engagement with the water = Gears or chainring
- Are you pushing a “38 tooth chain ring” next to someone who is pushing a “53”? Keeping your hand and wrist in vertical alignment with your forearm as long as possible throughout the pull will maximize your leverage on the water.
- Continuous hand and arm movement = continuous pedal stroke
- Are you stomping on the pedals and trying to force yourself along by stretching and gliding – and slowing down – or are you maintaining a smooth continuous flow?