Time to tri swimming?

The Brownlee brothers’ performance in London 2012 must have made many people consider doing a triathlon. They are not alone. I have been toying with the idea of doing one for a whole but have now decided to set a target of completing at least one in 2013.

I can run (after a fashion). I can cycle. But my swimming is definitely in need of lots of improvement.

As a youngster, I swam a lot and, although I got badges for a variety of distances including 1500m and ‘long distance’, was mediocre at best. Hitting teenage years and embarrassment of being semi-naked meant fewer trips to the pool to the point it was a very rare event. Having children meant regular visits but just the opportunity to bob about with the very occasional lap here and there. On such a visit on Sunday, I sneaked in a handfull of lengths of the learner pool. It didn’t kill me. Hooray!

Yesterday, I decided to go for a swim. It really was a last minute decision and I got to the pool just as the lane swimming session started. I chose the fast crawl lane and got in.

My first lap (25m) wasn’t easy and, in honesty, neither were any of the subsequent lengths! After each, I needed a rest break to recover. I counted how many strokes other swimmers used to complete a length. 16-18 was typical. My average was about 27! In reality, it was no wonder I was out of breath.

However, with the rest breaks, I completed 20 lengths giving a grand total of 500m swam. That’s the furthest I’ve swum for over 30 years. Although it took me 30 minutes to complete the 500m, I’m proud to have reached that distance. There were moments when I didn’t think I’d reach 10 lengths.

The plan is to try and improve my swim stroke and efficiency. I’d like to swim twice a week and gradually increase the number of lengths I complete in 30 minutes. There should be no reason why I can’t complete 30-40 lengths (750m to 1km) simply by not needing rest breaks after each lap and improving my style (stroke, positioning etc).

Once I can reach 800m (32 lengths) without stopping, I’ll be very happy. If i can do that in under 15 minutes, I’ll be very happy (a good triathlete should take less than 13 minutes). However, my short term goal is 500m in 15 minutes.

Another target is that within the next 12 months is to be able to swim 1500m (60 lengths) without having to stop too often. Let’s set a target of 30 minutes for that.

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